Thursday, May 15, 2008

Viva Italia!

Day 63
Before I had fallen asleep I met an American girl named Lisa. She was interested as I was by the Museu de la Xocolata. My guidebook promised free tastings. As chocolate and free are two of my favorite words it seemed like it would be perfect for me.
We went the long way to the museum, my fault. I didn't have a map and was just doing it from memory.

When we arrived I simply assumed that the tastings would be at the end and did my best to concentrate on the museum. Did you know that the Aztecs used cacao beans as currency? A hooker cost the same amount as a goat. Most of the displays were on how the cacao bean is refined into chocolate as we know it. This was all very familiar to me because I've been on the chocolate tour about a million times at Hershey Park.

What stood out were the chocolate sculptures. Some of them were a bit shabby looking, definitely passed their expiration date. What was odd is that very few of the sculptures had dates on them. I would have liked to know how long some of them have been there. There was a white chocolate gorilla, a Roman with his chariot, and a colorful king and queen. Some of the sculptures depicted famous Barcelona monuments, including Gaudi Park, and a bull fight. Another room had what I could only assume were newer sculptures. These were not behind glass and had some recent movies and even a soccer pitch.

At the end of the tour I was disappointed to see that there wasn't any chocolate to taste, just expensive bars to buy. Let's Go, why have you forsaken me? Lisa moved on to visit Sagrada Familia and I spent a rushed hour in an internet cafe. I spent just a bit too long there and had to practically run back to the hostel to pick up my things and then run to the bus station to catch my bus to the Girona airport.

Once I had checked in I looked around as if I had never been there before. The problem was that I have been there before, I took a three day trip to Barcelona from London about 5 years ago. My lack of memory made me feel like I needed to write with more detail in my journal, I don't want to forget anything this time around!

My flight to Trapani, Italy was without incident. Or I had thought so anyway, I slept through most of it. When the plane touched down most of the people started to clap. Now, where I come from, this really only happens after a really bumpy flight or landing. I thought it was odd, although, later I learned that it was something you get on just about any plane coming into Sicily.
While waiting for the bus I met a guy named Marco. He got the bus driver to let me off right at the end of the street that I needed. Marco was there to visit his parents who lived close to Palermo. Due to the odd bus times he had missed the last one and was a bit frantic in making phone calls to find a hotel. I had given him the number for mine, but they were full. He lucked out and by the time the bus had arrived found a place close to where I was staying. Marco also asked if I would like to join him for dinner.

When the guy from the hotel met me (apparently its not covered 24 hours a day) he told me that there was some sort of problem and that I would actually be staying at a hotel around the corner. The place he brought me to seemed more like an apartment than a hotel. There was a living, dining room and a kitchen. The only room I actually saw was the huge and very clean one that I was staying in. After all of the hostels in Spain it was nice to have my own space for the night, and it was definitely worth the $30 I paid for it.

I met Marco some time later at a place just around the corner that had typical Sicilian food. I picked his brain about the places that I should visit while I was here, as well as what to do in Milan, where he was currently living. I also told Marco about my trip. When the bill came he unexpectedly and very kindly insisted on picking up the check. I thanked him and promised him that he would get a mention in my blog.

It was quite late by the time we had finished dinner and we each went our separate ways. I promised to send him an email when I get to Milan, suggesting that we could get a drink there.

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