I hope this is the right place to post this. Well, after a year of planning a trip to Sicily and Rome, here is the first installment of my trip report: Termini Imerese.
We flew into Rome from Philadelphia. We missed our connecting flight on Ryanair, because after we booked the flight, Ryanair advanced the flight time by more than 2 hours, so that we landed in Rome just as our Ryanair flight was leaving for Sicily. Not to worry, I booked a later flight on Vueling, so after a five hour layover, we were finally on our way to Sicily.
We walked towards the exit and asked someone where the Prestia e Commandie ticket counter was. We were told it was outside the terminal to the right. We walked up, bought a ticket for Palermo, and the bus was already there. Piece of cake. We pulled into Palermo. I heard it was kind of gritty, but the parts I saw were beautiful. It kind of looked like a cross between old Madrid and the Caribbean. We got off the bus near the train station. We bought tickets for Termini Imerese without a problem, and got on our train. We were quite exhausted, but it was bright and sunny so it gave us energy. Passing outside of Palermo, we saw the trash that everyone speaks of. What a shame. There were mountains, hills, and trees on our right, and the sea on our left. I kept turning my head from left to right so as not to miss anything.
From the train station at Termini, we were a bit stumped as to how to find our hotel Le Piccolo (piccolo means little in italian). We asked a few people who tried to help, but they were equally puzzled. Finally, we came across someone who seemed to know the area and we walked the short distance to our hotel. We were attracting some attention with our rolling backpacks, as it seems that Termini does not experience a great deal of tourists.
We found our hotel down a little alley (thanks to a tip from another Tripadvisor member), and rang the bell. No answer. The lady who ran the shop on the corner had been watching us, and saw our plight. She phoned the proprietress of the hotel and in a few moments, she appeared. We thanked the shop lady. We were shown to our room, and our review of the hotel is here: tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g608930-d151093…
As tired as we were (it was 5 pm local time, but 11pm to our bodies), and after 36 hours of travelling, we forced ourselves to clean up and venture out. I had already selected a restaurant based upon reviews here, and boy, was I in for a treat. My review of Secondo Tempo is here: tripadvisor.com/…REVIEWS
Fat, happy and euphorically heavy-lidded, we ambled back to our room, and Morpheus took me over.
The next day, although I really needed to sleep more, I got an early start. There was much to do and see, and very little time in which to accomplish all that had to be seen.
My primary mission in Termini was to find the house where my grandfather was born. Although it seems like an easy enough task for a seasoned and well-prepared traveler such as myself, I have to admit I had trouble finding it. In my defense, I was jet-lagged. Also, the street names were in Italian, and the street, some of them no wider than sidewalks, arranged in somewhat random paths. I have no problem asking for help even when I can’t speak the language.
One man in particular was eager to help. After asking him for directions and telling him I was looking for the house where my grandfather was born, he asked my grandfathers name. When I told him, he said there was a family of that name living down the street. We walked over to the apartment building, and he rang the bell. Moments later, on the third floor balcony, an older woman appeared, and we shouted up to her that I was from America and we shared a last name. Mind you, all of this was in Italian, and my vocabulary is less than 100 words. Let’s just say she was not interested in a family reunion. Of all of the people I encountered, this lady was the least friendly, which is hilarious because I am probably related to her.
I can’t emphasize enough how friendly, charming and eager to help the people were on our trip. Wherever we traveled, we were warmly greeted, and welcomed by people who were proud to show off their hometown. Anyway, we found the house, took photos, and moved on to the church where my grandfather was baptized, in tradition with prior generations extending back for hundreds of years.
This church, San Nicola Bari, was stunningly beautiful. I wasn’t sure that I could take pictures, so I didn’t. I found some on the internet: http://www.robertehrhardt.de/page/2 ---scroll down to San Nicolas. See what I mean? I had a very moving experience in this church, thinking of the generations of my family that were baptized, married and buried in the church. Outside the church was another treat: the view. Mountains and the sea are in majestic harmony.
Back to the hotel for checkout, then we went on to the train station to take the train to Cefalu.