A wonderful cruise with David and Jacquie … and some events
28 October 2019
So Norma flew back to England and then to Northern Ireland where there was a very big send off for Roy, Norma’s stepfather.
We had a bit of a problem when berthing in the Sitimar marina which turned out to be a failing flexible coupling (between the engine and the transmission). Fortunately there was a refurbished part available and a decent mechanic so that was good then.
Being left all alone in Palermo, Norma had insisted that Phil went to the opera at Teatro Massima on the Sunday, which was La Traviata – absolutely superb and a shame we could not both have seen it.
David and Jacquie duly arrived on Wednesday 18th September as the mechanics were just finishing their work and were able to join in with the trial run outside the harbour – all good.
As compensation, Phil took them to a bar for Negronis – allegedly the best in Palermo at Botteghe Coletti, but subsequently we have had outstanding Negronis at Café San Angelo in Licata – which created the right start to the cruise.
We spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday exploring Palermo and Monreale, and this included the oldest bar at Taverna Azzurra where essentially you buy a beer at the bar and stand in the street … or sit on an available plank … next to the refuse bins … and feral dogs … and several hundred young people …
We had coffee and cannoli at Antico Caffe Spinato – brilliant cannoli – and lunch at Moltivolti, a co-op restaurant that serves the local community and whose profits go to helping refugees arriving in Sicily – simple and excellent.
Our tour took in Piazza Pretoria with its baroque fountain, the very striking crossroads of Quatro Canti, the Cattedrale and a roof-top walk, the triumphal arch of the Porta Nuova, the Palazzo Normanni and strolls through the myriad backstreets and boulevards. Palermo has character and was much enjoyed.
We took the bus to Monreale, some 8km from the centre of Palermo, for the Arab-Norman architecture of the Duomo di Monreale – magnificent building with the most ornate baroque chapel and tranquil but sumptuous 12th century cloisters in the adjacent monastery demonstrating Islamic art in the mosaic inlaid marble columns. The cathedral authorities were very good as the sensible bus arrives only an hour before the lunchtime closure, but the ticket allows a return visit in the afternoon to see all the splendour.
So, on Saturday evening Norma returned and the mantle of domestic goddess could be returned to her.
Photos in the Gallery.