I’ve complained endlessly about the craptacular qualities of Italian public transportation, but what we experienced in Sicily might win above all. If one wants to go to Monreale from Palermo–which trust me one WANTS to do–the conventional wisdom is to take a bus. Super, great. Take a bus. But the bus we took didn’t take us up to Monreale, rather it dropped us and all the other tourists who clearly had the same aim, about halfway up the GIANT hill upon which Monreale sits at the top. The driver told us to walk up a ways and wait at another bus stop for another bus. Ha. Oh ha ha. So, we walk up to the next bus stop (and saw lovely watermelons and snails for sale on the way) to find that a bus may or may not come in roughly 45 minutes maybe. HA. Walking was out of the question, as it was still a few kilometers straight up to Monreale itself and of course there was no sidewalk.
But then a taxi stopped, or maybe it was just an opportunistic Palermitano, and offered us a ride for only 5euro for the four of us (me, my dear companion and two acquaintances from Rome that we happened to meet in the Palatine Chapel). The decision was obvious, so we arrived quickly at Monreale, a little paradise up above Palermo where you get to see this:
Not bad Monreale, not bad. The mosaics at the Cathedral of Monreale are stunning, and the views from the edge of the town are lovely (though unfortunately I couldn’t take any photos), totally, totally worth the hassle of getting up there. But we had certainly wised up after our ridiculous arrival journey, we took a taxi back down the whole way to Palermo and I would suggest you do too. Even if you’re traveling on a budget, there are somethings that are absolutely worth it and taking a taxi to and from Monreale is definitely one of them.