Home TravelItaly Photo Diary: Erice, Palermo & Monreale!

Photo Diary: Erice, Palermo & Monreale!

by Jessica

Here’s the photo diary of our second week in Sicily. In this week we did three other excursions and the rest of the time we just tried to relax and do nothing. I can’t relax and do nothing at a beach or swimming pool for two weeks long. I also want to do and visit things, but not day in day out. For me the perfect holiday is a combination of both! In this week we’ve visited Erice (like San Vito lo Capo one of the highlights of the holiday), Palermo and Monreale.


Mazara del Vallo by night.


Swimming pool time with the inflatable flamingo!
On Monday we visited Erice, a village high in the mountains. One of the ways to get there is by cable car from Trapani. When you take the cable car you have a beautiful view over Trapani, the salt pans of Marsala and if you’re lucky the Aegian Islands. I think this was one of the highlights of our holiday. It’s a really beautiful old village from the Middle Ages. The castles, the churches, the old city walls, the small streets and the food, the pastry and let’s not forget the view: it’s all worth visit. So please don’t skip Erice when you’re in the Trapani area!!


In my first Sicily blog I mentioned that couscous is a real thing in Sicily. Another speciality of the Sicilians is Arancini. These are fried balls with risotto rice and mostly filled with mozzarella and bolognese sauce, but can also be filled with ham. I really liked this Sicilian snack.


 
On Wednesday we visited the capital city of Sicily: Palermo. I heard some warnings that you shouldn’t visit Palermo by car! The traffic is a big chaos and if you did choose to visit Palermo by car you should have big balls. Well, from what I saw from the bus I can’t deny this. It’s really chaotic. A three-lane road becomes a five-lane road, car or scooter collisions and everyone yield the right of way. It’s a crowded city, really different from Trapani or anywhere else I’ve been so far in Sicily. I’ll be honest. I thought the city was a bit disappointing. The city has beautiful building and beautiful streets, so nothing to complain about that. The city also has a beautiful botanical garden, one of the most worth visits botanical gardens of Italy. I love beautiful buildings and I love to visit botanical gardens. At that level I enjoyed the city. But the city is chaotic and crowded, which isn’t so nice with the hot sun. Of course, a city should be crowded, that makes it a city. For example, I’ve been to Paris or London where it was crowded but that never bothered me there. There’s also a lot of trash on the streets, really a lot. That makes it a bit dirty. Maybe it’s the ambiance or we had too high expectations of the city. Or maybe we compared it too much with Trapani or Erice.
Anyway, like I said I did enjoy the architecture (like the cathedral or the Pretoria fountain) and the botanical garden, but it’s not my favourite city.



Source: wearepalermo.com

The next day we’ve visited the catacombs of Palermo and after that the village Monreale. Not the happiest thing where you think about when you’re on holiday, but it was an option for an excursion and it looked interesting to us. It was interesting to see, but it also gave you shivers. All those mummified bodies, bizarre. Some bodies were really good intact, some skulls even had hair on it.  The photo above has not been taken by me, we weren’t allowed to make photos in the catacombs.



This was a really chaotic road right through the market. When two tour busses crossed each other on really small and busy road , well than you had a problem. That happened of course.
We arrived at Monreale.


Sundown in Mazara del Vallo.
My ginger tan. Nobody notices it, but for me this tanned.

Always eating pizza here, so on our last night we had to eat pizza of course.
At Sunday night we flew back to the Netherlands. This wasn’t our plane, but we liked this airplane because of its propellers. In the distance you see Erice!

There was one thing at the ending which was sad. A few moments before we were picked up by our bus transfer to the airport, a woman got a heart attack at the hotel. We saw it happening. The ambulance came and they’ve been resuscitating her for 30 minutes. It was shocking to see, but also really sad for her husband. In the bus we heard that she was alive and was brought to the hospital. We hope she’s alright. Seeing this makes you realise it can happen to anyone, no matter what age and that it can happen anywhere and that you should be grateful for every day you have.

Despite how the holiday ended and the fact that there wasn’t much to do in Mazara del Vallo, we enjoyed it. We were on a beautiful island but stayed at the wrong place for two weeks. Afterwards we should have had booked a hotel in Trapani or somewhere else in the northern area between Trapani and Palermo. Afterwards I’ve read nice things about Cefalu or Balestrate in the north or Scala dei Turchi or the ruins in Agrigento in the south. From other hotel guests we also heard that the east side of Sicily is also more beautiful then when we were. If I ever visit Sicily for the second time, I’d like to do a road trip, starting in the northern area to the east coast and then to the south. But he, we still enjoyed our holiday luckily. We did some excursions, so we still saw some beautiful places and we came to rest. 

To read my first blog about Sicily, click here.

 

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