Saturday, December 26, 2009

Being tourists: on Salina 13/09/09

We got away for a couple of days to Salina, thank God, after the mayhem of the last non-stop month. It is the third Aeolian island you get to on the boat, behind Vulcano and Lipari,distinctive because of its two huge volcano humps, like a camel.

Salina was full of space and colourful beautiful flowers, mountain smells and shade from the two mountains, wonderful to drive round them on the scooter. Also cooler here, there was even a bit of cloud when we walked up the fern mountain, ‘monte dei Felci’. Winding awkward cliff paths down to the rocky beaches – you had to rent out big lilos to sit on over the volcanic rock, but the sea was so calm you could just lie on them in the sea. Stromboli is still more magical for me. But Salina is lovely for the space and colour and the amount of greenery and sprays of bougainvillea and jasmin and other bright Mediterranean flowers. We had the fabulous Sicilian speciality at the famous restaurant by the sea - da Alfreddo - the pane cunzato (condito in Itaian) - 'dressed' or 'garnished' bread ... basically a hge pizza-like hunk of break, flavioured with salt, origano and tomates, and the topped wth whatever you fancied from te menu, going from lighter versions like tomato and mozzarella, to tasty little anchovies and baked ricotta ... We had to have some lemon granita after in order to get up from the table ...! Clear views of nearby Lipari rising ou of the sea.

Returning from our aperitivo (the refreshing spritz – campari and prosecco, plus olives, sundried tomatoes and nuts) at a cute white bar on the cliff overlooking the sea and the sunset we ran into the Rex Sicilia lot. The captain invited us on to the fabulous wooden schooner and showed us around. Everything was made of dark polished wood, down to the fabulous wheel of the helm, but it had the top technology, as he showed us on the electronic maps and charts. He told us more about the terrible boat accident a few weeks ago; two boats foundered on some rocks, the first a dingy, and the second a caique (light mediterranean fishing boat) which tried to rescue them. Half of the family died; the other children were asleep on another boat. He said they were probably on cocaine and alcohol and had been stupid to go there by night, as it happened at a point called ‘le tre pietre’ three huge rocks jutting out close to the island of Lipari, clear to be seen on any updated map. The water is to shallow to even go close there anyway, he said. Very very sad.


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