March 13, 2017: San Giuseppe Jato

Monday morning.  We started our day in our apartment in Palermo this morning, but today is our big exciting trip to Dominica’s family’s home village of San Giuseppe Jato to the south of Palermo.  This is the real reason that we are in Palermo in the first place.  The village is thirty one kilometers from the center of Palermo into the mountainous hinterland.

So our morning started off with us walking to the main train station and attempting to get bus tickets.  This went horribly.  We went all over trying to find the right buses and trying to buy tickets.  It was incredibly stressful and reminded us of our issues getting a bus in northern Italy at Asti five years ago.  We spent easily an hour or two trying to figure this out and, of course, there was no official place to buy tickets nor was there anyone, anywhere that spoke English.  Dealing with crazy directions in Italian by people who were really busy was not easy.  And to try to find tickets, we got separated with Dominica and Luciana going to one area to seek tickets and Liesl and I going to another and then finally getting tickets but missing a  bus because we were not all together.

After a long morning, we finally got the bus tickets figured out, we think.  In the end we had to buy tickets from a random guy standing on the street.  Then we had to take a city bus way out into the middle of nowhere to get another bus.  This was not easy to do and everyone was tired and cranky by the time we just had the tickets in hand.

So when we finally got onto the city bus I was distracted and tired and Luciana could not handle walking anywhere on her own so was making me carry her which, in turn, had her one food kicking at my wallet quite and lot and the combination of factors made me not notice when a pretty obvious pickpocket on the bus picked my pocket and got my wallet.  He wasn’t even very good, but I was so busy dealing with Luciana on the busy bus that I did not put two and two together.  Had I not been carrying her, there is no way I would not have had my hand on my wallet nor would I have let the guy push into me like he did.  I was just an idiot.

Thankfully a minute later someone on the bus said “sir, is this your wallet”, but in Italian of course, and we realized what had happened.  Dominica then realized she had even seen the guy walk to the back of the bus and throw the wallet back in, but she had not understood what he was doing until she saw me recovering the wallet.

Nothing was taken except for the cash.  I lost about thirty Euros, nothing else, except my pride, of course.  Palermo is famous for its pick pockets so at least I got the authentic Palermo experience out of it and only lost thirty Euros.  It could have been so much worse.  I had been out looking for an ATM this morning, too, but had not found one so did not have the three hundred Euros in my wallet that I easily might have had.

So really, we were no worse for wear as we rode the city bus to our odd stop out in the middle of nowhere.  I knew the bus route pretty well that we took today as it was all a stretch of the city that I had walked yesterday!

Once out to the second bus station in the middle of nowhere we just sat for a long while waiting for our bus.  While sitting out there we had little to do but to just wait.  I found a Lyra sitting in the weeds by some concrete steps.  That was pretty cool.  I’ve never seen one in person.

Once the bus came we had a nice ride down the north west side of the mountains going south west from Palermo through Monreale.  The ride was pretty rough for Dominica and both of the girls fell asleep.  I got to enjoy it, though.  It is a gorgeous area.  We really liked getting to discover this tourist-free part of the Palermo metro.

It was a really cool area and took maybe something like an hour to get out to San Giuseppe Jato which is really the first village outside of Palermo that is not directly connected to the city itself.

We got to the village and spent the day walking all over trying to explore.  There was almost nothing open and finding even a place to eat was pretty hard.  We arrived at a pretty tough time so not many places with food were open and, of course, not being a tourist town there was nothing to do but wander around town looking at it.  It is a cute little town and we liked it a lot.  But we saw basically no people.

We spent a few hours in town and got a feel for the place.  Living here would be nice. It’s quiet and quaint but close to the city and bus accessible.  We found a nice place for lunch and ate there being the only people in the place as we were so late for lunch.  It was nice, though.

We walked most of town, it is a long and narrow village on a hill side.  Catching the bus back home was a bit of an adventure as there was no marked bus stop anywhere in town and no one had any idea where it was supposed to be and the bus that dropped us off had not told us anything and we had been dropped off on a one way street so there wasn’t any hope of getting picked up at that same place since that wasn’t possible.

We did as much walking searching for the bus stop as we did all day around town.  We finally decided that we did not have any confidence in where it would get us so we walked up a hill to a grocery store and went in and spoke with them, in Italian, about where it would be.  No one was even completely sure!

We found a monument in the middle of town that seemed to meet their description and we waited there for quite a while and, we got lucky, and caught the bus back!  A bit hectic, but it worked.

It was a nice, but twisty, ride back.  I enjoyed it a lot, the girls slept again and, of course, Dominica was a bit sick.  We got back to the main bus station, took the city bus back to our apartment area and then set out to find dinner, which we did at a nice little local pasta place that was absolutely just the locals eating there.

Dinner was amazing.  This is one of those “real Palermo restaurants” that the locals walk to.  It was so cheap and so amazing.  This is why it might be worth living in Palermo!  We would eat at places like this every day.  I had the best Sambuca, too.