A group of friends made their way to Sicily and spent most of their vacation around Palermo visiting towns, eateries and popular local venues. This entry comes from an italophile, who takes us along the journey through her encounters of food, people and towns. This entry is the first 2 days of a 20 day vacation.  Enjoy the trip!

Thursday, October 1 – Arrival Day
We landed at the airport near Palermo before 6:00 AM. We had our passports
stamped, collected our bags, and stood in line to go through customs. While we waited, we passed the time chatting with a couple of people who had also discovered the cheap flights on Meridiana Airlines. We shared all sorts of travel tips. From the airport, we made our way to Balestrate. Once in Balestrate, we walked in search of cappuccino and a Bancomat (ATM). We found both within easy walking distance. We had some wonderful olive bread with our coffee.

We got ourselves together and went out in search of a restaurant I’d read about for lunch. My two friends had mussels, clams, shrimp, squid, and octopus in a spicy red sauce served with grilled bread and I had mussels in that same sauce (I think there were at least two pounds of mussels in my bowl!). Excellent late lunch! Trip to a local gelato shop got us into the swing of things. Still love the nutella/pistachio combo. Great first day!

Friday, October 2 – First Full Day
Up early for breakfast – fritatta with smoked salmon and all sorts of veggies followed by a trip along the coast with our final destination, a town famous for a special sandwich called “pane cunzato” – delicious bread containing thin layers of sliced tomato, mild provolone-like cheese, fresh anchovies, and some olive oil. On the way to Scopello, we explored Alcamo Marina and Castellamare del Golfo, two coastal towns. We bought bastardi (prickly pear cactus fruit), a bunch of fresh mint for tea, prune plums, and at least a pound of assorted olives at a fruit/vegetable stand and had our morning coffee in a nice hotel bar area.

Each stop is an opportunity to walk through an interesting town and enjoy the scenery along the coast. We stopped at a rest area where my friend purchased a few souvenirs from local vendors. We found a parking spot in Scopello and walked down the hill into town in search of the famous sandwich place. We found it when we saw a line of people waiting for something. The place we sought was close to that line. We purchased our sandwiches and some homemade cassatelle (small half moon shaped ricotta filled pastries). We ate our sandwiches at outside tables across the street from the restaurant. We wrapped some leftovers to enjoy with the pastries later. We explored the town and then headed back to Balestrate to go to the beach. The water feels warm after the first few minutes. We all swam,  one of my friends relaxed on a towel, and my other friend and I walked along the beach, which stretches for miles. For our second gelato of the trip, we had mango, which is a popular flavor in the area, and I had it with pistachio for another great combo. Another fun-filled day!

More about their travels in the coming posts.  Stay tuned!

By an Italophile Extraordinaire