Each morning we take the 20-minute walk into the village for a cappucino (with a glass of sparkling water on the side) at an outdoor cafe at the port, where we watch the local scene: Electric taxis get themselves into place to meet the incoming boats. A few dogs check out each other and their favorite smelling spots. The occasional hydrofoil loads and unloads passengers and supplies for local markets.
We stroll through the narrow lanes of the village, admiring the brilliant white buildings and red and orange flowers against the shockingly blue sky.
John hiked around the island (I stayed in bed) early one morning before it got too hot--it was a 3-hour hike up the ridge behind the village and along the spine of the mountain that constitutes Panarea. By 10 a.m. it's too hot in the sun (90+ degrees) to do much of anything except find a shady place to cool down. This week the temperature in the shade has been in the low 80s, really nice if you're not moving.
We had drinks on our anniversary (#42) on an astoundingly beautiful patio overlooking the sea and the hunky rock islands off Panarea, watching the sky change colors and the almost-full-moon rise. That same night we ate dinner at Da Francesca, the restaurant favored by the owner of our cottage, and watched the volcanic eruptions high on Stromboli, an active volcano just 10 miles away. Evenings in "downtown" Panarea are beautiful, with everyone enjoying the cooler temperature (mid-70s) and the relaxed ambience of the bars and restaurants.
|On the dock, Stromboli in the distance|
Yesterday we took the boat to Stromboli, walked through its pretty lanes, spent some time on one of the beautiful black-sand volcanic beaches, and had pizza for lunch at a terrace restaurant overlooking the town and the sea before heading back to Panarea.
We hosted the owners of our cottage and the young Italians who are staying in the apartment in our compound for drinks and hors d'oeuvres on our upper terrace as evening fell--turned out to be a spectacular evening and lots of fun (+ 3 new Facebook friends). We got to learn about the Italian school system and a restaurant in Palermo that is NOT connected to the Mafia, among other topics.
Every day we go to the beach in the late afternoon to get a little sun and swim in the balmy Mediterranean waters. There's a small sandy beach about a 10-minute walk from our house that is really cooling, and a stony beach another 10 minutes beyond. But please, why do older women wear bikinis? In fact, 95 percent the women on the beach wear bikinis, and 95 percent of them look terrible. (Not too many men look any better in their skimpy suits.) Not much toplessness here in Panarea, unlike in France.
|I wear a one-piece|
We spend the late evenings on our terrace watching the boats and gazing across the sea to Lipari, Vulcano, the Sicilian coast, and Calabria on the Italian mainland--last night we even saw Mount Etna spewing its steamy clouds.
We're really going to miss almost perfect Panarea when we leave tomorrow for a week in Lipari, but maybe I'll have something more exciting to report from the capital of the Aeolian Islands.