Thursday, April 25, 2013


We just returned from a wonderful biking trip with VBT to Sicily - a place we had never visited before.  Arriving in the late afternoon at Palermo for the pre-trip, the capital city on the northwest coast of the island we were greeted by blue sky and sunshine, a year round condition.  Nestled in a natural harbor on the Gulf of Palermo, the city was founded by the Phoenicians in 734 BC, over 2,700 years ago.  It is now a bustling city of a million people (about 1/4 of the population of all of Sicily).
We arrived at our centrally located hotel in the late afternoon with enough energy to get settled in our room for a good night's sleep, in preparation of exploring the city on our own the next morning.

Just a few short blocks from our hotel was the Theatro Politeama Garibaldi which houses the Symphonic Orchestra.  It is an imposing and elaborate circular structure with a majestic entrance similar to a triumphal arch.  Unfortunately for us there was no performance that night.

We soon realized how congested the city was - a place not for the timid driver looking for a place to park his car.  Even finding a safe place to consult your map was not easy.

However, we managed to find our way to the Theatro Messimo, one of the largest and most prestigious theaters in Europe and most renowned for opera performances - none that week though.

However, we did take a guided tour of the theater, sat in the royal box, but were only allowed photos of the costumes from the Opera Falstaff which were on display.

Outside of the Messimo we decided to take a carriage tour to get a quick overview of some of the places we wanted to visit.  The Palermo Cathedral was one of those.and we returned the next day when I took this composite of the grounds,

And visited the beautiful interior of this magnificent church.

The wonderful boat in the courtyard was a great attraction, especially to the children.

We passed the Piazza Pretoria and I had to dismount the carriage to grab a few shots of the dramatic Fountain Pretoria.
As we requested, our ride ended at the Capo Market, one of 3 markets in the area.  It went on for blocks, with every kind of produce, fish, clothing, and nicknacks imaginable.  These strawberries particularly took my eye - large ones and mini sized ones too.

And of course what would Italy be without its gorgeous tomatoes.

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