December 26, Boxing Day, is also a holiday in Sicily, so we made our plans for a walking tour to get to know the city a little before the museums and cathedrals reopened the next day.
We headed south past Teatro Massimo, east down Via Bara all'Olivella and popped into the Cuticchio Mimmo for a glance at the puppets. We passed the Museo Archeologico Regionale (more on that later) and went to the Chiesa di Sant'Antonio:
Remember the scowl? I think this is somehow related. Somehow, no matter where we go on vacation, Charles always gets a photo of me poring over the guidebook trying to figure out where we are and where we're headed.
We walked through the Vucciria neighborhood to the Piazza San Francesco d'Assisi and the Chiesa di San Francesco d'Assisi. The plaza was full of people attending a wedding, so we didn't take hardly any photos. (More photos of the piazza coming up on Day 9!)
Aldus liked looking around, too.
And just a few minutes after we took this photo, while he was happily nursing on a park bench, he had a massive diaper blow-out. And so we add the Giardino Garibaldi to the list of interesting places Aldus has been BUCK NAKED.
We left the gardens and continued our walk through La Kalsa, a neighborhood with a historic mix of Arab and Jewish residents:
On the prowl for food, we picked up an assortment of goodies from an Indian take-away counter. In a way it was too bad that it was mostly sweets that we picked up and not as much actual lunch-type nibblies, but it was tasty nonetheless. And only TWO EUROS!
We wandered on to Piazza Bellini for our first glimpse of La Martorana (below) and the Chiesa di San Cataldo.
Across from the churches was the Fontana Pretoria with its naked figures, lounging about more than cavorting, but scandalized nonetheless by the nearby churchgoers and dubbed the "Fountain of Shame."
Too bad for us that it was under construction and there was no water in the fountain. But lucky for you, dear readers, that you don't have to put up with more photos from us playing around with shutter speed on the camera!
Ever in need of a clean lavatory, if not a break, a drink or a quiet place to nurse, we found a fantastic patio bar in the hotel Grande Albergo Sole. The views of the fountain, Chiesa di Santa Caterina, Quattro Canti and city in general were great.
Above is the view we had of the Quattro Canti, the "Four Corners" and center point of the city where Via Maqueda and Corso Vittorio Emanuele meet. After a rest, some nibblies and a prosecco, we went down and took a closer look.
Dinner that night was at a place near the hotel called Trattoria Biondo where we were sat in a room with a couple of Japanese tourists one one side of us and a single guy, also Japanese, on the other. Because of the tight quarters, Aldus sat in his stroller staring directly at the single guy through his entire dinner. We were glad he was more amused than perturbed, and Charles even caught him trying to sneak a photo of Aldus under the guise of reviewing the photos on his camera. I guess it wasn't just the Sicilians who were charmed by him.