Thanks to a very generous donation from fellow touring cyclist we've been corresponding with, Fred Bouwman, we booked a hotel room in Palermo during our trip's worst free-camp last night. We were both giddy about the prospect of not stealth camping until our ferry arrived on Saturday. Seriously, thank you so much Fred. Your donation helped give our horrible night just the silver lining we needed to stay in good spirits!
As we finished packing to leave this morning, a racing cyclist pulled off the road, stopping abruptly next to us and immediately asking where we were from. The ensuing conversation further helped to improve our frazzled nerves; we all had a good laugh when our new friend Jack tried to lift my anvil of a bicycle. While he was staring, completely agog at our rolling homes, I lifted his ultra-light racing bike jealously with one hand.
A 35 quick kilometers took us into colorful, bustling Palermo. We arrived without a hitch at Hotel Joli in the center of town. We were shocked at how beautiful the hotel was for being so reasonably priced—elaborate chandeliers, fancy paintings, and ornate frescoes decorated the lobby.
Since we arrived around 10AM, well before check-in, we hung out at a coffee/pastry shop right across the street from our hotel. Some pizzas and cannoli helped us while away the time before our room was ready. A few hours later when our room was all set to go, we took turns taking very hot showers, closed the curtains and laughed at the rain that had begun outside. By the time we went to bed, our terrible experience last night already seemed like a distant memory.