Thursday, December 17, 2009

Being tourists: Stromboli 30/07/09

We managed to get away for a couple of days to Stromboli Island, before the full on summer season begins in August. The brother-in-law very kindly looked after the bar for us.

As soon as you take the aliscafo, the hydrofoil down at the port, you feel like you are on holiday. Or even before, when you have granita, the slushed ice breakfast Sicilians so love in summer, or granite, at the bar by the port while you wait for the boat. The boat then stopped at sulphuric Volcano, and all those who got on on ponged abit from the mud baths, then on to more touristy Lipari, green Salina, posh Panarea and finally on to Stromboli. As soon as you get off the boat you feel the peace of the place. The huge perfect cone of the volcano looms in front of you against the bright blue sky. Our pensione was waiting to pick us up in their ape, the three wheel motorbike with tiny seats in the pick up truck it in the back. He whizzed down the narrow one way streets between gleaming white walls in the sunlight and hedges of pink bougainvillea and jasmine. We left our things and went down the windy roads to the beach we like best, a bay with a huge grotto or cave providing shade. From there you can swim to the next couple of bays along,the water was crystal clear and there are lovely views back up the hillside of volcanic rock and macchia mediteranea and an old white mill converted into a B&B. the black sand burned the soles of our feet. It was so refreshing to swim in the water, didn’t feel as hot as back on the mainland. We had an apertivo at a cool bar watchig the sun set with our Jamaican juleps and Buddha Bar music provided by the dj, and then back to our pensione to change and pick up a torch(no street lighting, electricity only reaches Stromboli via a generator).! We passed the house where Ingrid Bergman and Rossellini stayed when he made the film ‘Stromboli, terra di dio’, down the unlit streets. The moonlight reflects off the whitewashed walls, helping to keep you on path.

After a nice seafood meal, we head up to the piazza to Ingrid’s Bar for an icecream, watching the lights of the fishing boats bob up and down in the dark waters. For both of us it is a huge relief not to have to think about il locale. We let the magic of the island do its work. Total silence at night makes such a difference after the noise we are used to of stragglers leaving the bars at 4am and screeching off on their motorini. Also there is no rush hour traffic in the morning to wake us. We wake to the distant calls of the travelling fishmonger ‘pesce fresco!’ who travels from Salina to Stomboli every morning and loads up his ape with fresh fish of the night catch. A leisurely breakfast in the garden perfumed with the flowers and Mediterranean plants, and off we go for another day of Stromboli peace.


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