Saturday, September 21, 2013

Noordam 2013 - Day 14: Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Around 7 am we docked in Palermo, Sicily Italy. A little problem again. Not the showers, they were comfortable. But our little stateroom safe wouldn’t open. Everything we need for going ashore (passports, camera’s, money, credit cards) is in the safe. The Front Office sent an International Concierge up right away and she opened the safe for us.

Shane, our Cruise Director, told through the PA that it would be a hot day. The taxi’s at the port were very pushy to sell city tours. We hailed a cab in the city. The first one that stopped tried to rip us off, but the second one was friendlier and just turned on the meter.

We drove in Palermo, a very busy city. They drive like madmen and preferably very fast. But after a short drive we arrived at the Palazzo dei Normanni. After the Arabian rulers had left, the Normans came. The result is a giant Royal Palace with Arabic and Norman style elements. We also saw the church of San Giovanni Degli Eremitti.

Church of San Giovanni Degli Eremitti

Then we walked on to the large cathedral (Cattedrale Maria Santissima Assunta). A giant beautiful building in terracolored stone. On the inside it was even more beautiful and a quiet escape from the busy city.

Inside the Cattedrale Maria Santissima Assunta

At the crossroads of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the Via Maqueda is Quatro Canti (literally meaning four corners). On every corner there is a statue with a little fountain. Very special, but a bit dirty and grizzled. 

Quatro Canti

Quatro Canti

Just around the corner was the Piazza Pretoria. This square is also called Piazza della Vergogna (Square of Shame) because of the abundance of nude statues around the fountain (Fontana Pretoria).

Piazza Pretoria

The Piazza Pretoria is the entrance to three churches. We visited one of them, La Mortorana. Inside were beautiful Byzantyne mosaics from the 12th century AD. A real gem in this busy city. Quite serene.

La Mortorana

La Mortorana

Inside La Mortorana

Inside La Mortorana

After a little rest we decided to walk to the Teatro Massimo. Also a very nice building. After the theaters of Paris and Vienna it is the largest theater in the world.

Teatro Massimo

We walked back to the ship. We were impressed by the buildings we had seen, but not impressed by Palermo as a city. Too dirty, too busy and too much of a difference from the relative quiet in Cagliari, Lucca and Pisa. Not a repeater-port as far as we are concerned. Guide KK was right after all.

Noordam in Palermo

We were in time for the Asian buffet and later in the afternoon the Indonesian High Tea. Unbelievable how much we enjoy the great food at the ship. We walk al lot during the days in port, so we hope we can avoid gaining too much weight.

The disembarkation presentation made it very clear that we are near the end of our cruise. Of course with the usual show-element like singing 'Love in every language'. Tomorrow is our last day in port from the Noordam. So we started to pack the clothes we will be wearing during our three days in Rome. If we pack smart, we don’t have to open the bags with our dirty laundry.

The main dining room served surf-and-turf. Great lobster and filet mignon. We checked out the show with the Noordam singers and dancers, but we were not very impressed. Instead we watched a movie in the stateroom and prepared ourselves for our trip in Naples tomorrow.

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