Day 21: A Lazy Day, and That’s Okay

Today we woke up with no plans, no inkling of any plans, and divergent ideas of what we were thinking in terms of plans.  That’s not entirely true; our one unified plan did include arranging to stay another night because neither of us wanted to leave.

Panarea & Stromboli in the distance.  Seriously, how many shades of blue ARE there?

Panarea & Stromboli in the distance. Seriously, how many shades of blue ARE there?

I was interested in taking a boat tour that included swimming off the VIP, fancy-pants island of Panarea followed by a several-hour visit to the island of Stromboli.  Stromboli is home to a giant, active volcano and the fire-lava-splashing show at the top is supposed to be pretty spectacular at night.  The trouble with this tour was it left at noon but didn’t get back until 22:30 due to a main component being “seeing Stromboli at night.”  And there was nothing I could do to make it get darker earlier to sweeten the pot for Jim, who had little interest in going on a 10 ½ hour tour.

Jim, on the other hand, was more interested in staying on Lipari and going to one of the beaches Luciano and Natalie had recommended.  There were no two ways about it, we needed at least another week here.  Trouble was, this was our last free, seat-of-our-pants day before we had to be in Palermo to return the rental car.

Our private beach

Our private beach from above

In the end, we decided to make it a “get to know Lipari better” day.  As such, we hopped on the little public bus (€1.30/each, one way) and headed north to the small town of Canneto.  Our aim was Spiaggia Bianca (the pebbly White Beach), and Luciano and Natalie had given us instructions on how to find the non-descript, non-intuitive, and somewhat hidden pathway that included walking up a cliffside and past some beautiful residences before heading straight down to the beach.

Our base of operations

Our base of operations

Once we’d arrived back at sea level, Jim was tasked with determining our base of operations and led the charge.  He marched a ways down the beach, around a cliff, where we had to hike our pants up and wade into the water to get by, down a little more, and finally we were there.  The perfect spot.  And aside from one other couple who were farther down and almost around a bend, we were the only ones there.  This was an unexpected surprise given it was a Saturday.

Prior to this trip I had very, very little experience with a “warm climate beach vacation.”  I didn’t understand the concept of sitting on a beach all day doing nothing.  And while Jim had told me time and again how great it actually is, it never computed in my head.  I like to swim, sure, but then what?  Then you go and sit on the beach and do… nothing?  And after a while of doing nothing you go back into the water?  And you walk barefoot?  Like without shoes?  And what about all that unavoidable sand?

Hard at work on a sea glass mission

Hard at work on a sea glass mission

This trip was a conquest for him in that he finally managed to get me to a beach and sit still long enough to realize I liked it.  I liked the fact that Sicily’s beaches are next to an assortment of seas with warm, swimmable water.  I liked that the sea also emitted waves that you could bob up and down on.  I’d been to a water park once that had a wave machine, and this was sort of like that only better – there weren’t legions of kids peeing in their suits here.  I liked how being on the beach and looking out over the sea is scenic and serene.  I liked how happy being there made Jim.  I liked looking for sea glass.  I liked sandy beaches over pebbly ones, and I’d prefer it if the water weren’t so salty, but it was official, I liked the beach.

We spent the better part of 4 hours swimming in the most incredibly blue water, taking in the views, Jim relaxing in the sun, and me obsessively looking for sea glass to bring to Natalie.  That turns out to be a very good activity to keep a slightly OCD person occupied, a person who still hasn’t fully embraced the in-between-swims-nothing part.

Tano's peach granita.  We ate the coffee one too fast for a picture.

Tano’s peach granita. We ate the coffee one too fast for a picture.

Around 15:30 we decided to pack it up and walked back to Canneto.  We hadn’t had our afternoon coffee yet, so we stopped by Tano Bar along the waterfront for a quick cup.  Tano, it turns out, is a congenial man who speaks excellent English and we ended up sitting with him for quite a while, talking about traveling and island living.  It also turns out he knew our other island friends and made us feel like family just like they did.  He also had us try his homemade coffee granita, an icy Sicilian specialty dessert/refreshment-type deal, and it was so incredibly good we ordered a peach one, too.

Eventually we had to make our way back to Lipari Town and hopped on the bus for the 10-minute ride from Canneto.  Upon arrival, we walked to the harbor and unwillingly arranged our Siremar hydrofoil tickets for the next day (€14.70/each).  We didn’t want to leave.

For dinner this night we thought we’d change it up a bit.  It wasn’t that we didn’t want to eat at Ristorante 25, it was just that the genuine-Australian couple had told us about an ambient waterfront restaurant they’d enjoyed and we thought it sounded like a great way to have our last island meal.  We got there but it was strange as they weren’t open and it was Saturday night.  Perplexed, we sat and stared at it for a while, willing it to open, but when that didn’t happen we started to wander around aimlessly.  We wound up eating a sub-par pasta meal at La Piazzetta, and realized how foolish we’d been not to go straight to Ristorante 25.

After dinner we walked over to see Luciano and Natalie one last time and to present the sea glass bounty we’d collected.  They hospitably invited us in for a drink but we were fearful “one” wouldn’t be only “one” and we had to get back to the hotel to pack.  We sadly bid them ciao and headed to the room, where we were met at the door by two cats full of mischief who wanted to play.  Dang it, even the cats on this island were congenial.  Do we really have to go?


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1 Comment

  1. Wow! The water is so much prettier than I had imagined. OK, I’m convinced – the next big trip I take will be to Sicily!


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