Posts Tagged ‘sicly’

Palermo, Sicily: The Bad Tourists

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Palermo's Sleepily Austere City Gates

We sleep all day. But not before we try to accomplish things. We try so hard.

We sit down to plates of pasta and grilled eggplant at an outdoor trattoria that looks like my grandmother’s living room. We walk to the literal center of town, the four corners of the street hemmed in by fountains and statues. Back at our hotel, we study city maps with purpose. We inquire about ferry schedules and Google famous local restaurants, including one that isn’t a restaurant at all, but just a woman who cooks. You need a code word to get in, and a friend who speaks Sicilian. In front of the lumbering, gorgeous Teatro Massimo, a flier advertises a screening of a film about Jeff Buckley; I photograph it with great hope, thinking we’ll look up the web site later and go.

And then, somewhere in the middle of all this, we realize that our bodies are failing us. That as much as we want to explore. Talk to the fruit vendors. Go to the screening. Find the beach and the botanical garden, we want to do something else so much more.

We want to sleep. We want to curl up on our queen-size bed in the Tropical Room at the Casi di Amici—an amiable, second-floor B&B situated in a lumbering apartment building—and just forget that we’re traveling. And make up the hours and hours of lost sleep in Venice, in a hotel room swarmed with mosquitoes and tiny and hot as a pizza oven.

So we do. For hours.

We lose complete track of time. We sleep through the day and the night, waking only to check our Facebook pages using the free wireless. We vow to become tourists the next day, to see, in the words of our rather poorly-translated guidebook, what’s deserving to be seen, instead of closing the door, and making the city disappear.

Go there: Palermo is Sicily’s capital city. It is located on the island’s northwest coast. A Casa di Amici bed and breakfast, emphasis on the bed, is tucked away behind the Teatro Massimo.