PALERMO

Palermo is a city like no other I've visited. There is a tremendous diversity of ethnicity, cuisine, architecture. I stayed in the old part of town, which still had bombed-out buildings from WWII which had not yet been torn down and replaced. The streets were noisy and busy, small businesses were at every doorway on every twisting alley. The alleyway next to my hotel was a bicycle alley, lined with bicycle shops and bikes hanging from the outside walls. Other alleys had all light fixtures, or all clothing, or all chinese grocers. Across the Via Magueda was the daily open air market with every conceivable sort of foodstuff - fruits and veggies, halves of beef, octopi, great wheels of cheese, mounds of broccoli, heaps of olives, bins of spices, sacks of grains and beans. This market spread through the alleys of about 4 city blocks. It was crammed with people, with tiny trucks laden with produce, with motor scooters, with vendors calling out their wares. I went there every day. The persimmons were great.

Every now and again these fellows would move an eye or wiggle a tentacle. One vendor had a bucket of octopi which kept escaping out and grabbing his fish for their lunches.

The colors were wonderful, the prices were cheap, the quality first rate. I ate very well.

  the olive vendor

octopus vendor, displaying his wares

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