Trip Start Oct 04, 2007
Trip End Nov 11, 2007

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More trains...

The trip from Messina to Palermo took about 3 hours and was pretty uneventful. The coastal scenery was reasonably nice, but to be honest, not worth the 6 hour round trip. We got to Palermo and booked a first class sleeper train back to Rome. It's pretty amazing, the train runs from Palermo to Messina, they split the train up into three segments, load it onto a ferry, travel across to the mainland, then connect it all back up and continue the trip. All that stuffing around takes a long time though!

We had a few hours to kill in Palermo and wandered around fairly aimlessly. The city isn't exactly built for tourists. It is very run down, shabby, and full of shady characters. It's a decent sized city, 680k people. I found it odd that there seem to be more Indians there than Italians as the countries aren't all that close geographically. The city was once governed by arabs so I guess they may have migrated through the middle east back in the day. Given the large Indian population, there are a lot of Indian style stores selling jewellery, wood carvings, etc. The nicest thing to see there was a huge church with all different styles of architecture, some arabic, some gothic, some renaissance, etc but we weren't able to see inside.

We killed some time having tea and wandering around some shops until the train arrived, then disaster struck! The grumpy train ticket guy wrote down the train time for us and I though it said 8:40, but when we checked the tickets it was actually 18:40 and had already left over an hour before we got to the train station :( Neill and I exchanged 'a few heated words' and obviously both weren't happy as the tickets cost around $100 Australian. The only other solution was to catch the next train which our rail pass covered but it wasn't a sleeper train, just seats. The only good thing about yesterday was that noone else was in our cabin so we were able to fold up the arme rests and sleep on the couches. The inspectors didn't seem to mind.

The end result is that Neill and I aren't exactly on friendly terms and decided to split up for the day once we finally arrived in Rome. Continued in next entry...
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