Palermo & Segesta

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May 17th 2017
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Geo: 38.1157, 13.3612

Late night arrival in Palermo. Unique and quirky accommodation in the old city. Every room decorated differently. Obscure art pieces adorning each room. Old motorbikes, scooters and sculptures feature prominently, as do highly carved doors from India. Allesandro a great host - clearly he has a penchant for collecting unusual artifacts.

Chiesa di San Giovanni degli Eremiti, an interesting mix of Arab Norman architecture, built on top of a mosque. Really beautiful columned Norman cloisters surrounded by a garden of citrus trees, palms, cacti, rosemary bushes and ruined walls.

The Capella Palatina, the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily in the Palazzo Reale is jaw dropping. Built around 1140 it is has glittering gold mosaics over all the walls, exquisite marble floors and a wooden carved ceiling. It is so ornate it's actually difficult to take it all in.

Picked up a rental car and drove out of Palermo. Lucky I was navigator and Murray was driving - Sicilian drivers are crazy! No lane markings, no rules.. sure, make a right turn from the furthest left lane; sure, ride a scooter with no helmet, smoke a cigarette, text on the phone all at the same time; traffic problem - just ignore them... and Stop signs - ignore those too. It's really a case of Be Bold, Be Brave and Be Quick (and make sure you have the maximum insurance cover possible). Congratulations to Murray for getting into the Italian/Sicilian way of driving and enjoying it.

Onto Segesta - the most beautiful Greek Doric Temple standing proudly on the hillside since around 430 BC and a well preserved theatre looking over the valley towards the Gulf of Castellamare.

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