Published: April 25th 2010April 5th 2010
Monday, April 5 Allison and I got up for our breakfast by our innkeeper. (We allowed plenty of time considering how long it took him to warm up my coffee on the stove yesterday—of course it was worth the wait.) Another family had arrived the previous day, so there was actually someone else in the breakfast room when we went down, and our innkeeper brought us a basket with four rolls in it this time (he must have taken note that I had eaten two the day before…) We had another delicious breakfast before heading out to make our train to Palermo, the capital of Sicily, and supposedly the city that has the most going on.
Our four hour train passed slowly, due to Gianni and his two friends—some Italian students who were trying to practice their English with us, but once we got to Palermo we were ready to experience Sicily’s biggest city. We were staying in a Youth Hostel that had pretty good reviews, and I had thought that it was situated close to downtown, but not in the bad area of town. I had written down the directions from the hostel’s website of how to get there
from the train station—take 628 bus stop. Now, we didn’t know exactly what this meant, but we figured that if that was what was on the hostel’s website, it couldn’t be too difficult or too far away.
We went to the bus ticket booth right outside the train station and asked the man if he spoke English to which he responded no. However, we could communicate that we needed 628, so he sold us bus tickets and wrote on a piece of paper 101628, then told us how to find the 101 bus.
We found it quickly, got on stayed on for a few stops, realized that none of the stops were marked in any fashion and there was nothing in the bus that indicated any sort of list of stops, so we got off as soon as we saw a taxi sign, gave the taxi driver our address, and paid the 30 euros it took to drive the 15 km to our hostel. (Guess it wasn’t exactly where we thought it was…)
So our hostel was more on the very outskirts of Palermo rather that in the city. News to us…but it was beautifully situated on
The First Landmark We Saw
The Opera House--ie where we got off the 101 bus to climb in a taxi
the coast with cliffs surrounding us. Not bad for 13 euro a night. We also found out that the 628 BUS stopped right out front, at the end of its route, so we were supposed to have taken the 101 bus to the 628 bus at the end of its route…we never would have figured that out. EVER.
But now we knew and after we settled ourselves into a room that reminded me of all those times I went to summer camp, we caught a 628 bus into town where we saw a few of the larger buildings in Palermo and found a restaurant to eat in. (I had swordfish—something our Etna guide had told us was a specialty in Palermo, and it was definitely good!) Allison attempted to get lasagna again, but asked to waitress if it was served warm before committing, to which the waitress looked at her as if she was completely retarded and said, yes, it’s hot.
We found a bakery for dessert where I got a meringue covered in chocolate and Allison got a small donut type thing…we ate them, walked around a bit, found another bakery, and each bought the same thing
After getting off the 628 bus we started walking in the direction we thought the main part of the city was...When we saw this, we thought it was a good sign.
Our bus ride home was also eventful—we managed to take the 101 to where the 628 bus stopped, saw a 628 sitting where we had gotten off of it before, so we sprinted across the street to it, hoping to catch it before it took off. We reached the bus panting and thankful that we hadn’t been hit by any cars, and then the non-English speaking driver somehow communicated to us that that bus was done for the night and we should go…somewhere. We didn’t really understand so we just sat on the bench hoping for another bus to come. After about 5 minutes I kind of tried to ask the driver something again, and he pointed across the street (back to where we had come from) and told us that we wanted to be over there for our bus. Right at that moment, we saw a 628 bus pull up over there, so we sprinted back to all the people who had seen us running before, and just made that bus, which luckily took us back to our hostel. We took showers that turned the bathroom into a small lake, used the toilet where you weren’t allowed
to flush toilet paper, made our beds with the 5-thread count sheets, and called it a night.
There are more photos below