February 12, 2012

Sicily Pt I: Palermo, Taormina & The Best Pasta We've Ever Had

After spending a couple of days getting lost in Florence, making a friend of Zach the World Traveler (who joined us on the plane to Sicily!), we arrived pretty late in the Sicilian town of Palermo...and we were starving. It was nearly midnight once we found our hostel tucked behind the backstreets of bustling Palermo, but our hostel owner assured us that we could sneak around the corner to a small place and get a meal. Not one person was sitting inside, beads were draped over the open door and some cheesy Italian music was blasting from the radio in the back--not your ideal Italian restaurant right? WRONG! We sat down, pointed at 'vino 1 Liter' and with a few hand swishes and no English words, we somehow figured out that the chef would prepare us whatever he liked--this may have been the best miscommunication I've ever experienced! The three of us waited patiently for our meal to arrive and then suddenly, there it was, 3 heaping plates of spaghetti slathered in olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and pepper. Such a simple dish, no? Once the spaghetti hit our tastebuds, we ooooo'd and aaaaah'd at the sheer deliciousness! How could such simple ingredients be combined in such a magnificent way? Then and there we agreed that it was most certainly the best spaghetti we've ever had. 

The city itself was quite crazy--vespas, cars, and Sicilians swishing off in every direction. We weren't dying to visit Palermo as it was just where we had to fly in to, but we managed to squeeze in a little stroll down the fish market and to the catacombs. Although not the most beautiful city, it was still that city with the place that had the most amazing spaghetti the 3 of us have ever had. We had hoped to squeeze in one more helping of that delicious plate of spaghetti but 'damn its closed!' was our fate, then we were off! Our next stop was Cefalu, a charming little village on the north side of Sicily. Cefalu was AMAZING which is why I decided to dedicate one post to it. After Cefalu though, we hopped on the train bound for Taormina, a hilltop gem in the wake of Mt. Etna. The train ride itself was quite a treat--we peered out the window watching as we rolled past endless blue/green/crystal clear coastlines with rolling green hills at our backs. 

Four hours later, we set foot in Taormina. We were just in time to grab a meal of ham 'n cheese tortellini and the waiter bet that we couldn't finish 2 liters of wine, we graciously accepted (and proved him wrong!) his challenge--piece of cake :)--then he treated us to a free helping of tiramisu! Taormina sits high above the ocean and man did that ocean look tempting. Finding a walking path through grape vines and around mountain bends, we made it to the sea below--the shores of Isola Bella are what greeted us. For the rest of the afternoon, we got 10 EUR massages on the beach and twiddled our toes in the sea ;).

{Isola Bella}


Nikol Schiller said...

LOVE that white dress! Happy travels!

Natasha Contreras said...

Sounds amaaaaazng right about now!!

Please tell me the octopi (<-- plural for octopus??) is not real. Looks freaky!

Rachael said...

Oh Nikol, you are not the first, second or even the third person to comment on her dress! Perfect Sicily dress if ya ask me!!

Natasha - love the use of plurality! Wish I could say otherwise but the octopi IS real! So were the little baby fried octopi sitting right next to them. Smitty decided to buy a couple as a little snack of the local delicacies...well apparently they do not remove the octopi's ink sacks pre-frying because once she took a bite, that ink squirted ALL OVER HER FACE! i DIED laughing :)