Mediterranean 2001: Star Clipper

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19 September, Wednesday: Island of Lipari

Star Clipper Photo Tender
Star Clipper Photo Tender
The day began with some overcast but cleared up by midmorning. We anchored off the island of Lipari, the largest and most developed island in the Aeolian archipelago just north of Sicily. We chose not to sign up for a tour of the island, instead going into the town of Lipari to have a look around on our own.

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.

At length we reach'd Æolias's sea-girt shore,
Where great Hippotades the sceptre bore,
A floating isle! high-raised by toil divine,
Strong walls of brass the rocky coast confine.
Six blooming youths, in private grandeur bred,
And six fair daughters, graced the royal bed;
These sons their sisters wed, and all remain
Their parents' pride, and pleasure of their reign.
All day they feast, all day the bowls flow round,
And joy and music through the isle resound;
At night each pair on splendid carpets lay,
And crown'd with love the pleasures of the day.
This happy port affords our wandering fleet
A month's reception, and a safe retreat.

from The Odyssey, translated by Alexander Pope


The Active Volcano Stromboli Lipari
The Port of Lipari Street Scene
A Green Shade Mercato
Frutta e... ...verdura
Italian Ceramics Conquistatori Puppets


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