I had definitely overcome my little bout of seasickness last night on our way from Stromboli to Panarea. A good rest had cured all my symptoms and I was ready to tackle the world again. Panarea was waiting. Reminiscent of a little prairie dog I stuck my head out of our sailboat at about 8 am and I realized that we had another absolutely gorgeous day ahead of us. I was one of the earlier passengers up and decided to have a little bit of breakfast on the boat.
The Bay of Drauto where we had stayed overnight
Probably six or seven sailboats were anchored in this little cove just off the tiny island of Panarea, and a local fisherman was skippering back and forth between these boats, trying to sell some of his fresh catch. This would obviously be the Sicilian equivalent of a “traveling salesman”.
Looking back at the anchored sailboats
Sure enough he arrived at our boat as well and our captain Francesco had an animated friendly discussion with him. They both spoke Italian too fast for me to follow, but I gathered that we were not in need of fresh fish today. The fisherman flashed a bright smile and took off to try his luck at the next sailboat. Slowly but surely all our crew members came out of their cabins and made an appearance on deck on this beautiful day.
By 10 am we were ready to go on land, and in two trips Francesco packed us into his dingy and took us ashore. We arrived on a nice sandy beach called Drauto and hiked up past a local restaurant to a narrow road that was running halfway up the mountain along the eastern side of this tiny island. Panarea only has two villages: San Pietro with the main harbour, and Drauto. It also features excavations of a Neolithic village, just south of the bay where we landed. Many of the houses have beautiful gardens with tropical plants and colourful flowers. After about a 20 minute walk we had reached our next language learning locale: a local bar with an outdoor terrace where we would have our next Italian lesson. (An awesome concept…)
Another Italian lesson on the patio of a bar in Panarea
The bar was closed, and the owner came out to greet us. He had no problem with us sitting on his terrace to study Italian. We broke up into two groups, the beginner group with Lorenzo and Herbert was studying with our captain Francesco, while the three ladies, Claudia, Agnieszka and I were studying with Franco. We spent a good couple of hours studying and I was amazed that the beautiful surroundings with all the colourful flowers did not complete distract us.
Gorgeous flowers are everywhere
When our group was finished, we listened in a little bit on Lorenzo and Herbert’s lesson. Francesco, always good for a sly little joke, had created a language learning scenario where Herbert was a representative of a dating service, and Lorenzo was looking for a wife. The challenge for Lorenzo was to communicate in reasonable Italian what he was looking for in a wife while Herbert had to ask the appropriate questions to supply him with the right “merchandise”.
Bougainvillea in full bloom
Now, the irony is that Lorenzo is a Catholic priest, and some of the statements that came out of both of them were indeed hilarious. Fortunately, Lorenzo has a great sense of humour, played along great and had a lot of fun himself with this exercise. This is definitely not your standard, dry language learning experience.
Therch of Panarea with one of t chuhe rocky outliers behind
After our lesson we continued our walk on the narrow street, probably another twenty minutes or so into the town of Panarea, located on the eastern side of the island and offering a gorgeous view of Stromboli and of a couple of rock outliers called Basiluzzo and Dattilo located in the sea.
View from the harbour of Panarea