If you are a five-star all-inclusive chain-hotel by the beach kind of person, or, like an American tourist visiting the area the other day and holding her nose all the way through her tour (!), might find the smell of an authentic medieval fish-market in 35 C offensive this is not the place for you!
My husband and I, and even our 8-year and 5-year old daughters, are fairly well-travelled, have lived in different countries, including the Middle East, and my husband even in India, but nothing prepared us for arriving to the heart of the old Arab medina (city) of Palermo late on a Friday night.. After a long drive through deserted, ever more narrowing streets with crumbling buildings and boarded-up windows, we arrived at our destination: an area with even narrower streets, lined with piles of rotting vegetables, wooden crates and rubbish of all descriptions, inhabited only by two mangy dogs and a couple of lads cooling on the steps of a dilapidated church. The taxi driver and my husband found the apartment after half an hour of running around and getting in and out of the car, at which point both of our daughters were in tears, thus stopping the driver from leaving us to wait for our landlady alone with our bags piled up on the street in front of the nearby court-house, for safety, as he put it (in Italian for he and most Sicilians speak little English so my husband's rusty Italian was quickly brushed up!) But, as my youngest said, it all seemed so much better in the morning!