Entry #13 May 28, 2011
The Castellammare shipyard workers' protest had settled down and a driver was scheduled to pick us up at 9:45AM for the drive to the Naples airport. The certainty of this arrangement had been a bit scary since on Thursday night we heard talking in the lobby of our B&B around 11PM. A couple had just arrived from Naples and had to take a real "Round Robin-hood's Barn" drive to get from Naples to Sorrento which involved going inland and then back up the Amalfi coast rather than by the direct road (which the workers had blocked). On Friday, the workers got to air their grievances and called off the action. Wow, that was close. Our back-up plan had been to take the ferry to Naples and then a cab to the airport from the ferry dock.
Our plane was late leaving the gate in Naples and the pilot had some unkind words for the ground crew! We bid farewell to Vesuvius and headed to the Etna domain. A soccer team from Naples was headed to Palermo for a game and they took up many of seats on our plane. They were a nice bunch of young men and Tom wished them luck in their game.
Our hotel is named the "Hotel Posta" since it is across the street from the post office which is a massive Fascist-style building. We found a nice restaurant for dinner.
On Sunday morning, we waked to the Regional Archeological Museum which was very impressive with a lot of neolithic artifacts.
Our Rick Steves tour began late Sunday afternoon with an introduction to the group of 24 participants and a reading of the "rules" of the tour. Tommaso, our guide took us on an orientation to Palermo We ran into crowds of enthusiastic soccer fans who were cheering the Palermo team on in a televised finals match with Milan. Palermo had not been in the finals for a long time and lost 1-0. A group dinner rounded out the evening.
Monday was devoted to churches and cathedrals and a walk through the markets. We had our first taste of fried garbanzo bean bread. The afternoon was free and we had dinner by ourselves at a great "fancy" restaurant.