Taking part in a Y-OURSELF tour is like no other you will experience. Initially it all appears to be the same as any other, but within a couple of hours or even less, it starts to change. Yes, you are booked into a excellent hotel and given superb customer service, but they appear to want to know you as much as they want you to know them and their city.
Then the schedule starts to change to what I want to get out of the visit. So in my case, instead of seeing the famous landmarks and attractions of Palermo, Sicily, we were visiting an artisan district. On route and throughout the visit, the famous places in the city were scene and visited if required, but the rest of the time, I was seeing places, venues and people other tourists would not. It was like being a real Sicilian for 3 days?
Street markets, food, drink, traditional crafts, art, history and culture, but not read from a script or book, actually talking to experts on the subjects. Visiting lesser known tourist gems, eating shellfish spaghetti in a restaurant were they grew up and chilling on a beach to relax with local beer and treats, as that is what they do and I wanted to experience too.
A visit to the street markets was a must for me and it did not disappoint; 2 metre long fresh sword fish being cut into steaks, tables of colourful vegetables, all bigger than I have ever seen, street food smelling so good and so many cheap things to buy too. It is an awakening of the senses!!
I left with a heavy heart, but knowing that I had got absolutely everything I wanted from my visit and this is because they got to know me and gave me exactly what they knew I wanted. I also knew I would return and they were right.
A well known expression is ‘ You cannot really know someone else, until you know YOURSELF’ and this is true. I left Sicily knowing it better, knowing the people I had met better, but more importantly knowing me better!