One thing we noticed in Italy this past week is that kids are completely adored, showered with attention, kisses, cheek pinches (ask Cece, it was her favorite part) but very little is set up specifically for kids. Kids are expected to do everything like the adults.
I like this assumption and the girls were at the perfect age to meet those expectations. They had plenty of time to splash in the pool, hang out with cousins, and act like kids but they also carried their own bags, did all the tours, and talked with the family. It was a great vacation for kids just not a kid-centric vacation.
We started the day with one last Nutella-fueled breakfast.
I think I’m going to miss the morning ritual of the Italian coffee pot.
I’m certainly going to miss drinking that coffee with the morning view.
Don’t worry, they still found some time to get on the couch.
But all too soon it was time to pack up and say good-bye to the villa. Our little Fiat didn’t have much pep in the mountains but it was a great city car.
The drive to Palermo was mostly uneventful. We are all now quite used to the mopeds, passing styles and generally vague lane suggestions. It was disconcerting to hear Kid Rock’s Bawitdaba on Italian radio in the hills near Termini but also strangely comforting to know that not even Sicily is safe from Kid Rock.
The last few kilometers got a bit interesting. Google decided it would be best for us to drive straight through the outdoor city market to get to our hotel. We decided to take an alternate route. There were a few Big Ben-Parliament moments but we eventually made it to the hotel.
We spent the late morning walking Palermo and seeing the major sites like the Politeama, Teatro Massimo, Cathedral, and Royal Palace. Cecilia was disappointed we couldn’t stay and get tickets for the symphony concert featuring four trombones that week.
It was very hot (over 90) and the girls needed some energy so we hit up one of the many street food vendors for an arancini. But only one as we had to meet up with some family for a last lunch.
One strange and serendipitous note. Last week while I was waiting in the interminable rental car line, I struck up a conversation with a nice German man. A week later, we ran into him and his wife on the streets of Palermo. What are the odds!
Now, I escaped the first family dinner but it did come out during the second one that I’m vegetarian. There was some good natured ribbing and a lot of hand gestures to convey their disappointment.
But they were also very happy to have me try the eggplant meatballs at the lunch place. They were excellent as was the sardine pasta (and antipasti, and calamari, and croquettes, and ravioli, and involtini – just a typical light Sicilian lunch).
After lunch, we all piled into their car and drove to a favorite gelato place in the city.
After seeing mine, I think Cecilia regretted not trying the gelato in the brioche.
As if there wasn’t enough excess (and stretched stomachs) already, this place also poured dark chocolate into the bottom of the cone. The girls are fans for life.
You can see the vacation catching up to Ally in that gelato picture, so after the walking in the heat and the big meal we went back to the hotel for a little pisolino.
They closed off some of the main streets in the center of town so after the nap we went back out for an evening walk and a look at a few more monuments. The blend of architecture in Palermo is amazing.
Everyone was out walking. It was a good vibe. It took me about 30 seconds to adjust to the lack of open container laws.
Somehow Ally was still hungry. Her pickiness actually helped her not overeat like the rest of us. She mainly was fueled by arancini, gelati, and if in a pinch, pasta.
And then she threw us a curveball and went for a granita over one last gelato.
No vacation is all shiny and glossy Instagram moments. We definitely had mishaps and some bumps in the road but that’s the tradeoff with traveling. A little rain, a couple meltdowns, a hot bus, a 2 hour wait at the rental car counter. Those become the texture to the stories you tell.
It’s all part of the adventure and it always ends too fast even if you are ready to go home.