Travel Report from Lipara Italy

Travel Report from Lipara Italy

May 17, 2007. We are anchored off of this small island located close to the island of Sicily. There is no other cruise ship here. This island is close enough that there is a regular hydrofoil passenger ferry connections  from Scicily to here. The weather has taken a turn for the worse. Overcast and some rain, but it looks more threatening this afternoon.

We didn’t have to stay up late for a show since there was a 7:00 one last night with 50’s singing. The man had a good voice, but was distracting because of his dramatics. To be good at anything one must be genuine and present oneself honestly. Anything else is distracting. It was an OK show, but of course, we missed the magic show which started at 10: pm.

There are two harbors here facing us and each is a separate marina and shopping area. One is geared for tourists and one is not. We took the boat into the dock. There is a small square where we land. There are outdoor restaurants at the square and a small church that has missing plaster on its side. There are small boats pulled up on the narrow beach in front of the square. They are white but with a blue trim and painted blue inside.

There is not much English spoken here and the taxi drivers are trying to sell a one hour tour around the island which we decline. The narrow stone street slopes upwards from the square with buildings on both sides. Tinyt stores line the street and there is a two foot wide stone sidewalk on each side. The strores sell all kinds of things such as ceramics, which are very rough looking, clothes and many other things. Most seem intended for the locals. No one pressures us to come inside and buy. The stores don’t open until 10:00 am and close at 1:00 until 3:00 pm.

At the start of the hill there is a jewelery store. The unusual articles inside the window catch my eye. They are very unique and there is a necklace of red coral is quite beautiful. The owner is a young man who speaks some English. He designs and creates the articles he sells. He has gold rings with embedded volcano lava which are most unusual and ear rings made of antique material which I admire. Lita and I end up buying the necklace which I like a great deal. The young man gives me the whole history of the source, how the material is prepared and how it is created. He speaks mostly in Italian, but I am able to follow him for the most part. Carrying our first purchase on the island we move on up the hill.

There are narrow streets that drop sharply down the hill from the street we are on and stairs on the opposite side which climb at a steep angle to a door far above. We stop at a garden store and buy some Italian seeds for our garden in Gig Harbor. Then we walk on to the top of the hill where we see the other harbor great distance away and our ship at anchor in the harbor. We decide to take a taxi to the other marina area and head back down the hill to the square where we started from. In the meantime, the hydrofoils have started to drop people off. As we go down the hill, crowds of young children led by adults whom I assume are school teachers come up the street. They chatter and talk the way children do. A small crowd of people led by a woman holding a microphone and with a speaker strapped around her waist  leads them. You can hear her coming some distance away because she is narrating in Italian as they walk behind her. Italians are generally not very quite and noise is everywhere. People on cell phones, people calling to one another from the street to a window above and people talking loudly about something as they stand on the sidewalk. Lita stops by a fish store and the owner, an Italian man in a white apron, leans against the door next to her. I take a photo of both of them. There are good photo opportunities here. I see a woman on a balcony  who has draped her laundry on the railing and just beyond her red flowers are growing along a wall. It will be a great photo I think.

We get to the square and after assuring the driver we do not want a tour, are driver to the other harbor. He speaks no English. When we arrive and began walking, there is a truck parked at the corner with oranges in boxes which the man is selling. Across the street a man in another small truck is selling fresh fish from the back of his parked truck. He calls out very loudly in Italian "fresh fish." The sidewalks are crowded with people who are locals. Lita goes into a super market that looks small from the outside, but tells me it is very larger once you get inside. As we walk along there are drops of rain, so we head back to get a cab home. After we return, we find out that there is a direct short cut to the harbor which makes it only a short walk away so the taxi was totally unnecessary. I have contributed to the local economy several Euros.

After returning, we sat under cover at an outdoor restaurant drinking bottled water and  a beer. There are the customary motor scooters going in an out, but few cars as the area is blocked off. A young boy on a motor scooter comes around the corner too fast and it tips on its side sliding on the stone street. People gasp, but before anyone reacts, he hurriedly gets up, rights his scooter and rushes off as if he intended the whole thing.

As we walk back to the area to return to the ship there are twenty five to thirty men of all ages crowded around a large beached row boat talking. It looks like an outdoor town meeting or the start of a riot, I’m not sure which. I have no idea what was going on, but given the volume of talking and the gestures I assume it was political discussion as there are political signs up everywhere. But who they were or why they were located there I do not know.

The sun came back out after we returned to the ship and right now it is cloudy for awhile and then the sun comes out. This is a tuxedo night again which I have come to really dislike. One wears shorts and thongs during the day , but has to put on a tuxedo that night.  We leave this afternoon for our next stop in Italy where we have arranged car and driver for a trip to our favorite area in this part of Italy, Positano on the Amalphi coast.

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