We woke up around 6:30 to a deep-voiced Italian man telling us the restaurant was now open for breakfast as we neared Sicily. Some of us had a better night than others. Haha
We left the room and headed to the common area to await permission to return to our car and drive off the boat. Norah made a friend while waiting, but he was very confused by her because he only spoke Italian. Ha
Driving in Palermo was par for the course-terrible.
We drove downtown to a sketchy part of town and parked the car because I had wanted to go to some catacombs while in Italy. We may see some more in Rome on Saturday, but to be sure- we went to these.
The Capuchin catacombs were started in the late 1500s by the Capuchin Catholic monks and originally was just for preserving and mummifying the bodies of other monks. Eventually the local people starting asking to be embalmed and cared for here and in the end, over 8000 bodies are cared for by the monks to this day. Most of the bodies are from before 1900 but there are couple up to the 1920s including 2 year old Rosalinda Lombardo who was embalmed in the 1920s and still looks like she’s sleeping today. Apparently they finally got the formula right at the end. Families would pay for their loved ones to be kept here and they would be placed in the cubbies along the walkway. Families could then come and hold hands for family prayer with their loved ones. If a family stopped paying, then the bodies would be placed high above on the shelves until the payment resumed. Sounds like a scheme to me.
The monks are dressed in their robes, professionals in clothing of the era. There is a hall for women, children, virgins, etc.
I saw this guy and said,”That looks like Napolean!” Turns out, he was a Napoleonic French soldier, Colonel Enea DiGiuriano
Photos are forbidden, but I’m a rebel…and I couldn’t NOT share this! Ha
Stock photo below because they have this roped off. I will never understand charging admission to something and then roping off the main “attraction” so far that you can’t even see it. Another reason why I took pictures. “The catacombs are sacred resting places and the bodies shouldn’t be disturbed”-but if you’ll pay us we’ll totally let you walk through…. Yeah, real sacred. Haha (does my sarcasm come through sufficiently in text?) 🙂
After the catacombs, we checked out one last cathedral because, according to what I read, this was not one to be missed. We headed south of Palermo to a little suburb town called Monreale. We grabbed some coffee and breakfast right outside but due to my terrible Italian, we ended up the hot dog rolls instead of the prosciutto ones below it. Haha either way, it was good.
They also had a chocolate cake and Nutelle roll… It was pretty outstanding.
I would like to say that Italy and Sicily are beautiful, but truth is- most of it just looks like this.
After Monteale we took a drive west through some coastal towns and began to see a little more of the Sicily I had envisioned of mountains and olive trees and orange groves.
We then headed to Segesta, a small little mountain town with some Ancient Greek ruins and temple. This temple is unique because experts don’t think it was ever even finished. There is no fluting on the Doric columns, there are tabs on the big stones that were normally removed about being placed in the temple and they’ve found no signs of paint or any alterpiece in the area.
Again, all of the hills. This is how Italians eat nothing but bread and pasta and aren’t fat…they built everything on the side of a mountain!
The views, however, do make it worth it.
We were in Segesta, where our hotel was,but it was only 1pm….so we decided to head for the coast and check out some white beach cliffs…but midway there it started pouring rain with no signs of stopping, so we decided to just head back to Segesta.
We ate at a restaurant that we knew was open because the owner stopped us as we pulled in the parking lot of ruins to tell us that we should come to his restaurant for dinner! Ha It was a good thing he was out promoting it or we would have never found it and never thought it would be open. It was 3 miles down a dirt mud road with spray painted signs along the way to guide you… We weren’t sure what to expect when we walked in.
It was actually pretty good.
After dinner we headed to our room on a goat and sheep farm for the evening, another 2 miles down the muddy dirt road thinking we were never going to make it and that we for sure had to be going the wrong way… But we found it and the old Volkswagon Golf didn’t even get stuck-just a little mud for character. I was a little annoyed because there was no wifi like my reservation stayed (I always check before booking and yet half of the time they act like I’m crazy). They did have wifi but it broke last summer and they haven’t fixed itnyet. Also, no credit cards. Since this requires Internet- only cash. Somehow they received my Booking.com reservation though…so I’m confused. But…This little place had the best water pressure in all of Europe and heat that warmed up fast…so overall I was very happy with our little room. 🙂 We went to sleep early again because we have to drive 4 hours across the entire island to the East coast for tomorrow’s adventures.
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