beautiful chaos of Palermo
I’d heard from many people that Palermo was a chaotic & crazy yet a wonderful city. I had no clue even what to expect when I arrived in Palermo. We were dazed and confused as we stepped out of the train station because we had no clue what the next few days would be like. The days turned out to be quite an epic adventure that we had no prepared ourselves for..
We explored Palermo all afternoon visiting its markets, stopping by the Cathedral, and just exploring the streets. My overall initial thoughts were that the city itself wasn’t anything too exciting but my mind was very quickly changed. After exploring a little, we realized the city has so many unique things to offer. There are SO many places to eat, unique shops, and interesting little spots throughout the city. One of my favorite discoveries was finding a street with tons of antique shops filled with vintage purses. That street was basically the street of my shopping dreams.. So after a long day of exploring we sat down for some of the most incredible pizza of our entire life at a pizza place called Frida. I kid you not, this pizza was life changing so if you are planning a visit to Palermo-go eat here.
We left the restaurant only to discover the ENTIRE population of Palermo was out on the streets. Mind you it was 12 oclock at night yet NOBODY seemed to care. There was a beer festival happening and everyone was having the time of their lives walking around, dancing and enjoying the evening. Considering I can’t refrain a good beat, I was dancing the night away!
The night ended with the BEST thing I have probably ever tasted. We visited a very popular gelato shop called Brioscia which was packed to the brim with Italians getting their nightly gelato fix. The gelato was to me the best I have had throughout my entire time in Italy. They had pistachio cream as a flavor AND they had a pistachio cream FOUNTAIN. Do you understand what this means? It means that your taste buds will be transported to a whole new universe. So basically this night was full of gaining 1000 pounds but having the time of our lives in the streets of Palermo.
We had planned to stay in Palermo for 4 nights but as we were eating pizza at Frida, we decided that we missed the small coastal town feel that we had been experiencing through the past few days. Don’t get me wrong, Palermo was really vibrant and beautiful in its own unmatchable way but we decided we wanted to spend our time in a small fishing village. A spur of the moment decision led to some wild adventures.
In the middle of the night I booked our hostel in a small town called San Vito Lo Capo about an hour and a half from Palermo. Since the town does not have a train station we discovered that we could take a bus or a shuttle to San Vito. I decided to choose the shuttle option because it seemed quicker and easier.. I booked the shuttle and dozed off to sleep dreaming of the seaside and the adventures to come.
When I woke up, I saw that I had an email saying our shuttle was cancelled! I called the woman from the company and found out that you had to book 24 hours in advance so that is why the shuttle was cancelled. Unfortunately, the only buses to San Vito had already left so we were nearly stranded. We were frazzled and confused in the streets of Palermo with all of our luggage in the blazing Sicilian sun. From what I read online, our only option was to take a train to a town called Trapani and then catch a bus or taxi to the town of San Vito. This option would take us about 4 hours or so compared to the 1.5 hour original trip. As we check out early from our hostel, the front desk people weren’t so happy to help us. We were were so frazzled and confused in the streets and the train station was a 40 minute walk. As we were at our low point, we decided we would catch a taxi to the train station instead of trying to figure out which bus to take because we had tried once but accidentally got on the wrong bus and ended up farther away than ever before.
As we got to the taxi, we told him we were going to the train station and he ended up offering to drive us to San Vito Lo Capo. At that point in our lives, we were covered in sweat, frustrated, and just wanted to get out of the city! So we agreed to both pay 60 euro for a taxi ride to San Vito.
The ride to San Vito was CRAZY. Our taxi driver was just zoooooooming down highway. Though it was terrifying and Rachel and I were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into, the views of the coastline and rugged mountains were just beautiful. Half way through the trip, our taxi driver pulled the car and said “coca cola?” We said okay and followed him inside a restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Our driver randomly bought us cokes and told us to sit down and drink them while he went to the restroom. It was so nice and random that we were just in the middle of who knows where drinking cokes that our cab driver had bought for us.
After surviving the crazy, non air conditioned, broken windowed taxi ride we finally were dropped off in beautiful San Vito. Little did we know of the unforgettable experiences that awaited us around the corner…