Night location: Palermo
A Muse of the day: Tonight we attended an orchestral concert at the famous Teatro Massimo. We were unsure as to what type of music would be played but having only paid 5 Euros we were unconcerned. To begin, the orchestra played a piece that was reminiscent of cats in a bag with hints of nails down a chalk board. The second piece highlighted the sounds of an ambulance siren and an air raid attack and finished with a sustained 'gong like' sound where all instrumentalists played a note that was either flat or sharp to what they were meant to. To conclude, the musicians were allowed to freelance as the conductor immersed himself in the clashing and clanging of notes. In addition to the instruments, all musicians were seated on swivel chairs that squeaked whenever they moved. Interestingly, this did not detract from the performance. Throughout the concert, Amber and David were at times hysterical and at others nauseous. It was hands down the worst concert we have ever been to. David maintains that they sounded better tuning up at the start and that it did not qualify as music. Amber now thinks that 5 Euros was too much.
It was decided that today would be a relaxed day starting with a sleep in and followed by a walk through Palermo, popping in and out of shops. Sounds lovely!
Today, Palermo was deserted. Shops were boarded up, cars were parked, and rubbish was our only company on the narrow streets in the city. By the end of the day we had walked approximately 8 kilometres and had been into three shops.
We did however find a fantastic restaurant for lunch in a building with what looked to be Roman archways and a fascinating brick tiled ceiling. The owner said that it was between 1400 and 1800 years old. Here we finally tried some of the famous Sicilian street food including arancini, caponata, deep fried cauliflower and eggplant, potato croquettes and chickpea fritters.
After a gelato stop we returned to our Hotel for an afternoon siesta as this seemed to be what the rest of Palermo was doing. Three hours later we emerged to find Palermo bustling with people! The Main Street that had been closed all day to traffic was now a stream of pedestrians, children on scooters and cyclists. We have no idea where they all were today but the city had well and truly come alive!
Our Lonely Planet guide of Sicily had recommended the Pasticceria Capello famous for its seven layer chocolate cake. As we were not having dinner until after the orchestral concert we decided to have dessert first and were not disappointed! The cake had a hazelnut praline base and then was formed out of layers of chocolate mouse and ganache. Incredible!
Teatro Massimo is the third largest Opera theatre in Europe and was plushly decorated inside. Marble floors, crystal chandeliers and velvet curtains made the interior feel decadent. The seating was made up of individual red velvet arm chairs and we gazed up at the six tiers of boxes that surrounded the stage. Being inside the building was definitely the highlight of the concert!
After recovering from the shock of the concert we walked back via a Trattoria to our hotel and packed our bags ready for the early morning flight to Napoli.