Aeolian Islands: Lipari and Vulcano
We drive north from Taormina along the coast toward Messina, where the mainland of Italy is what seems like a stone's throw away. A proposal to build a bridge has been in the works for years, but the bridge never gets started for one reason or another. Continuing around the top corner of the island we arrive at the port of Milazzo. We have a few minutes to wander in the town before boarding a ferry for our day of sightseeing in the Aeolian Islands.
Off in the distance we see the Islands, most shaped like volcanic cones jutting out of the ocean. The most dramatic is Stromboli. Its fiery eruptions were captured in the film of the same name starring Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman, and the eruptions continue to this day as it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
The first island we visit is Lipari. Our guide takes us on a walking tour of the hilltop fortress above Lipari Town. The fortress contains a church dedicated to St. Bartholomew, with a silver statue of him prominently displayed. We enjoy free time to wander in the town and grab a bite to eat for lunch before heading out again on the hydrofoil to the island of Vulcano.
Near the port where we land is a large natural mud bath with water heated by the island's thermal activity. It has quite a few people, but none of our group takes the plunge. We hang out for a while waiting for our guide to see about booking us an earlier ferry back since our original plans will make us arrive late at the hotel. I buy a round of drinks.
We are successful in advancing the time of departure, so several of us race to a nearby black-sand beach with fantastic views of the neighboring Aeolian Islands. It feels like a scene from the Lost World.
Our return trip is on a very comfortable catamaran, and we get back to the hotel sometime after six. I join a group going up to Taormina for dinner tonight, except I peel off and take my laptop to an internet café. There is no wireless service anywhere at the beach level, and I have work to do on the awards. My dinner is a ham and cheese sandwich and a cappuccino at the "Las Vegas" internet café. I'm able to catch the free shuttle back to the hotel at 10:45pm.