Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cefalù and our first Aeolian Islands

Cefalù is delightful. From the water you see all the resorts around it, but when you walk into the old town, most of the new development is hidden from view by the narrow streets. The buildings are stone, but the wooden shutters, doors and window frames are painted in bright colors. As we were walking down one little street we came upon a green grocer with a truck full of produce hawking his wares. Although we couldn’t understand a word, it was clear that the woman two stories up was negotiating with him from her balcony.

Old Cefalù with Norman cathedral

John found a barber in Cefalù who had time to cut his hair—his first haircut since Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, last summer. (He’s collecting exotic locations for his annual haircuts: Amsterdam, France, Sicily.) While he was doing that, I poked my head into some shops and found a Sicilian flag to run up under our Italian courtesy flag. We like to fly the regional flag in addition to the national one, especially when it’s an interesting one.

Sicilian flag

Next we went in search of a restaurant serving pasta con le sarde, a traditional Sicilian dish recommended to us by Andy on Spectacle. Palermo is where it’s really famous, but they do make it in Cefalù too. It’s pasta with sardines and fennel and raisins. We settled on a restaurant across the street from the beach, and I picked a pizza for a second plate. John liked the pasta con le sarde more than I did. There wasn’t enough sardine for me and a little too much fennel. What they called raisins weren’t like what we call raisins; I’m not sure what it was. The pizza was really good, though. It had sausage on it that turned out to be similar to what we call sweet Italian sausage.

We’ve been taking advantage of the settled weather and taking our time in the Aeolian Islands. Our first anchorage was at Isola Alicudi, the western-most island. There didn’t seem to be much going on there, and we didn’t go ashore. Yet, the ferries go there often, so there must be something.

Isola Alicudi

No cars allowed on Alicudi

As I write this, we’re anchored off the southwestern side of Isola Salina by the village of Rinella. We did put the dinghy in the water and go ashore to wander around and stop for a beer. There was a store selling beautiful ceramics. If I weren’t on a boat, I don’t think I could resist the temptation. Those bright primary colors really call to me.

Sunset from our anchorage at Salina

Mobile produce vendor at Salina

In a bit we’ll be putting the dinghy back on deck and heading to Stromboli. Stromboli has an active volcano, and the thing to do is to sail around it at night so that you can see the lava flows. When we get there, we’ll anchor until dark. After we see the volcano, we’ll just head back to Lipari, which is the next island over from where we are now. Lipari is the biggest of the islands and the most developed. We’ll do some provisioning there and then go to Vulcano, just south of Lipari to do the mandatory walk to the top of the crater.

We have changed our sailing plans again. From the Strait of Messina, we’ll turn left instead of continuing on around Sicily. A former colleague and fellow sailor, originally from Croatia, is returning there for a couple of months, and we’re going to meet up with him. There’s nothing like local knowledge to make cruising really special, so we’re looking forward to a couple of months in the Adriatic. Our friends on Islay Mist headed that direction already, and we hope to catch up with them too.

1 comment:

peregrins2 said...

We found a Sicilian flag too! We love our collection.