For this second part of my Palermo photo diary, I'd like to speak to you about the harbour and seaside areas. Although I love visiting buildings, museums and cultural sites when I'm on holiday, I also enjoy a little afternoon on the beach! I was actually pleasantly surprised by how blue, pure and clean the sea looked in Palermo. I was expecting a little dirt here and there, but the water was crystal clear and I let out little squeals of joy every time I saw it (which was, as it happens, very often).
Once again I am parting this post in two small chunks, to present you the two different seaside areas we visited. Get ready for a lot of blue and boats!
The Harbour of Palermo: La Cala & Surroundings
The harbour, called La Cala, is easily accessible if you are in the centre of the city. Only a few minutes' walk down il Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, walking under Italian flag bunting, and the blue of the sea will instantly catch your eye. There's a long, seaside promenade there, where people love to go with friends or to go for a run. From the port, where all the boats are moored, you can see the Monte Pellegrino (check out the first picture), which is apparently a great hiking spot and gives you the best view of the sea - we'll actually try to climb the Monte during our next stay, so you'll hear more about it then!).
At the very end of the port, there is a curious little spot where people go fishing. We went there twice, and both times people were sitting, waiting for fish to catch the hook. Parallel to the sea promenade is the Villa Giulia - which, as the name doesn't suggest, is actually a really pretty, peaceful park. You'll take the best palm trees photographs there, and see the curious display of four exedra (semi-circular buildings and domes), beautifully painted. These were gorgeous, and the Roman style paintings of the walls had me completely in awe. There are numerous busts and statues all around the park, which has a very typical layout of Italian gardens. We spent quite some time there, soaking up the little breeze as evening approached, and I simply didn't want to leave.
Mondello is Palermo's most famous beach. To get there, you'll have to take a bus (bus n°806 at Politeama to be precise, in case you're planning to visit), and after a thirty-minute journey in a probably full bus, you'll be there. Trust me, the tedious journey is worth it! You'll be welcomed by kilometres of fine sand and lagoon-blue water. Although it was super windy the day we went there, the sun was shining (and left me with horrible tan lines on my feet and thighs). Because it was only May, the beach wasn't packed with people and it was easy to find a nice spot to put our towels on. In the summer, Mondello is said to be super popular, but then I guess most beach areas are anyways. Once I got into the water, I didn't want to come back to the sand. I had not been on a proper beach day for ages (last year in Barcelona it was so busy that we only stayed for a couple hours because giving up), so it felt incredibly good to breathe in the sea air and look at that amazing view.
If you walk along the beach towards the west, you'll stumble upon a little port and a part of Mondello that looks like an old fishermen's village. There you'll find plenty of restaurants and bars, which I am sure, do amazing seafood - as I don't like sea produce, I don't mind too much about that but a lot of restaurants in Palermo seem to have seafood as their speciality.
Going to the sea and to the harbour were some of my favourite moments in Palermo. It feels so exotic for someone coming from the city, and I know I would be happy if I lived in a place where the sea was so close. It definitely made the trip look like a summer holiday, and sometimes we forget we were only in May!