On Tuesday the view at breakfast was even more magical. The colour of the distant sea perfectly matched the blue hue of the sky, and boats and islands alike appeared to hover strangely in the air.
After our fruit salad, cappuccino and salmon on toast, we left the hotel early, eager to explore the island a little more. Our aim was to reach the top of Vulcanello, a small volcano to the north. The hot roads that lacked a sea breeze were lined with those characteristic red Sicilian flowers, planted but gorgeous nonetheless. Going East we searched for a walk up to the volcano crater, but every entrance seemed private. We took a short detour through the dry woodland and along a dirt path, hopeful, but as it turned south, and eventually stopped exactly nowhere, we gave up the expedition.
Finding the main road again, and continuing East, we avoided town and discovered a sailboat marina, (“marina di vulcanello”). The trees and land opened up to a quiet bay with unobstructed views of ‘the Vulcano volcano’. From the end of the jetty we sat and watched the hydrofoils come in, and the sailboats gently go out, while the sulphur rose up behind them.
We also found Vulcano Blu, another resort, and at the end another view North, with grand views of Lipari, Panarea and Stromboli. The latter of which only visible at the time by a characteristic white puff of smoke escaping its peak. Being next to a resort we had the good fortune of stumbling on a pool and bar, in a place which would otherwise be the middle of nowhere. Sat by the pool, listening to a CD blast out Madonna’s “Ray of light”, and The Lighthouse Family, we recuperated with a panini and salad, washed down with cold iced tea and a guilty coke.
On the walk home we found a lost German tourist. She was elderly, looked very hot and couldn’t speak a word of English. We couldn’t make out what she wanted, or where she was going; Sam’s broken German gave us the odd clue. Without anything around for miles, and in the heat, we led her to our hotel where a German speaker could undoubtedly help. En-route we flagged down a car, and the driver, one of the friendly hotel receptionists we knew came to the rescue — she drove us back and, after conversing in German, explained that the lady wanted to get a boat from the main port but was desperately lost. At the hotel our German friend thanked us and cooled down in the bar before taking the complementary shuttle bus to town. With our Good Samaritan task complete, we relaxed by our pool until dinner.
Once again the day came to an end, and the sun set perfectly into the sea. This time we came ready, and with tripod setup we endeavoured to capture something beautiful. Silhouettes, long exposures, pool reflections, sea reflections, funny dances in front of the camera, we had a lot of fun, though that perfect shot, that one that might capture the essence and beauty of the moment, it eluded us.
At 9pm, when the sun was gone, we found our table at Il Cappero, the Michelin recommended posh restaurant, from which we ordered the seven course tasting menu. Our table looked out at the islands, and as the night drew on the silhouettes of each island disappeared, until, in the dark, we could make out only the shape of Lipari, marked by the hue of a town out of sight. Below us the Octopus fishermen were out in there one-man boats, trawling up and down the channel, leaving their nets with a flashing light.
Our meal was delightful. From the lobster served in cappuccino, an inspired idea, to risotto served from a scolding basalt rock, it was all quite delicious. Right up to the small pistachio dessert, which was actually a large pistachio dessert and not to Sam’s fancy; our host was mortified and quickly provided an alternative, ‘the essence of cannoli’, lovely chocolate cream and biscuit. I joked with Sam about all the possible foods they might bring out as a replacement, desserts Sam also wouldn’t like: raisins, sultanas, cinnamon, liquorice — the list goes on, that inconvenience was spared us.
We retired for the night, but not before a quick perch by the nighttime pool, to watch the stars, the boats and the bats, which flew down in front of us to drink the pool water.