|Subject: Re: Rome and Sicily|
Ward and Auleen,
I have been waiting for someone to ask about Sicily since we went there last November. We loved it and we envy you so much because you are going there.
First, lodging. We stayed at the most incredible place, the Baglio Conca De'Oro in Monreal. It was central to everywhere in Northern Sicily and an incredble bargain. We were in off season but we paid around 100 euro a night for the best room we had in all of Italy. They do a nice breakfast as well and the view was incredible.
You can check the hotel out and our see more pics of Sicily at http://www.koobraey.com/italy. There are pics of our hotel and notes on the driving experience on the website as well. Warning! The hotel is a little hard to find but if you are driving, you should be able to do it on the third try at least. (Keep in mind if you do stay there that the directions they give you will say that after a particular turn it is only 50 yards. More like 5000 yards.)
As to the driving, the other comments you read were right on. Palermo was a zoo! Drivers have no clue what a lane is. We were literally on a 3 lane boulevard and were one of 6 cars across those three lanes. I could reach out and easily touch the cars on either side of us. A number of Italians we met later in Rome could not believe we had driven in Palermo. They told it was the worst in Italy. If that was the worst, bring it on. A few said it was as bad as Naples.
I would say that when we go back, we will probably rent a car but take public transport into and around Palermo.
But driving on the autostrada there and in the hills and to the coast was nirvana. My best driving experience ever. We are planning a return trip in 2004 and I am looking forward to driving again.
We highly recommend seeing the Greek ruins at Segesta, the seaside town of Trapani, the incredible cathedral at Monreale and we drove into the hills to the little town of Corleone where my grandfather was born. If you are a film fan as we are, make sure and go to Palzzo Adriano where they filled Cinema Paradisio. There is so much more we never got to see and we can't wait to go back.
One thing to note, once we got out of the cities, there was little English spoken. But the people were wonderful about trying to understand what little Italian we knew and were very patient while we consulted our Italian-English dictionary and phrase book.
We expect a full report on our favorite place on earth.
Have a wonderful time.
Jim & Kathleen in rainy Redmond, WA