Europe, Italy

Mondello Beach, Palermo

Marks triple chocolate mousse. birthday cake

Sometimes when I sit down to write a post I tend to stare at the screen for a while before I find the words. Other times, as the day is happening, I jot them down in my phone because I’m so excited to write my blog later. Things have been quite slow lately and I was contemplating even writing anything at all. I find myself torn between writing about facts, information and events like a regular blog, but also wanting to keep this somewhat personal. Write this kind of like a journal to look back on as I’ve done in past trips on paper. I actually brought a notebook with me expecting to document our trip. It took me probably 6 months to find the perfect notebook that wasn’t too big, it had to be soft cover and easily bendable and a lot of pages (enough for a year) but not too thick to fit in a pocket in my day bag. I drove Mark nuts looking for it. I treated it like trying to find the right pair of shoes. “No, this one doesn’t feel right.” “Ya, that’s a good one, but it doesn’t have…” “I don’t think I like the colour of this one though…” I looked at hundreds of them and in the end found one in the Edmonton airport. 3 months into the trip and I have maybe written in about 10 pages. It’s a strange feeling using that notebook. Its like pen to paper doesn’t feel right in my hands anymore. My writing is extremely messy, I was misspelling words and my hand got sore really quick. I guess in the days of technology and maybe using a phone and a computer for so long has made me lazy. I feel a bit disappointed in myself that I don’t want to use my journal and I keep thinking that years down the road I’m going to regret it. I still have my 3 other journals at home, in storage, waiting to be dusted off and read again. I can’t for the life of me remember how I wrote or what I talked about in my other trips, how personal I may have gotten or if I was just writing strictly facts and events of the days. Maybe it was having those moments on long plane and train rides that Sherry and I had shared together, silently writing about the days and confirming names and information about places visited, that kept me writing in them. Whatever the reason, how ever I feel about it 10 years from now, none of it really matters I don’t think. I have this blog and will be able to read it years down the road. I’m not sure if people want to read personal things in my head or if they just want to know what I did and saw that day in whatever country might appeal to them. I’ve decided this blog is for me. When I open my laptop and start writing, I’m writing it for myself 10 years down the road and whoever wants to be apart of that is fine. I’m opening my hand-written journals for you to follow along, digital hand written now to keep up with the times. So, I really hope you enjoy my thoughts as well as my detailed days abroad and I’m thankful for each of you who have followed this far and for that friend of mine who pushed me to write this thing (Thanks Chelsea). Cause maybe if she hadn’t I still wouldn’t have used my journal and I’d have nothing to look back on at all.
Our time spent in Palermo was relaxing. Famous for Mondello Beach, a long strip of white soft sand and crystal clear turquoise water, where we spent the majority of our time and the reason we went there. We were only a 15 min bus ride from this beach which is further than we wanted to be but with the bikes that were included with our Airbnb we were excited to not have to use a bus for a few days. Well that didn’t go well. The bikes included were in pretty rough shape. We both laughed when we saw them after reading the description stating it was a 50-euro charge for damage, when you probably couldn’t damage them much more. We made it 10 minutes down the road before we turned around. The bike I was riding instantly had a flat tire. We had to pump it up 3 times in the 20 minutes I was on it. Marks was a mountain bike style and the handle bars were half the length of the ones we have back home, I could hardly rest my hands on them without my palms spilling over the ends. The seat wouldn’t tighten, so every bump you went over it would tilt completely backwards or forwards making it impossible to ride any distance without having to get off and readjust. The pedals were bent and extremely awkward, it was ridiculous. So, again, we were stuck paying for the bus and constantly waiting around for a ride and following a time table which is not what we had in mind. Sucks but it is what it is. Stop complaining though right? There we were, in the middle of this beautiful beach, both of us turning into children bouncing around in the water and dunking each other playfully. How could I complain about the bus when it was direct and only cost 1.30 each. Ill shut my mouth now…. In celebration of Marks birthday, we rented lounge chairs and an umbrella for 22 euro and spent the entire day sunning and swimming. Drank cheap beer the entire time and ate some crappy food truck hotdogs (and by crappy, I mean amazing). It was the perfect day and worth spending the money on the chairs. We spent every day at Mondello and never once dipped into Palermo to check out the city. I think we’ve over done cities to be honest. At least for now cause we keep avoiding them. Our evenings we enjoyed at home with our beer and wine, cooking dinner and playing Mario on the Wii. Mark requested spaghetti and steak for his birthday and we also picked up a triple chocolate mousse cake from a local bakery that was absolutely delicious.

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Mondello Beach

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We are pretty happy to move on and not because we didn’t like Palermo, we loved it, but our Airbnb wasn’t the best. From the bikes not being usable to no A/C. It got stinking hot at night to the point where we suffered through the mosquito bites to have the doors open in hopes of catching a bit of a breeze to cool the place down. We couldn’t even sleep in the bed together and I spent every night on the couch waking up with a very sore back. This happened to us in Rome as well, its hard to sleep when its that hot so when spending a few nights in a place like that you don’t get much sleep so you’re ready to move on and hope that the next Airbnb is better.
Mark was pretty choked on our last review from the Airbnb in Naples. He complained about us being messy saying that we left bags of garbage and bottles when in fact we put everything in the bins provided but apparently, he wanted us to take out our own garbage to the bins outside on the street. Even though with Airbnb, you always pay a daily cleaning fee and, in his notes, he put it was not mandatory to take it out ourselves. He also said in broken English that he judged us for how much alcohol we consumed while we were there, which is none of his business and ridiculous cause the guy didn’t live there, and we saw him once. He was judging based on what was placed in the recycle bin. We bought booze every night we came back from a long day trekking about, Mark would grab about 6 beer and I would pick up my bottle of Brachetto. Not once did we get DRUNK, so there was no excess anything. We spent our evenings on the patio with a gorgeous view of the ocean sipping our drinks, looking over our photos from the day and enjoying the sunset. Its frustrating cause we make sure to clean up after ourselves, take out our garbage, strip our bed linen and wash and put away our dishes before we leave any place. We take a lot pride in how respectful we are and now we have this ridiculous review that effects our overall rating on the site that we use for every accommodation. Mark already sent the host a message and I plan on commenting on the review in hopes that we can tell our side of the story and it wont affect those who we want to stay with in the future. It just goes to show that you truly cannot please everyone, and I definitely won’t be recommending that place to anyone going to visit Naples.
The next two days will be spent travelling as we have to head back up north towards the way we came and to the far east of the country to catch a ferry over to Greece. One night in Bari and a ferry over night to Patras and then into Athens. Were both very excited for a new country but I’m going to miss Italy. The experience has been amazing, and I cannot wait to go back some day and see everything we didn’t have time to see this trip.

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