Picturesque Panarea and a Feast in Lipari
By this time we were hungry and we sat down on the outdoor terrace of restaurant / hotel. Later on we realized that the sign above the hotel read “Best Western”. It was a rather strange sight to see this American hotel chain sign in this tiny little village on an island north of Sicily. I strengthened myself with a prosciutto and cheese panino while my colleagues had various types of pasta and salads. With lunch completed I was ready to embark on a photo safari of Panarea, said goodbye to the group who still wanted to relax and headed off into the northern part of town.
Whitewashed houses, almost like in Greece
To me Panarea is probably one of the more scenic islands, after Lipari. Many of the houses have a cubic shape and are whitewashed. In many ways it reminded me of images of the Greek island of Santorini. Pink, red and purple bougainvilleas are growing all over the place, colourful subtropical flowers and plants adorn the brilliant white walls surrounding the houses. Everything is extremely clean, tidy and well-kept. Panarea incidentally is one of the more expensive of the Eolian Islands, and a simple pasta dish will set you back about 12 to 15 Euros at lunch.
Stromboli can be seen in the distance on the left
I walked all the way towards the end of the road which led me up onto a promontory with a small pine forest and many rocky outcrops. I sat down for a bit and admired the majestic view from this little spot. The sky was a bright blue, while the sea was sparkling in a deeper shade of the same colour. Stromboli was visible in the distance, and the rocky outcrops of Basiluzzo and Dattilo were gleaming not far off shore. A view like this has to be absorbed and enjoyed.
Two rock outliers, Basiluzzo and Dattilo
Since we had to be back in the bay where we had landed I started to make my way back and it took me a good 40 minutes to reach our embarkation point. Francesco was already waiting for us back on the boat and within minutes was ready to get us with his dingy and we departed from Panarea. A good three hours later we landed again in the harbour of Lipari where we had already spent our first night on board.
Panarea – a photographer’s dream
Some of our group headed into town at about 7:30 pm and Claudia, Lorenzo and I found an Internet café to get back in touch with our friends and family back home. I also needed stamps for some postcards, so Lorenzo and I headed into a local tobacconist’s shop where I had an interesting experience.
Gorgeous views of the Tyrrhenian Sea
I asked the shopkeeper for a receipt and he responded I would need to write out a receipt myself and he would give me a stamp on it. When I politely asked him for a piece of paper, he said there will be no receipt at all and abruptly turned to the next customer. He had no intentions of dealing with me again due to this rather outrageous request for a receipt, I guess.
Lorenzo came to my aid and along with his own four stamps, he purchased eight stamps on my behalf and I reimbursed him for it. The shopkeeper had no problem with selling Lorenzo 12 stamps, but he absolutely refused to deal with my request for a receipt. I would say this has been my first unpleasant service experience in Sicily, and although I found it quite strange, I decided it wasn’t going to affect this nice evening.
An hour later we all met to head to dinner together. We walked through the cobble-stoned streets up to the fortified hill of Lipari where we found a restaurant called “Da Fillippino” where all of my co-travellers had a multicourse meal consisting of various types of seafood, fish, pasta and dessert on the outside terrace. Herbert, the TV travel journalist, entertained and educated us with his extremely extensive knowledge of wine, fish and other culinary delicacies.
Everything is in bloom
By 11:30 pm the restaurant had gotten pretty empty and we started our 40 minute walk back to the boat. I briefly downloaded the photos of the day and hit the sack, ready for our explorations tomorrow on the island of Vulcano!