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Europe » Italy » Campania » Naples August 24th 2015

Saturday morning(3 days ago), we collected a car and attempted to leave Palermo. It took us quite some time to execute that escape. We were travelling to Agrigento and on the way, I learnt that no one driving in Italy respects the speed limit and that because I was trying to respect said limits, I was overtaken by every single vehicle which came up behind me including the motorini! I too soon started speeding, but it didn't make any difference; they all still overtook me. I had to cross up and over the city of Agrigento in order to arrive at our Hotel near the coast. It's not a very attractive city, at least, the newer parts of the town aren't. This drive into the town proved hellish and I hope to never see that labyrinthine ... read more
Greek Theatre, Siracusa
Dionysius' Ear, Siracusa
Il Duomo

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Palermo August 20th 2015

Well, how many churches does it take for a city to be dubbed "City of Churches"? My guess is, Palermo would surely qualify. How many churches have I seen? I have lost count. Many are ridiculously ornate. There is often so much detail that the brain just can't itake it all in. Me, I am much more a fan of the adage of "less is more". But I have to say that our first stop of the day, the Oratorio Di San Lorenzo, was breathtaking. Serpotta was the artist who decorated this jewel which has walls crowded with stuccoed statues and putti. The women who depict the various virtues are gorgeous. They are very well dressed in the best fashion styles of the day. The putti are charming; they frolic and smirk; their chubby limbs are ... read more
L'Oratorio di San Lorenzo
L'Oratorio di  San Lorenzo
Market

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Palermo August 19th 2015

The last time I was in Italy in summer was 1981. I was young and svelte. I don't remember getting tired. Perhaps I only lazed around on deck chairs? Perhaps I have forgotten the bad bits and only remember the past in a haze of happy nostalgia? Now I want to "sightsee" and there is more of me to carry around. The morning proved hard going in a sun that beat down on us ferociously while the humidity got up to about 70%. The markets (Mercato del Capo and BallarĂ²) were insane. Loud, crowded, smelly and colourful. I saw so many tables groaning with dead fish, I did wonder about the state of fish stocks in the Mediterranean. Apparently, the greatest threat faced by this sea is in fact over fishing. I sampled one huge and ... read more
Mercato del Capo
San Cataldo
La Martorana

Europe » Italy August 19th 2015

It's 5.15 am in the morning and my unfamiliar surroundings are dark. I am awake. My tiredness is gone. The room is warm, but the air con is activated in bursts automatically, so it is quite bearable. Our hotel is called Porta Felice (Gate of Happiness?) and surrounding it are massive stone buildings, some more dilapidated than others. My first impressions of Palermo are jumbled, much like my brain. It has been buffeted by the endless torture that is long haul flying and the mind numbing madness of waiting in airports for a total of about 32 hours all up. Thankfully, that part of travel is like childbirth; eventually, you forget it and wallow in the joy of the prize it brings. When we left Adelaide, it was cold, wet and grey. That was on another ... read more
Early morning




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