I have been there before, in 2007 with my newly met French friend Ines and my intimate friend Teja Schwaner. Actually, I had booked the trip for Teja and me, but this new love affair let nothing but the three of us fly there together.
Teja is an incredible guy, about nine years older than me, worked as a music journalist for the Hamburg music magazine "Sounds" in the 70s, toured Hamburg with Bob Marley, Lowel George and other musical greats and also translated almost all the books of one of my favorite authors ("Hunter S. Thompson") into German. That was in 1999 - just when I had finished writing my book "Angst & Schrecken auf Formentera" (title adapted from Hunter's most famous work "Frear & Loathing in Las Vegas") - and he had moved to Hanover for love reasons (a certain Monja), where we met - me looking for the most suitable publisher.
Translators are paid extremely poorly, although translating is an extremely demanding, creative art. Of course, you can load texts into the Google translator, but there many subtleties remain hidden and many details appear completely distorted. In any case, Teja was hard up for money. So since then I have always invited this dear person to various trips, especially to Formentera, and in 2007 also to Palermo.
Palermo is definitely the most morbid big city in all of Italy, sure as hell. Also a place closely connected to the mafia, but anyway ... Still the absolutely most fascinating place in Sicily, a miniature version of Naples. Teja was also totally hooked on this place and took about 300 photos there like obsessed.
Palermo for Paloma
But I wanted to jump into 2012 now, where I was able to experience the turn of the year there with my current life companion Paloma, because Palermo is one of the best places for that. Getting there by plane, unfortunately, requires an unimaginable layover in Rome. But what the heck? You can hardly get to Palermo directly - neither from Madrid nor from anywhere else.
Already the hotel was very morbid, but with the typical charm of this ancient metropolis, where you can wander around for days. In between, one treats oneself to coffee and cassata at the "Café Spinnato" or enjoys fruit, vegetables and marisco in the open markets.
Our French friend, Fred García, had told us about the catacombs, which are easily accessible by public bus, including a stop in front of the gate of a wonderfully ornamented cemetery wall. Immediately on the right the entrance to the underground, tickets bought and down. These catacombs, where over 2000 people have been buried, originated in a 16th century Capuchin monastery. But the dead are not in coffins, but are standing or sitting there mummified and dressed. It's a bit creepy, and most of the female visitors leave immediately. Moreover, photography is forbidden, but that didn't stop me from taking all kinds of snapshots. The two mummies here on the photo I then put this nice text into the mouth. Was but unfortunately until exactly now nowhere published.
(These Duesenbergs are simply much, much better than this stuff from the 60s!!!)
And the culinary! 25: December, Christmas morning! Google Maps did not exist for a long time. We were totally lost in the higher part of Palermo, the city map mistakenly twisted by 180 degrees, confused, somewhat exhausted because of the slopes there, at the next corner a trattoria "FERDINANDO III". "Let's have a beer there." Ok, we entered the restaurant, which was as good as full, lots of families, celebrating Christmas Day. But there was still a table for us. The waiter told us there was only a set menu today. Well, we weren't that hungry, but "Andiamo!"
What was served then was unbelievable: first a plate with oysters and other raw mussels (similar to "conchas finas" in Spanish), then raw red prawns. Then carpacchio: marinated tuna, delicately smoked swordfish and salmon. Then a caponata (eggplant) with sweet glazed onions, followed by linguine along with half a small crawfish, all in a super delicate seafood sauce. We skirted the main course of "swordfish" because we were already relatively full. A lemon granita and tarta de cassata (the best dessert in the world!) followed for dessert, then double espressos and amari. We ordered the bill. € 50, - was written. We tipped brilliantly and the extremely amiable waiter explained how we would find our way back to our neighborhood. What more, please?
A wonderful turn of the year! But as we were unfortunately told last year (December 2022 back in Palermo), the Ferdinando III had already had to close Covid conditionally the previous year. A great loss!