Wow oh wow is all I can say about Castelammare del Golfo. This is a must. We got there early right before the crazy beach lovers on a Sunday morning. Parking was easy and we walked right down from the top of the town to the bottom where the action was. Views from the top were stunning. Walking back up there was this gorgeous park smack bang in the middle of the hilltop, seaside city. We weren’t here for long but it was so worth a stop.Next recommended stop was Scopello. Unfortunately we hit the beach traffic and there was no place to stop to take pics of all the stunning beach umbrellas out. GPS took us to this little hilltop town but unfortunately our recommended restaurant wasn’t open nor did they look remotely keen for us to eat a bit earlier. I bought this gorgeous white dress from the wee market and we then hit the pedal for Palermo. And we were so pleased we did.
Our annoying GPS took us to the right street and the instructions said restricted traffic zone (as most places in Sicily do). As soon as we stopped we had this man yelling and screaming at us. He did not understand my Italian as no doubt he was speaking the dialect. He was telling us to leave the car and asking what hotel we were at and we couldn’t drive down the street. It was so stressful so hubby said let’s just walk to find the hotel first, which we did 20 minutes later, thank goodness without luggage. They asked where our car was. You soon learn that GPS is right and you can venture down these bloody tight/or pedestrian- only looking streets as people just part to let you through. So we got back to the car and hubby decided to take a shortcut. 30 minutes later after going into the ghetto with dumpster divers and another man yelling at us, hubby found the hotel. I think my prayers helped also! We were so glad to just dump the car and never see it again. Not a great start but we were hungry so went to a wee square near the hotel and had a really good pizza, despite it being quite touristy.
We stayed at Quincanto Hotel and Spa and it was very nice. The room wasn’t overly flash but the property was clean, safe and spacious. The restaurant was lovely and breakfast good. Coffee not so much.
Palermo’s national palace was just absolutely stunning and the church next door to our hotel, took my breath away. We really enjoyed walking in the English gardens and a few other parks and they have about three major shopping/restaurant streets. One of my best pasta meals was down a wee alley near the hotel and we had a lovely lunch at this gorgeous antique place opposite the Grand Hotel. We had a few aperol spritz stops and enjoyed them in the late afternoon pre dinner. We only encountered one cheeky street kid who threw his hand out in front of my face. I yelled at him and he was ushered off by one of the 4 corner street minders, which you don’t realise are there. The bar owner apologised but it wasn’t their fault.
Palermo definitely has a big city vibe but the place did grow on me. Our visit was definitely marred by our arrival as well as having people yell at you. Most of them are the uneducated horse cab drivers that whistle out to you or yell asking if you want a ride and then swear at you if you decline – this was not pleasant at all and only encountered here and nowhere else at all. I wanted to go to the beachside town of Mondello but we just wanted to get out and move on to Messina. Ciao.