Salt Lake City to Atlanta to Rome to Palermo Sicily

Salt Lake City Travel Blog

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Salt Lake City to Atlanta to Rome to Palermo Sicily: 5/12-5/13/08

My day started off like most early morning days, except instead of cursing my alarm for waking me up for another day of work I sang its praises because today is the start of my Euro Trip ’08. Overnight a storm had rolled into the Salt Lake valley and put some fresh snow up in the mountains; the snowline was almost down to the benches. What a drastic change I would be seeing in 24hrs; going from snow in the mountains to warm beaches in Sicily .

            The flight from SLC to Atlanta was non eventful, I was stuck next to a strange lady but lucky for me she did not talk. I amerced myself into the Bill Bryson book I picked up for this trip: ‘neither here nor there.’ I thoroughly enjoyed his ‘Notes from a Small island’ while I was over in the UK last fall. I am half way through this book so far and I must say Mr. Bryson has entertained me thus far on my trip. I checked to see if I could get an emergency row seat or aisle seat for the transatlantic flight. The flight was overbooked so I was out of luck. Now being one that is not vertically challenged nor horizontally challenged like most of my fine American counterparts who take the term “all you can eat” literally. I fell that if you are not over 6’0 you should NOT be allowed to sit in the emergency row and those 6’0 or over should have the choice of taking the aisle seat if they get to their seat only to find and escape midget from the circus seating in the aisle seat and they are relegated to sitting crammed next to the window.  

Thus I boarded my flight and to no surprise I found that ALL the emergency row seats were occupied by men that would smack their faces into the middle of my chest if I ran into them, and larger short women. I guess these people feel they need the extra room for all the crap they inevitably term as “carry on” items. Someone needs to explain to these people that those seats offer more leg room not more butt room.

I finally settled into my seat next to a dwarf of a man after running the gambit of older women with their too large for overhead storage carry on bags that need a professional wrestler to heave the bag into the overhead bin then wrestle it shut. For the next ten hours I would be crammed up next to the window, just as I was getting used to this fact the short girl in front of me put her seat all the way back into my lap; Ohh GREAT! After an hour or so of this she got up and I quickly pushed her seat back to the full upright position. Now if I remember correctly there is a guy out there that made a wedge device that keeps the chair in front of you from going all the way back. I quickly took a magazine and began to fashion together a crude wedge. Just in case this did not work I would keep my knees right up against the chair and not let it go back all the way. When she sat down she sure gave the seat a go, but my legs were not budging! After four to five hard attempts she gave up; this would turn into a cat and mouse game that would last the rest of the trip. I can never get really good rest/sleep on flights, just as I am starting to fade into a deep sleep someone makes a loud noise or the person behind me stands up using my chair to pull themselves up. I maybe got an hour of sleep on this flight, with a few cat naps here and there along the way over.

            Landing in Rome it is over cast humid and slightly raining. Now in Atlanta I checked with Delta if I needed to claim my checked bag since I was going to be flying domestic once I reached Rome . They said yes; one word that would lead me down a stress filled hour in Rome . I got to the bag claim carousel only to stand there for a good forty minutes wondering where my bag was. I headed up to the service desk and stood in line for another twenty minutes just to find out that my bag was just transferred over to my domestic flight to Palermo . WOW, that was a relief to find out! So now it was on to seeing if I could talk my way on to an earlier flight to meet up with Dave in Palermo . My original flight was scheduled to leave Rome around 17:30 , and get into Palermo around 18:40 . I was really not looking forward to wasting an entire day in the Rome airport; if I could not get an earlier flight I was considering jumping a cab to the city and take in a few sites. After talking with a few different ticket agents I was able to talk with a very nice Italian lady who took care of me and got me on the 13:15 flight which would put me into Palermo right before Dave gets there. So here I am in the Rome airport typing this up waiting for my flight to board. Next stop is Palermo and if all goes well I should see Dave in the airport. I will finish this off tonight, that is if I wake up once my head hits the pillow in Palermo . I am going to try to go out and walk around and not take a 5 hour nap once I get there.


            I arrived in Palermo and found Dave standing waiting for me in front of the gate my flight landed at. That was quite the relief; the only difficult part on this trip was the meeting up part. There were so many factors that just had to go right for us to be able to meet up on this day with no hitches. We then went down to get my bag and head off to find the bus. After standing around for a bit Dave found out that the international luggage was in another room near customs. I went in and grabbed my bag and walked right back out the same door I walked in; so much for going through customs. We found the bus to Palermo right out front of the airport. Driving through the congested city streets of Palermo was quite amazing in this big bus. It’s a miracle that we did not run over 50 scooters on the way to our destination. Dave and I had a short walk from Piazza Caselnuovo to our hotel. The room was great, looked right out over the harbor and the busy city street (Francesco Crispi) so we stood out on the balcony watching cruise ships come in and people nearly get killed on scooters down bellow us. After a short nap it was time to head out for some dinner. The meal was great, some home made pasta, swordfish and eggplant mixed together. After dinner we walked around Palermo for a bit. I wanted to test out my new camera at night. I still need to play around with the settings but so far I am very impressed with the pictures it takes. I took us down to Teatro Masimo; the 2nd largest indoor stage in all of Europe . The climatic scene in Godfather Part III was shot here. With a quarter moon hovering above the Teatro and all the columns lit up it was quite the sight.

It is time to call it a night here in Palermo …





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