I meet up with Andy and Phil at the Munich airport this morning a few minutes before boarding our flight to Palermo. They haven’t had the luxury of a mid-journey overnight stop, and having just arrived from California, are eager to get to our final destination. The Lufthansa flight is calm and uneventful (as one hopes every flight will be). My bag is the first one out on the carousel. Phil’s shows up soon thereafter. We wait, and we wait, and all the bags have been collected and another flight’s bags start coming out. No bag for Andy. We go to the baggage office where Andy discovers that he has accidentally tossed his and Phil’s baggage claim stubs! Note to travelers everywhere: This is a no-no! Fortunately, the agent is able to track down the bag by looking at the bag tag on Phil’s bag. For some reason the bag was pulled aside and hauled into the customs office. They evidently didn’t find any contraband because soon the bag was released to us and we were on our way into the city.
The taxi ride was a hair-raising experience, with the driver zooming around traffic on the freeway at 130km/hr. But that was nothing compared to the way he careened around lines of traffic (all heading in our direction) once we got onto the narrower city streets. We were grateful to arrive at our hotel and gladly coughed up the 60 euros (20 each) he charged to get us there in record time. A siesta/nap is a huge tradition in Italy, and one the three of us readily adopted after our long travels.
This is not the start day of the tour. That happens tomorrow. So six of us who have arrived early met in the hotel’s bar at 6:30pm, chatted a bit, and then went around the corner to a trattoria named “Sapurito”. The restaurant’s tag line on their business card says “Cucina Povera e Pizza” which roughly translates to “poor food and pizza.” In other words – nothing fancy. But it was charming, and I enjoyed fried artichoke and a vegetarian risotto. A couple of us returned to the hotel afterwards, and several others went out in search of gelato to finish off the meal.