After breakfast we walk out of our hotel and into the embrace of mountains, sea, and sky. On the edge of Palermo, we travel up the side of Monreale and a lovely valley spreads out below. The twelfth-century cathedral is stunning, full of masterful gold mosaics and baroque ornamentation. We take many photographs, not forgetting to actually pause and enjoy the splendor that surrounds us. For a moment, we sit in a small chapel, refreshed by the quiet. We purchase a tiny Tau cross, then descend to the parking lot below. At a little stand, a smiling woman offers us fresh squeezed orange juice, pulpy and rich. I think how Nana would have loved it. I think how she must have missed the fresh fruit that grows everywhere around us. Gold mosaics and sculptures had just captured my spirit, but this fresh juice is probably the high point of my day. Back into the city, we visit the Cathedral of Palermo with its fusion of Norman and Arabic styles. Fascinating, this blend of cultural expression. Next we are eager to get to the sprawling Capo market and we are not disappointed. The market covers many city blocks and we first encounter abundant displays of fresh fruits, vegetables, peppers, and most anything one could imagine. I posed with a lemon for a photo in memory of Nana; I took shots of the lush vegetables. Then I bought a pair of sandals for 5 euro and a stretchy black tank for 4! Tonight we dine at a small local restaurant–Cibus. Wonderful Sicilian food, lovingly prepared. Lunetta with Porcini mushrooms. My first taste of cassata, the luscious Sicilian cake. We share samples with each other. Wine bottles and cartons line the walls, creating a casual atmosphere, yet a fine cotton cloth covers the table and a beautiful damask napkin lies in my lap.
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