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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 31, 2014

Monday - my final "tourist" day

My first job was to find the place where you wait for a bus to the Palermo Airport.  It's quite near where I was staying and Francesco, my host, showed me on a map. However, as I may have said in other posts, maps aren't always that much help here in Sicily, so I ended up on a quest once again.  But it was a nice morning and I came across another one of those decorative kiosks that seem to be scattered here and there. (don't know why the sky is yellow...)

I finally found a bus-tour sign-up place and asked the lady in there where the spot was that I was looking for and turned out I was almost there  It's right across the street from the Politeama which is a massive building on a big piazza.and is yet another theater for live performances - not a movie theater.  The Massimo theater which I recorded earlier and this one were both the result of competitions back in the late 1800's - one theater to be (no matter how you word it) for the richer and one for the masses.  The rich would get the grand operas, the masses would get operettas, comedies, tragedies, circuses, etc.  I don't know who gets what now.  Anyway, it's some building, but I would never guess looking at it that it was a theater!
 The next two are for Chris - I forget where we were in Florence - some piazza I think - and he didn't like the lightpoles - thought they weren't grand enough.  And they were kind of bare.  I think this one would probably be more to his liking and the next one is just a close up of the base which is pretty wonderful.

 So now that I knew how easy it would be to catch the airport bus in the morning (yeah, right!) I decided to head down to the waterfront.  I'd only been seeing little bits and pieces of it from the B&B and at the Valley of the Temples.  Also, my strange guidebook had an Eastern Palermo route to follow and I figured I could at least start that and see how far I'd get.

 Nope, that's not an apartment building - it's a huge cruise ship and this area is probably the most chaotic of anywhere I've been in Palermo - everyone wanting a piece of the action when the passengers disembark.  From there it wasn't too far to the first stop on the guidebook's route, although it was becoming obvious to me that I wouldn't be doing the whole thing!  I had walked quite a distance already and, of course would have the walk back.

This is the very plain and simple facade of the Oratorio di Santa Cita.  My guidebook says oratories are restored chapels whatever that means and since this one was built in the 16th century, I would imagine it has been restored at some point.
To enter, you go up a long staircase running alongside this pretty enclosed (and very quiet) courtyard.  That's the trunk of a tree which way up at the top has pretty bright rose flowers.  And the little spikes are sharp.
The interior of this very plain little chapel is astounding and is the work of one Giacomo Serpotta who worked with stucco!  And I simply have no idea how you create this incredible and delightful cacophony of activity with plaster.  But Giacomo did apparently because here it is.  The audio guide (which was free amazingly enough) stated that in his contracts, he always insisted on a cask of wine and a lute player who would play while he worked.  The picture above is one of I think 8 little "theaters" depicting on one wall, the joyous events in the life of Jesus and on the other wall, the trial, betrayal, bearing of the cross and crucifixion of Jesus.  I just photographed the nativity because over the years, I've collected a fair number of nativities.  The picture above is that little scene.
Above is the altar with one of two paintings in the entire chapel if I'm remembering correctly. 
And this is pretty much the entire back wall of the chapel, depicting the scene of the battle between the Christian fleets over the Turks in which St. Mary miraculously intervened..
Two of these bigger than life statues frame the apse and I see from the painting below (the ceiling of the apse) that actually there are three paintings in the chapel.

And, yes, I loved it so here's another one of the back wall.  I've just never seen a church, chapel, call it what you will, decorated in this manner.

I wonder if this is sort of like the box for royalty in a theater?
Above and below are ornamental shelf holders - little cherubs fighting fierce beasties.
Oh, and here's the top of that tree with the very spiky trunk.
And below, please meet Giacomo Serapotta, artist extraordinaire as long as he had his wine and music.
And below is just a nifty sign I liked.  Chris took a picture of a beautiful little dragon on a wrought iron light fixture so this is my pretty tin rooster outside a cafe.

And that is pretty much it from Palermo, Sicily, Italy.  Tuesday was bus to the airport (and after my careful mapping it out I made a wrong turn!), fly to Rome, catch another plane to Florence, (crazy!), take bus from airport to train station, take very nice little break to go to the Mercato Centrale and get some Parmesan Reggiano and Aceto Balsamica and stop in "my" corner cafe to say hi to the man and woman there and have a sandwich and a delicious red wine), back to the train station and train to Milan's train station, train from station to Milan airport, shuttle to hotel, a little dinner and bed.  Wednesday was shuttle to Milan airport, flight to JFK airport in New York City (arriving 1/2 hour early), train from airport to Jamaica station to catch a train to Penn Station.  From Penn station train to BWI (Baltimore airport) and from there to a big hug from January waiting to to pick me up.

And still in tourist mode on Thursday, January, who works at the library of Catholic University, finally  took me tosee the basilica there.  I may post pictures of that although January's phone did a much better job than mine so now I don't like the pictures I took.

I'll be driving back home Tuesday after a visit with my daughter Heather and her family and I'm going to make a pot roast and a big batch of chili! 

Thanks for traveling with me.  This trip certainly had its stressful moments and it was nice being able to share my days.


Christopher said...

Wow! That Is an astonishing chapel indeed! Very nice photos of it, too! Thanks for the lamp fixture... Yes, something a bit more grand, for Milan's plaza, is needed... They should have sent for Sicilian lamp-makers!

Chinch said...

Love that chapel and who would ever guess from the outside. It's been a wonderful trip for this fan of yours -- enjoying the pics and loving the commentary.

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