A Driving Tour of Salina, Il Postino and Language Lessons

We appreciated this little roadside snack, thanked Sabina’s dad and continued our journey towards the next town on this island: Malfa, a small fisherman’s town. Along the way we stopped to admire the malvasia vineyards as well as patches of capers which are big export products for the island of Salina.

The Church of San Lorenzo in Malfa

Malfa features a big church dedicated to San Lorenzo and incidentally was the hometown of our shipmate Lorenzo’s grandparents and a place that he was going to spend some time in. Sabina took us down to the fishing harbour and then back up the hill to a lookout point called the “semaforo”, a surveillance tower erected in the early 20th century which was also used during the Second World War. Sabina mentioned that UNESCO offered to buy this tower, but the local town turned down the offer. Today it is abandoned and blocked off.

The Semaforo surveillance tower

Sabina stopped the vehicle and we walked out onto a lookout point which provided a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean with a great view of the island of Filicudi – the “reclining pregrant woman”, so called because of its shape, featuring a head and what looks like a big belly, protruding from the sea. To our left was a deeply indented valley which Sabina explained is an ancient volcanic crater, half of which has broken off and disappeared in the sea. Today it is the location for the village of Pollara which has one main tourist attraction: the house where the movie “Il Postino” was filmed.

The house where “Il Postino” was filmed

Of course we needed to check this out so we drove down some narrow winding roads, parked the car and walked up a short stretch on a dusty road to see a rather unremarkable simple and small pink-coloured house with some vines, which is one of the most famous locations on the island. Seen from outside, there was nothing spectacular about this house, and Sabina indicated that it is available for short-term rentals.

View of Pollara, a former volcanic crater

The weather was starting to clear up and the view from the northern tip of Salina was gorgeous. The distances on this island are tiny, but due to the narrow and winding road it definitely takes a while to get around. By 1 pm we were back at our boat and had a briefing with our captain: Francesco indicated that due to the weather forecast we were not going to sail today. So we had a comfortable on board lunch and I then headed into Santa Marina to walk around and make some phone calls back to Canada. Unfortunately the Internet café was closed since it was siesta time, which often lasts from about 1 or 1:30 pm to 4 or 4:30 pm. In Sicily you definitely need to time your shopping experiences carefully to make sure the shops are open.

An Italian lesson on the patio of a bar in Santa Marina di Salina – awesome!

From 4:30 to 6:30 pm Claudia, Agnieszka and I had our first Italian language lesson, provided by Franco on the outdoor terrace of a local bar. Now here is a concept: language learning on the terrace of a bar – I definitely like it. It made the somewhat painful exercises dealing with the complexities of the Italian “congiuntivo” (the subjunctive) much more palatable. I have studied a lot of languages with different language schools, and Laboratorio Linguistico has definitely created a very unique language learning concept here.

Dinner on board – we are living like kings…

After our intense lesson I took another stroll around Salina and this time the Internet café was open. So far I have found fairly good public Internet access in different parts of Sicily, and it’s always great to be able to connect with home. Our boat crew spent a quiet evening on board, we fixed up a lovely home-cooked dinner with potatoes, salad, sweet carrots, cheese and various sweets for dessert. Some of my travel partners played cards while I organized my photos on the laptop which was conveniently hooked up to the electricity supply provided by the harbour commission in Santa Marina di Salina.

It was nice to have a day of rest in Santa Marina, but I am definitely looking forward to exploring a new island tomorrow: Stromboli!

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