I just spent two and a half weeks in Palermo
. I would love to inscribe a spellbinding tale of adventure in lands where history drips from the stone walls, but it’s late. It would also be easier to guide you toward the pictures on Flickr, which will be up shortly once I get my memory card in the mail (there’s a story behind that one). I cannot in good conscience say nothing, however, so here is what comes to the top of my head.
First, the architecture and food in Palermo are the unforgettable and magical result of waves of invasions by Romans, Arabs, Normans and North Africans. There is nothing like shards of textiles arranged by Islamic artisans upon the nave of a medieval chapel. Or, for that matter, the combination of sardines, fennel, raisins, pine nuts, and saffron over pasta
Second, Turkish people are the friendliest people I have ever encountered. They will go out of their way to be hospitable, to the point of driving lost tourists to their destinations. Unless you are a foriegner and there is a financial transaction involved. Then they will try to catch you with your pants around your ankles.
Third, an American expatriate living in Istanbul asked me what I would tell people about the city. I guess my response is that it is both old and new, beautiful and tragic, familiar and unfamiliar. I do not think I will ever understand it. It will capture your heart and disappoint you in turns, and you should go there. Now.