Published: August 6th 2007June 23rd 2007
Palermitan War Survivor
We picked up our rental car which is a VW Golf, turned up the air conditioner (it was hot and humid) and plugged in the TomTom car navigator. The Golf 4-door manual trans edition is a good size for maneuvering medieval streets as we discovered later on. After making a few wrong turns in the parking lot we were directed to our hotel in Mondello without any problems ( Hotel Conchiglia d'Oro ). It's pretty amazing that the GPS navigation technology is so well perfected that it can take you through the convoluted maze of narrow streets without missing a beat. Sometimes directions were being given in less than 50 ft increments....amazing!
We arrived at the hotel to find out that our Palermo guide, Sabrina
had been trying all day to track us down. That night she and her son brought us to Mondello Beach for a superb late night supper. Mondello Beach, which is very close to Palermo and just a few blocks from our hotel hosted the 2007 World Festival Windsurfing Contest the month before. I had pasta con vongole while Monica had fetticini con scampi. After dinner we had gelato that was to die for. Monica's gelato
was an intensely rich Cioccolato and mine was a tasty pistachio nut. It was clear....weight control was going to be a problem during this trip. My Italian teacher had warned us that her all-time weight gain record had occured in Sicily: 11 pounds per 11 days travel.
The piazza was filled with late night festivities including the traditional passegiata. Mondello feels very tourist friendly until very late in the evening (midnight or later). Families and couples were out for a stroll and the restaurants served food past 11 PM. As we walked by the square (northwest end of the beach) we passed an ancient medieval look-out tower that was used to spot the Saracen pirates when they tormented the west coast of Sicily and mainland Italy (including the Amalfi). Sabrina later told us that the look-out towers used smoke signals to pass the warnings along (i.e. hide the women and children). Pretty soon we forgot our travel ordeal and looked forward to the next day's activities.
There are more photos below