Palermo, way to many churches for Mike's taste ...

Trip Start Sep 03, 2006
Trip End Aug 15, 2007

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Flag of Italy  ,
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Call it flexibility ! Disgusted with the touting in morocco, we miserably retreated in Paris and drew a new itinerary, meant to be as diarrhea and tout free as possible and yet sunny. Hence, there we are in freezing Palermo, under a bright blue sky ans lush palm trees, all bundled up in our Taiga gear.
And , believe it or not, Sicilians do not have central heating. Hotels have no heat, nor do private houses and restaurants practically all have outdoor terraces only. Sicily is a paradise island, but a rather chilly one in November despite the gorgeous weather. The moment, the sun is out , the big chill takes over...
Another peculiarity of Sicily lays with the public toilets : it is apparently customary for bus stations, or even restaurant toilets,  not to have  locks, toilet paper, or even any evidence that a toilet paper dispenser what ever installed.
Sicily largely compensate this state of things by a staggering collection of tourist sights : Greek temples, roman villas, Arab palaces, medieval castles, Baroque cathedrals, Churches, convents and the craziest and most unpredictable opening hours you can imagine. When  getting to a site, it is fair to assume that it is going to be closed for restoration,  public holidays , lunch, siesta,  decontamination or no reason whatsoever. La Dolce vita, take it easy, work as little as possible.
Museum sections are often closed for lack of guards. Yet, we never saw any guard doing his job : they all congregate and chat or nap, or knit , leaving entire wings without surveillance.

Sicily is a vast construction site : its priceless monuments have been left crumbling for centuries and now that the EEC is showering money on the island cultural treasures, they are catching up on everything at once. Practically 1/3 of historic Palermo is under tarp, another third is crumbling away, ferns and trees growing from Palaces balconies and Palermitans are busy damaging the last third to make sure they meet the criteria to receive government funding for repairs.
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