Friday, May 15, 2009

The Aeolian Islands

After a great first day in Lipari, we were greeted on Friday morning by an. . .

. . . Interesting Sunrise

It gave me some time to reflect on the Greek and Roman mythology that is at the core of the area's history.

The Greek god Eole

Eole is the god of the wind.  The nearby Strait of Messina has been a key shipping channel since antiquity and the unpredictable winds have wreaked havoc on mariners for thousands of years.

The ancient Greeks believed that Eole was the cause of their problems and resided in these islands, hence the name Aeolian Islands.

The Roman god Vulcan

The island of Vulcano, just ten minutes south of Lipari by hydrofoil, is dedicated to Vulcan the Roman god of fire and metal working.

Homer described this island as the workshop of Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire.

Vulcano is the home to three old volcanic craters and a lot of geo-thermal activity. 

Is there anything more Italian than this phrase?

We didn't have our cornetto and caffé here but we thought about it.

Is this Cuba?

When you live on any small island it seems, you have to improvise from time to time.

Who would have guessed it?

I guess that a hacker, working on some computer crime from the looks of it, lives upstairs.

Spring flowers are blooming all over Lipari.

The crystal clear Tyrrhenian Sea

Mario Cassamento

Mario is our newest Italian friend.  He works as the caretaker and lone docent of Lipari's Cathedral of San Bartolo.

Mario does not speak one syllable of English much less a word.  He spent a good 15 minutes with us showing off his pride, the Cathedral.

Here is what he told us.  He has lived in Lipari his entire life.  His sister lives in New Jersey and is married to an American she met after World War II.  After getting married, they moved to Long Island, New York in 1950.  Mario's brother-in-law was a sailor in the U.S. Navy serving on a submarine who was a prisoner of war and was held in a camp in Bordeaux, France where he suffered a serious leg wound due to a friendly fire bombing raid.  Oh, by the way, the Cathedral was built by the Normans in the 11th Century.

At least this is what I thought he was trying to tell me in his perfect Italian. . .  cool guy.

This archway is about 1,000 years old!

The Cathedral has some interesting electrical issues.

The incredible ceiling of Lipari's Cathedral of San Bartolo.

Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and two busts of Benito Mussolini?

Red Poppies near a Rock Wall


Yes, we bought some more pieces though not this large.

Old buddies just hanging out

Lipari's Cemetery

In the afternoon,
Eole started doing his thing.

As we boarded the hydrofoil for the trip to Vulcano, the weather started to turn.

The famous mud baths of Vulcano.

Before you see them, you smell them.  Since the mud baths are based on sulphuric geo-thermal activity, the smell of rotten eggs hung heavily in the air.

Like a pig in slop

Hugs NOT Drugs

I'm relaxing as thousands of warm bubbles help scrub every drop of oil out of my body!

One of Vulcano's black sand beaches

A little too breezy today.  Damn you Eole, stop messing with our vacation!

Surf and Black Sand

Friday night styling back at Lipari

Lipari has some very interesting old signs like this one.

A Dog's Eye View of Lipari's
Via Vittorio Emanuele

Life on the Piazza

A calcio rules interpretation dispute after the ball hits these noncombatants who are holding a serious conversation.

Kids just playing in their "backyard".

Remnants from the Bush Administration

Taking Italian Sun Glasses to a WHOLE New Level!

I think I'm as relaxed as Laurie looked tonight at dinner.

Whether or not you need to get away from the drudgery of your everyday life, the Aeolian Islands are a GREAT place to go!


DPLassen said...

Forget the ceramics -- you've GOT to get a bust of Mussolini before you leave Italy!

George said...

Large or small?

Andrew said...

I could have gone my whole life without seeing my father covered in mud! Food maybe.

George said...

True that!