PC603 Sicily 3

Lother and Annemarie the friendly campervan couple from Frankfurt I met in Agrigento and Sferrocavallo

- In the third part of my circuit I came back to Palermo.

Thu - Garibaldi Holiday, Fri - tourist in old town, CS meetup. Sat - 2nd hand mkt - moved to Sferrocavallo, Sunday - Mondello - meet Dave and team for walk, Mon - Dave's Pizza night, Tue - moved back to Sferrocavallo , Wed - Came to Daves club, but wrong night. Thu - Dave's conversation club, Fri- Again ready to leave, but wanted to see FAI event at the weekend, Sat - Castello Maredolce, Sun- Piana degli Albansi, Mon - stayed in Sferrocavallo, Tue - Party with Dave, Wed - Modello with Dave, Dinner with Filo, Thu- back to flat, Fri - clean, work, walk, Sat - clean, work, walk, Sun - run, work, 2 bars, Mon - - clean, work, walk, Tue - plan to leave to Enna, then later Etna railway

Thu - Garibaldi Holiday

- I'd planned next to move to camp near Palermo, but one of the English Conversation Club organisers had said I could stay at his couchsurfing flat.

Fri -
Fri - tourist in old town, CS meetup.
How are you supposed to see this bus sign, when it completely hidden by an advert ? who put it there ?

Sat -
- Saint Guiseppe's Day so special cakes sold

- Actually all it is is a donut stuffed with cream and organge peel stuck on top .. So at 1.50 it's a rip off...
2nd hand market - so bought some things for Daves flat.

- I moved to Sferrocavallo

Sun -
- Mondello - meet Dave and team for walk move back to flat.

- Mon - Dave's Pizza night,

Tue - moved back to Sferrocavallo cos Dave had Russian girl guest. I thought about leaving town, but wanted to see Dave's conversation club before I left

Wed - Thu Dave's conversation club
- I went on Wednesday, but it turns out he doesn't have it on the same day each week. So I had to wait another day..
Fri- Sat
Fri- Again ready to leave, but wanted to see FAI event at the weekend, Sat - Castello Maredolce, Sun

Sat - FAI Weekend
- - It turns out that FAI is not like WWF, but rather the equivalent of the National Trust.
- Of the 500 Hidden Buildings open in Italy I'm sure some were really special, but when I got the list I could see that there was nothing amazing in Palermo or Sicily. I decided to give Castello MareDolce a chance cos it's kind of special events that allows me to make special contacts etc.

- Of course like WWF events there was the element of the commission driven fund raising business machine.

- The story a Castello MareDolce is that yes it's a poor neighbourhood, but this Arab Palace which had a lake and island is hidden behind some buildings. Indeed poor people had for years been squatting in the Palace building homes onto the wall. But the council had decided to move them out and restore the building and the lake which had become an orchard. The aim was to keep heritage and provide a focal point for redevelopment of the area. No doubt EU money was available.

- Cos I'd made contact with Giacamo the vice president of Palermo FAI (his family own a hotel in Mondello) he gave the guided tour. His explanation was the most interesting part, cos the lower parts of the palace restored so far aren't really that special.
- What I got was an insight into the differences in property development to the UK. In the UK with property being expensive there's money to be made so historic areas aren't left to decay; rather private developers gentrify the area and turn it into "cool" so they can sell improved properties for a big profit to Yuppies or big businesses who think they need offices in a city centre. Here in Sicily cities like Palermo, Catania and Modica are covered in decaying heritage buildings. Cos the law is big but flexible, it's time consuming to develop an area, but easier to build on a green field site.

- But I can see scope for a developer to spend 5m buying up such an area from local grandmothers, then spend 5m building luxury apartments around the lake, so that they have lake, sea and castle views. Then giving the development a sexy name like "Something Something Lake Park" and sell the apartments off for 20m. Out of that 20m the developer could use the 15m profit to pay the grandmothers or build them residences in a village. Meanwhile the city overnment gets an area cleaned up, jobs and increased money coming in from property tax cos of the increase in local property value.

- Theoretically to get there I should have been able to get a metro right across the city, but after a bus to the metro station I found the middle section of the Metro was not working. So I took another bus but by Noctobuena that was completely stuck in traffic..another 2 buses and the journey took more that 2 hours total.

- After Maredolce I walked back along the coast. Went to the port castle again , but it turns out instead of siesta they close at 5.30pm... Could have met Fillopek, but the phone signal wasn't good so I missed his message.

Sun - Piana degli Albansi

- Well yesterday was a strange day
- First the clocks went forward so it was already 10.30am instead of 9.30 am before I was up and organised.
- Then it's a Sunday so in Sicily so village buses don't run. So to visit the Albanian village (Piana degli Albansi) instead of taking 2 buses then a "pullman" I had to take 6 buses across the city then a 7th to a village ..well it didn't actually reach Altofonte .. then walk 3Km to the village and up hundreds of steps to the obelisk and junction before getting a ride the next 12Km to Piana Albanesi on a straw truck.
video of the view

- Friendly people of course cos Albanian speaking people have lived here 500 years, nice setting under the mountain. I walked to the lake. Hitched back with a jazz student and met some nice people in the cafe.

- Then finally thanks to Angelo Raneli (a lawyer helping the African immigrants) for bringing me right back to town ... Right in time for Davids English conversation club at Picaro bar..
- wow, not so expensive with big bottles of beer for E2.50 and plates of free food.

- I keep complaining about the late night way of going out here ...today got caught out by the clock change on the way home. I left at 10.30pm but actually it was 11.30pm . I waited but of course no normal buses. Then Giaco told me to wait the NOCTURNA BUS ..we waited and waited and waited an hour, but then the bus came and turned back coming along the coast to Mondello and then right into Sferrocavallo right near the camping.


- So of course it was 9.30am before I woke up. So had to give up any plan to visit Enna on a daytrip. - I stayed in Sferrocavallo all day
- Then while I organised some German pensioners I met in Agrigento turned up and invited me for coffee..and as usual I talked too much... so suddenly it was 1pm then ..had to rush out before the shops close at 1.30pm

..now will walk to Isola delle Femmine

, Tue - Party with Dave,

Wed - Modello with Dave, Dinner with Filo,
Wed - Modello with Dave, Dinner with Filo,

Thu- back to flat, Fri - clean, work, walk, Sat - clean, work, walk, Sun - run, work, 2 bars, Mon - - clean, work, walk,


Tue - plan to leave to Enna, then later Etna railway

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