Sunday, August 16, 2015

Vacay 2015--Gotta Go!

Our Mediterranean cruise stopped at a different port almost every day. On Saturday night at 6:00 the ship left the dock in Civitavecchia. When we woke up on Sunday we were in Palermo, Sicily.

Instead of purchasing a shore excursion for this port, we decided we'd just explore the city on our own.  After breakfast we left the ship and navigated a small gauntlet of locals offering taxi services and tours.  We decided to sightsee via a hop-on-hop-off bus, so after looking at a couple of different options we bought tickets and walked a short distance to the bright red bus parked just outside the port area.

It took a while for the bus to fill up and get going, but while we were waiting the guide passed out ear bud headphones that would allow us to plug into the sound system and hear the commentary in one of six different languages.  Unfortunately, when we got going I figured out that the system on the back of the seat in front of me was static-filled.  I could understand enough to get by, though, and enjoyed riding by the historic attractions.  In my area 'old' is considered 250 years, and I had a hard time contemplating the timelessness of the centuries-old things I was seeing.

Building
Tony and I got off at the first shuttle stop, a museum, but when we realized the admission fee was hefty we decided to pass and explore the area on foot.  It didn't take long for us to see the steeple of a church (the Palermo article on Wikipedia lists 17) and we decided to step in and take a look.  There was an older woman sitting on the left side of the entrance with a girl (I'm guessing her grand daughter, about 5 or 6 years old) at her feet.  We smiled at each other as we went in.

The sanctuary was modest, but beautiful.  There were several other people doing the same thing we were, and Tony and I wandered around admiring the building's statues and multiple side chapels. Before long I realized I needed a bathroom break.  I went back to the front door, and asked the woman where I might find one.  All I got in return was a blank stare.  I don't think she spoke any English, and my Italian is limited to just a couple of words.  I tried asking for the 'baƱo' and got the same result.  The woman must have read into my expression, though, and when she asked "pee pee?" I enthusiastically nodded.  She had the girl guide us to the far recesses of the building, where there were two rooms labeled W.C.   I used the seatless toilet and flushed it with the foot pedal, then washed my hands in the small sink.  When  both Tony and I were done the girl was waiting to guide us back to the church.

As we made our way towards the door the church bells pealed the call to worship, which indicates that Mass will be starting soon.  Tony and I looked at each other, and quickly decided to stay and join in.

church shortly before Mass started
I've been to a couple of non-English services a couple of times over the years.  The order of the Mass is always the same, but there are local differences that are interesting to see.  Not understanding Italian I can't say I got much out of the homily, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the cadence of the priest's beautiful deep voice.

When Mass was over we walked back to the shuttle stop.  We must have just missed a bus, because we had to wait for almost a half hour in the hot, humid sun.  By time the next bus came all we wanted to do is go back to the boat, have lunch, and cool off.

Dinner dessert
Five years ago today: Would You Like A Tomato With That?

11 comments:

  1. I love going to church when we vacation! What a pretty one you found.

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    1. Thanks. Tony and I weren't particularly planning on going to church, but when the timing worked out so we figured it was meant to be.

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  2. luckily it wasn't a squat toilet! Another nice day.

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    1. I agree with you on the 'squat' :-)

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  3. I enlarged all of your pictures for a better look, and that first one is amazing! So beautiful. That dessert looks delicious.

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    1. Aw, thanks for the kind words. I'm not the world's best photographer, and it's always satisfying to have something turn out well.

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  4. Oh my gosh, so fun and I love seeing the food !!!!

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    1. I take A LOT of food photos!

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    2. And I'll be back to see them. Such fun.

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  5. The unexpected meet up with the woman and the girl is why I love to travel. And the universal "pee pee"? Classic. Wonderful post.

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    1. Amen to all your thoughts, and thanks for your kind words.

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