winding streets and churches and finally cake

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What could be along this winding street in Palermo?

Suppose I’m easing into the more conventional travel photos, but they’re finally here. Things like this street are what I find myself more attracted to at the moment, though. Having said that, here’s the cathedral:

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From behind the Cattedrale Maria Santissima Assunta

Quite a name, eh? How many churches do you know with Santissima in their moniker? Oh, and if you liked that angle, check it out from the other side:

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Flying Buttresses and everything…

Although there are plenty of churches here and you could easily only talk about the wide variety on offer, as many as I’ve seen I didn’t get the best photos.

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While very Baroque on the inside, here’s another exterior of a church.

Have been trying to figure out what these red silos on the roof of the church are all about. I’m sure a proper travel blog would find that out for you, but something in me wants to continue wondering. Incidentally, it’s called the Chiesa di San Cataldo.

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The fountain that Goethe purportedly liked

Elaine’s theory is that there was so much dirty stuff in Palermo that when Goethe happened upon this fountain, he was impressed primarily because of its relative cleanliness. To me it seems uncommonly clean. Strange, isn’t it? Something quite gorgeous, but here I am questioning its authenticity in some form.

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Even in the off season, there are scooters whooshing by…everywhere.

You can smell the fuel just looking at this photo, right? Much like Athens, the streets here simply reek of it. The temperature apparently rarely falls to freezing here, so even though it gets cold, one can ride scooters year-round. And ride them they do.

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This gateway is part of the Palazzo dei Normanni, which is under some sort of construction.

Have seen some fantastic shots of this, but mine got it when it was in the midst of its regular maintenance. However, I suppose you can still see the best of it. Are they guarding the palace? I don’t think the ones without arms are going to be of much help.

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Yet another mystery of Palermo

How did this tree grow in such an odd winding manner? It’s almost as if it wants to stay as close to the wall as it possibly can.

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The reward for all the walking and breathing in fumes?

Then, at some point, we had cake. That thing on the left was some sort of pastry filled with and then slathered with a butter fat icing. There’s a lot of injecting food with liquid food here. It’s quite delicious, but you spend most of the time eating it marvelling at the mechanics of the whole thing. Then the other ones were a berry-flavoured cake and then a chocolate layered thing. Both were delicioso, or something…

I think this next photo says it all:

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Post carnage

 

creating a backstory…for all of Palermo

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A very comfortable place to have a lie down

We are bad tourists, Elaine and I, and we’ve not done much of anything to right our wrongs. Partially due to our limited skills in the speaking of Sicilian, or Italian for that matter, and partially because we’re so wrapped up in our meandering conversations, we’ve had nearly no interaction with any actual Sicilians during our time here.

It hasn’t stopped us from having strong opinions about what they’re up to. We’ve created a backstory for all of this.

The dogs seem to have figured the place out rather well. There are many, and they don’t appear sick. They’re not emaciated…someone must be feeding them. Not sure if the photo above shows it clearly enough, but that dog is actually lying in a busy street. Although the cars seem to speed up when they encounter a pedestrian, they steer clear of anything canine.

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Get in on the Real Estate while it looks bombed out.

There are so many places that gentrify and then the original occupants talk about how wonderful things used to be. I’ve come to the conclusion that now must be when everything here was truly great. Before this corner of Palermo has been bought up and rebranded. We’ve grown accustomed to this, so much so that when we go to other parts of the city, we miss our ruins.

If there is going to be an Apocalypse of some sort, living hereabouts would prepare you for at least the aesthetics of that new reality. There are certainly some advantages to the way things are done here.

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Can you see the garden on the balcony?

For example, there are some distinct advantages to having a bit of green on your balcony. Pots and whatnot really are overrated if you think about it. Here you’re able to have a bit of the wildness under your feet.

There are plenty of beautiful sights here, you know. I suppose I shall get to those in due course. The street food of Palermo is another thing I can’t fathom passing up.

At some point, we really should actually attempt a bit of dialogue with the locals. I’m just not sure their real story will be nearly as entertaining as the one we’ve created for them.

A break in the mundane for a bit of Bon vivantery

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The Lenbach House in Munich’s Maxvorstadt neighbourhood.

Training for my new job has taken much of my time & nearly all of my energy, so the first thing that’s taken a backseat was blogging. Was recently alerted that this incarnation of my blogging is exactly two years old. Too bad I’ve not prepared anything more festive to celebrate the occasion.

However, I do have some rather good news for the excitement level of this site. Read recently that Elaine (@elaine4queen) was planning to run off and join the circus. Then I received an offer she thought I couldn’t refuse: Would I like to go with her? Run away and join the circus? Well, I don’t think either Elaine or I were cut out for the acrobatic or circus-like arts, but when she came up with a second option, I couldn’t resist. What, you ask, might that second option be?

WE’RE GOIN’ TO PALERMO, YOU MOTHER SCRATCHERS…

Now, up until now I’ve refrained from bandying about stale stereotypes about Sicily being overrun by mafia sorts. To be frank, I’m momentarily easily distracted by stories of Palermo being the international centre of cake. What’s in store for you neglected readers in the next week or so is quite arguably the best thing that’s been going on hereabouts for a very long while.

Let the cake-ing commence. I can’t promise there won’t be at least one utterance of the questionably-attributed Marie Antoinette quote. You know? The one about running away and joining the circus.