Early morning wanders and bitter espresso shots leaning against the bar; sticky cannoli dropping orange peel on the paving stones; sandals clattering and skin warming and the city waking. Palermo was a blur of colour, warmth and sounds, of food and sweet, smooth wine and sunskissed days on the beach. Finally catching up on reading and exploring until tired sandals wear thin and laughing over restaurant tables into the night.
Its rustic charm, antiquities and burnt florals lend endless charm to this city. Winding paths outward took us to the bright coastal town of Mondello, where yellow beach umbrellas and eccentric piers are suggestive of an era already passed, a glamorous nod to a Hollywood set. By rail, we head for Cefalu, reminiscent of a movie set of a different kind. The people we pass are characters in the warm stillness; the tastes a sensory overload. These cities and towns are a slice of an unfamiliar paradise, rusted and wary but gorgeous nonetheless.
The windows lay open to our apartment, and faint warm air breathes inside. I stretch out onto the tiled balcony, finding a little shade in which to read and drink espresso. Beyond the rows and stories lay the mountains, an impressive sight at each turn. The markets are overwhelming, a rammed and pressing beat of calls, car horns, running water. Driving seems to be a mania, an impatient act meant only for the immediate and the daring. We try and walk each road, each corner, each alleyway; diving into bars and cafes to duck from the heat.