April 30th -- May 1st: Trip to Palermo


The day started early.  In anticipation of an exciting day of travel sleep was not on the list of things the body wanted to do, so just getting up and watching the day begin seemed to make the most sense.  The night before an attempt to download the three required boarding passes had not gone well.  The airline computer system would only regurgitate one piece of paper that in the smallest print allowed for the human eye to read were two of the three legs of the trip.  Upon contacting the airlines directly by phone it was discovered that nothing could be done prior to arriving at the airport in the morning.  All assurances were given that the reservation was there and there would be no problem procuring the remaining required documents.  Not enough reassurance to allow for a sound sleep, however!  Arrival at the first airport didn’t relax the trip.  The airlines promptly announced that the airlines desk in Amsterdam wasn’t open yet so only the first flight’s boarding pass could be issued in the US.  The remainder would have to be delivered in Europe!!  Guess the KLM computer system has taken on a human characteristic and now sleeps during the night!  Eight hours later and on European soil, the problem was solved after three attempts to get the kiosk to spit out the remaining two boarding passes.  Now the problem was which gate was the flight to Rome leaving from.  Standing in the D concourse at 7:00 a.m. the boarding pass and the KLM personnel stated that it was B21 boarding at 9:10a.m.  That would require a 10 minute walk to the other end of the airport.  Having just sat for over 8 hours, the thought of a stroll sounded good.  Oh – but wait – upon arriving at gate B21, the sign said “Gate Change”.  KLM wants this person to make up for any lack of training for this venture.  The new gate is now at C11 15 minutes in the opposite direction.  It has been very thoughtful of the airlines to build in exercise into the trip!!

After a short flight over the sea from Rome to Sicily, Palermo came into sight at last!!  Surrounded by high cliffs dumping into the sea, the city is the center of all Sicilian!  The hotel for the time in this busy city is the Hotel Opera and is located in the heart of the downtown off the Piazza Castelnouvo with its large Teatro Politeama dominating the area. 

Arriving in the city in early afternoon on May 1st presented a small problem.  It is a national holiday so everything but a few bistros are closed including all major sightseeing spots.  The other very minor difficulty is that the Italians eat dinner from 8 pm on so any restaurants that would be serving on the holiday are also closed until that hour.  After a long day of flying and no sleep to speak of the night before, waiting until 8 p.m. to eat was not an option.  A quick panni and a glass of wine at a corner café and off to bed.