Headin' down south to the land of the pines I'm thumbin' my way into North Caroline
Another day on another island beckoned as we woke this morning. Today it was Palermo in Sicily. It did not look that appealing as I drew back the curtains but we thought it should hopefully be interesting.
Another breakfast (Eggs Benedict) and a lazy sit down as the boat didn’t dock until 10am. Yet again we decided to wander out of port to see what we could find. There was an independent tour that I had fancied called the Anti-Mafia tour which apparently showed you how the city was fighting back against the Mafia and took you to meet cafes and shop owners had and were still refusing to pay Mob money. However, the cost of the tour was about 40 Euros each and I thought that almost seemed like pizzo on its own!
With this in mind I was still surprised as we walked out of the Port into the real world that I approached by a man who asked me if I wanted a horse. I assumed he meant to ride or own not to decapitate and put into someone’s bed. But it was also strange that there didn’t appear to any horses anywhere nearby (although we did see several horse and carts later in the day).
The first street we walked up was grim, industrial and run down. We kept going and came to large piazza which wasn’t much better. We needed to think about whether to head back or walk further. There was a MacDonalds so I got Karen a coffee from the most inefficient and non-English speaking fast food place ever (and I include Japan in that). Actually, Karen said the 80p coffee was really good when I returned with it.
I logged into Trip Advisor trying to find something or anything to make Palermo a worthwhile visit. The number one item was the cathedral which was ¾ mile away and so we set off to take a look. The route took us down the narrowest streets some of which had market stalls of fruit and vegetables (many of which we didn’t recognise including what looked like 4 foot long and 4 inches wide runner beans) and also fresh fish many of which were delightfully garnished with flies. The stalls were practically touching each other making it difficult progress to pass through and many locals were out in force buying their wares.
Eventually we arrived at the cathedral and although not a picture postcard area, was much cleaner and well-kept than the port area. We went in the cathedral and then came almost immediately out. It was a bit drab inside and looked much better from the outside.
We wandered round the area which was the old royal palace. It also needed some work.
Everywhere we walked there were scooters whizzing along, even through the clearly pedestrianised areas. They were lethal and Karen was convinced she would be taken out at any point. I was still worried by the man and the horse.
By now we decided you can have too much of a good thing and Palermo was not high on our list of good things. In fact, it came second only to Albania on this trip of places we have no desire to return to, but at least we have been.
The walk back to the ship was much longer than we realised. In fact, we covered 4.5 miles in quite hot conditions. People we spoke to when we got back couldn’t believe we had make it to the Cathedral on foot especially when they had paid £90 each to be take there by bus.
We headed up for lunch and then plonked ourselves outside on the pool deck where we were soon joined by our Kiwi chums who we hadn’t seen for a couple of days again. They are older than us and celebrating their 52nd anniversary. They are very down to earth and we spent time putting the world to rights.
I was anxious to get back to the cabin to try and watch the Norwich game, but we got an alert saying we were already one nil up so I ordered more cocktails to celebrate. Then a few minutes literally almost at the same time as Karen got a call to say her Mum had fallen again, then Norwich conceded. So, saying goodbye to our chums from Mount Manganui we headed back to try and sort out both issues!
When Karen’s Mum moved into the home, we naively thought that it would be the end to Karen being on call for her. Although we don’t have to rush in to deal with falls anymore, the home do still keep us up to date with issues almost in real time which I suppose is a good thing.
Whilst Karen dealt with that, I tried to add my support to the Carrow Road crowd by finding a stream. Not only did I fail but I seemed to make matters worse by allowing them to concede another to go behind. Eventually early in the second had I managed to get the Radio Norfolk commentary, not that helped either as we lost 2 – 3.
Tonight, was the last of the dressy nights. I wore the same shirt for the 3rd time. It was much more noticeable that people made much less of an effort this time. The special dinner which accompanied it though was again top notch. We both had the crab, shrimp and scallop starter then I had the top loin with half a lobster which was devine. Karen had Grilled Char which she enjoyed.
We then nipped down to Guest Services as I had earlier complained that our transfer time for our departure to the airport was too early. They asked us to go down where they did put us on the last transfer instead but we will still be at the airport almost 7 hours before our first flight home which I was still not really happy about but had no option.
We decided to have an early night as we had an early start the next day for our excursion to Capri, but not before we watched the bands country set in the Rolling Stone Lounge. They do many varied sets and each time we think that this must be their preferred style. Of course, we don’t really know but whether its R&B or Country or Rock Classics or Hits or whatever then they all put their heart and soul into it.
On the way back to our cabin we talked about how nice it is to be on board with so many celebrities. So far, we have eaten dinner close to Arthur Lowe, Mr Fring and tonight it was Peter Egan (which caused a long conversation about Ever Decreasing Circles). Of course, none of them are the real deal apart from Claire the cruise director who is still coming in for much stick from Karen.