We waited amidst the cars and trucks to board the ferry. Some of the freight being loaded on was amazing, these guys have some incredible skills to be able to pack it all so tight.
The ferry left around seven, and shortly after that we wanted to sleep, but we could find nowhere to lay down- we'd bought the cheap deck tickets... Despite, Shanna fell asleep in the lounge, but was soon woken up by one of the ship's staff, telling her 'you'a cannotta sleepa herea.'
About this time the world cup semi final started, and the ship and its temporary inhabitants suddenly roared into life, Italian, German or Spanish, united yet separated by a common cause. Concurrently, for those not interested in football, or more interested in other things, the disco/cabaret began, the ship ablaze with a heady concoction of sounds and smells, cheers and cries, swooning and singing, and a strong aroma of sea spray and alcohol.
Around midnight we finally nodded off in a remote corner of the upper deck were we'd found a place to put our sleeping mats. Quickly we fell asleep with only the roar of the ocean winds in our ears.
Loud speakers and people brought the ship back to life at 5am, bloodshot eyes opening through a haze of exhaustion to see the sun rising across sparkling waters. The cigarettes were produced just as the city came into view.
As the wind blew across the whitewashed 'pont', the fresh ocean breeze filled our noses with the scent of Sicily whilst we what this city, reportedly run by the mafioso, would have in store for us.
We'll keep what we saw in Sicily for another time, but just tell you that we came into contact with the mafia, a nervous shop keeper, some delicious food, the intoxicating smell of markets, fresh fruits, meats and fish, and saw a city teaming with life; paradox, and men and boys, crowding the streets of Palermo's bustling metropolis, a city striving towards modernisation amidst an old world of decay.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia