A little Eden in a hectic city – Palermo’s Botanic gardens

In the busy city of Palermo the Orto Botanico provides a peaceful safe haven away from the seemingly never ending city chorus of motorbike engines, barking dogs, lusty italian voices and car horns. For €5 you can step into this garden of tranquility where lizards shoot out from underfoot and turtles laze in the midday sun, we even saw a couple of cats, undoubtedly taking refuge from the busy city and the dogs that roam the streets outside.

James, one of the lovely hotel guests and myself spent a couple of hours wandering around the gardens enjoying the shabby untamed greeness of the place. The gardens have a certain wildness about them. They aren’t overly manicured or pruned and while maybe the more discerning gardening aficionado would count this as a negative, I really liked that a lot of the plants were pretty much left to be wild.

Me & James taking in the tropical paradise


 I’d most definitely recommend a visit to the Botanical gardens if you’re spending a decent amount of time in Palermo. It’s not something that I would usually be interested in but I’m so glad I took the time to visit. With its range of plant life the gardens offer something for the avid horticulturalist down to the completely ungreenfingered like myself. Whether you’re interested in the bazillion different types of cactus spoiler: all prickly, want to see the gazillion different types of citrus fruits spoiler: mostly orange and lemony or if you just want to pose a million different ways hanging off of a hundred year old banyan tree and wander round chasing lizards and sniffing everything (guess which sounds most like me?) the Gardens are well worth a visit.

The excellent Bar Touring is also just across the street, we visited after to sample the Palermitan delicacy of brioche con gelato which is, as it sounds a brioche bread roll made into a delicious ice creamy sandwich. Absolutely delicious when all the ice creamy goodness melts and soaks into the bread.

If you’ve got an afternoon going spare pack yourself a good book, a carton of wine, grab a few arrancine from Bar Touring and make yourself comfortable in the Botanic Gardens. It’s the perfect place to escape the vigour of the city and relax in this green oasis. Just make sure you pack the mosquito repellant! Some areas of the park with rife with the little bloodsuckers!

This enormous banyan tree is the star of the gardens for me, seeming to jurassically take over the area around it.


Hello happy sunshine turtle friends


It’s been a while since I’ve done an update on the old finances. I’ve been thrifty as hell, eating in a lot, drinking cheap yet delicious wine, paying only for things I couldn’t bear to miss; entry into museums, the botanic gardens, the royal crypts and the occasional arrancine or gelato sandwich. I’ve also booked my flight out of Palermo, on Friday I’ll be leaving the stunning island of Sicily and heading on over to Marseilles. That was €49.
With the money I’ve earned through working at the hostel, food I’ve inherited from departing guests and bonuses from late check ins since my last update I’ve spent just €76 of my own cash. 

Which brings my current remaining total to €277

Which means that six weeks after leaving the UK with just €50 I’m doing pretty OK! I’m hoping to manage another 6 weeks so I’m either going to have to go even steadier with the cash or paint myself up as a mime and try and get some street corner stuck-in-a-glass-box style busking going on. There is going to be some family and friend mooching coming up soon . . . 


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