Sunday, June 11, 2017

6/10 & 11 -- On to Sicily & White Hair Advantage???

We flew out on KLM to start our trek to Sicily on Saturday afternoon. We had noted that our boarding passes, printed at home, did not say TSA Pre, even though we had paid for that clearance. At the airport, we asked KLM staff and they said neither KLM or Air France had decided to participate in the program, so we were out of luck, despite our official enrollment. TSA staff confirmed that TSA Pre needed to be printed on our boarding passes and our known traveler ids didn't help. So I was pretty bummed. It is so much easier to not have to remove shoes, jackets, toilettries, and electronics and to go thru the metal detector instead of the scanner! Fortunately, the normal line was so fast, I didn't have time for any prep before we were being waved on into the metal detector -- I asked about shoes and  jacket, and the agent said they were ok, and after I got through, I realized Jim had not been asked to remove the liquids and computer from his bag either -- just like Pre! And it got me to wondering if my now silver hair makes us look 75 or older,  which is the age clip level for an easier path through security. If so, it is the first notable advantage of going natural!

Our plane left San Francisco about 25 minutes late, but we had such a great tailwind, that we got to Amsterdam almost 30 minutes early. We tracked our speed as being in the high 600s and low 700s for most of the trip.  It took 2 plane changes to get to Palermo and we were really lucky that the tightest time for a change was to a flight literally across the aisle from where we came in.

We got to our B&B before 5pm on Sunday (9 hours ahead of San Francisco) and discovered that it was not a stand-alone establishment but self-contained on the 3rd floor of a 5-6 floor pallazo. Lucky we are used to steps! After a couple hours to regroup, we wandered out to find our hotel for tomorrow (we flew in a day early because our original flights had us missing most of the first day's events and the OAT hotel was totally booked) and look for dinner.

On the way out, we met a group of four coming in, one of whom was wearing a Green Bay Packer hat, so of course, I complimented him on it. Like the rest of the Mediterranean, Sicilians are inclined to think of 9pm as the start of dinner, but we found a little place with charming people and good cheap food and wine -- 6 Euros for a half liter of a credible red wine and 20 Euros total for dinner plus tip. Maybe we won't bread the bank on food here!

The city inself is a blend of old and new and we are staying in the old center. Tomorrow we will get to learn more about what we were looking at today!
Typical Palermo Street. This is Via Vittorio, one of the main
thoroughfares in the old part of the city.

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