Almost a year later and I’m finally finished my travel posts on the places we visited over our year abroad, this will be the last until we get to travel again! The blog has been the best souvenir we could have brought back for ourselves, it’s a living memory of the adventures we had and I’m a little sad it’s all done. I do have a few ideas for some additional posts; ‘what it costs to travel for a year’, ‘what to pack for a year of travel and all 4 seasons’, ‘how to plan a long trip’, ‘how to travel cheaply by housesitting’….so stay tuned.
We ended our trip in Palermo, Sicily for five days before flying to London and then back to Calgary, wrapping up this incredible year at our most exotic locale to date.
Below is a video walk around of the city of Palermo
Palermo is an attack on all the senses, an overload punctuated by the exhausting, almost 40-degree heat of July. Walking its downtown streets, you get hit with the smell of sewer or the strong odor of urine at a corner made impromptu bathroom for the homeless. Then you take another bend and you’re in an exotic outdoor market, slapped with the pungent odor from fish of all kinds. Then passing the botanical gardens the sweet smell of hydrangea, incense from an oriental vendor and a shop of exotic spices stacked up in barrels from all over the world.
You see garbage everywhere, a mattress where a street person sleeps, dog feces at every corner…then an incredible church, a breathtaking fountain or beautiful baroque building.
The sounds of vendors yelling out their specials in the market, horns from aggressive drivers honking in the streets, loud speakers announcing the arrival of a vendor on wheels and the regular chime of church bells over the city.
Palermo days started with a perfect cappuccino, then a mid morning brioche and granita to cool us from the inside out, then a seafood pasta or traditional pizza to end the day. And the Sicilian wine was perfect for washing down a freshly made cannoli stuffed with sweetened ricotta cheese, a traditional dolce.
It’s a clash of cultures, more diverse than any other part of Sicily. It’s past invaders leaving their marks from the Arabs, Normans, Greeks and many others that influence every part of the culture. Here you are closer to African than mainland Italy which gives it a distinct atmosphere and much culture brought by the immigrants that are excepted here.
If you can say any place is ‘a melting pot’ then Palermo is the mother of all and we went home with a big punctuation mark to finish our journeys! Ah…..che bella vita! Here’s a link to our Palermo Photo Gallery