19 September, Wednesday: Island of Lipari
The red lava base of the island rises to a plateau crowned with a 16th century castle and a 17th century cathedral. Like most cathedrals, the vaulted ceilings of the Cattedrale di San Bartolomeo are painted with various biblical scenes. But there was one scene that I had never seen before: a woman about to hit a man on the head with a claw hammer. Now, women bopping men on the head isn't unusual in biblical stories; they had reason enough most of the time. But, a claw hammer? That was new. And nobody I asked knew what particular story the painting depicted. C'est bizarre! Across from the cathedral is an archaeological park and excavations of buildings going back 3500 years.
Lipari is a typical coastal island town with narrow streets and steps climbing steep hills. We walked up and down, getting our exercise and photographs. Had pizza for lunch, something I really enjoyed. Al encountered a British lady at a news stand who was loudly demanding her newspaper immediately, even before it was unpacked from the hand truck. When Al suggested patience, she called him "stroppy." I was shocked. I had no idea I had been traveling with a stroppy person. Would others notice?
The Star Clipper set sail early that afternoon, about 2:00. Passengers who wanted to photograph the ship from the sea were invited to board a "photo tender." Two of the tenders circled the ship for about twenty minutes, affording great views of the ship with all her sails unfurled.
|Approaching Æolias's Sea-Girt Shore|
Lipari, located off the northeast coast of Sicily, is the largest of the volcanic Aeolian Islands which have been inhabited since the Neolithic era and were colonized by the Greeks in 580 BC. The Greeks named the islands to honor Aeolus, the god of the winds, who resided here and kept the winds bottled up in a cave. Other islands are Stromboli and Vulcano where Vulcan, the god of fire, maintained his forges in the classical era.
The gods may have departed the Mediterranean, but their winds and fires remain.
Odysseus was one of the first tourists to visit the Aeolian Isles. Judging by his reception, the Italian penchant for la dolce vita goes back at least three thousand years.
from The Odyssey, translated by Alexander Pope
|The Active Volcano Stromboli||Lipari|
|The Port of Lipari||Street Scene|
|A Green Shade||Mercato|
|Italian Ceramics||Conquistatori Puppets|