finally my favoritest island of all: Panarea [part 1].
i used to sorta vaguely daydream that someday i might retire and spend the rest of my life in a place like Santorini, but now that i’ve visited Panarea, all i can think about is a second home here. Panarea is so incredibly beautiful, mostly because evidently two architects landed on the island long ago and built a hotel called Raya. then they set about making over nearly the entire island in the very same style (inspired by Balinese artistry); almost all the larger homes and shops and restaurants and stuff were built by the very same architects. it really is unlike any place i’ve ever seen, it’s an aesthetic person’s paradise.
Panarea is quaint enough to be charming but popular enough to be fabulous. another great thing is a good quantity of the residents and summer employees are foreigners and expats— so it’s a lot like New York in that it’s a nice big melting pot! and the people are so wonderfully amicable all over Southern Italy– very much unlike Southern Greece (or Southern France or Southern Spain, for that matter).
all the taxicabs on Panarea are golf carts, and there are even lots of daily ferries and hydrofoils and whatnot to shuttle you to the neighboring islands. but best of all, Panarea has a very convenient helicopter service that makes transportation to and from the island rather easy… and dope (but more on that later).
next island: Lipari, which is the largest of all the Aeolian Islands. and you can kinda tell right away, it’s very crowded compared to all the others, it’s like the Meatpacking District of the Tyrrhenian Sea. despite its size however, it was the most difficult to get a decent dining recommendtion for; nobody we spoke to particularly enjoyed whatever culinary experience they’d had. unfortunately, a suggestion to dine at La Nassa came too late, so we decided on Filippino (oh the irony– haa, get it?) instead despite its half-hearted endorsement ("somewhat passé"). and yah, it did end up kinda sucking just a wee bit. afterward on our stroll back to the marina we happened to stumble upon La Nassa, and it was very cute so we all regretted not having tried it. oh well.
the next day was nice and breezy so Black Sea raised its sails, yay!
oh one other thing i should probably mention are the shady marina operators in Lipari. they’re all very competitive evidently, so they will lie right to your face telling you what you want to hear so you will pick their specific dock over all the others. merely a warning– cuz i think yacht politics is just so fascinating really.
we stopped in Lingua just to go to Da Alfredo which is famous for their "pane cunzato" and granite. da Alfredo comes very highly recommended from all over the Aeolian Islands, if you mention to anybody that you’re visiting Salina, they tell you immediately you must go to Alfredo and have their panewhatever and especially their granite, particularly the one made with white figs (while they’re in season).
and everyone is totally right about the fig granita (the almond and peach ones are awesome too), but umm well, let’s just say i have my own opinion about their panewhatever.
our friends who own Black Sea say they visited the week before too, and all the yachts (like Giorgio Armani’s and Roberto Cavalli’s!) pulled up to Alfredo like it’s a drive-thru and had granite delivered to them via dinghy.
arrived just around dusk so we sat around in the dark waiting to see eruptions. they were pretty spectacular, you could even see the lava run down the side of the mountain afterward. sorry the photos can’t even begin to do the experience justice.
supposedly some celebrities like Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have homes on Stromboli, but i still think it’s kind of a bugout that there’s a whole little village located at the base of an active volcano.
evidently Stromboli is considered one of those locations that are "very chic" because access is particularly difficult except by boat so any sort of tourism is practically nonexistent. unfortunately i didn’t make it into town that morning because the first-day jet lag had me knocked out till noon. ah well, next time :)
oh and Black Sea caught a big tuna! apparently it was "only the second one in six years" so yay! we "brought good luck" with us.