Just north of Sicily is a string of volcanic islands known as the Aeolian Islands. They’re a short hydrofoil boat ride away from the Northern coast and make a great day trip or weekend getaway. During the last few days of Christy’s visit we took our first trip there. We booked a last minute room on Stromboli, and headed for the ferry port. We caught a boat to Vulcano and spent our first day there. We had no plans when we arrived, but decided to hike up to the top of the volcanic crater. With our non-hiking clothes and backpacks full of our stuff for the weekend we probably looked a bit silly, but we did look more prepared than the girl we saw in ballet flats. The top of the crater is spectacular. Sulphur vents line the rim and are yellow and crystallized. Five of the other islands are visible from the top.
Back down at the bottom, we stumbled across the sulphur mud baths. They were filled with people soaking and covering themselves in the sulphuric mud. We joined them. The water is warm, and your skin feels silky smooth and soft after getting out. We rinsed off, took a quick swim in the ocean, and made use of the provided showers to get a bit of the smell off. However, lesson learned, the smell permeates everything. Two weeks and many baking soda-soaked loads of laundry later and I’m still trying to get the smell out of every piece of laundry I washed with anything that was in my bag during that visit. I recommend a throwaway swimsuit and throwaway towel.
That afternoon, we caught another hydrofoil to Stromboli, where we were staying the night. Stromboli is just the tip of a monster, active volcano. The volcano erupts almost constantly, although it is a nice, mellow eruption. The town is beautiful – the walls are whitewashed and the roads are narrow and winding. No cars are allowed on the island, and the streets aren’t even lit at night. The beaches are volcanic black sand, which make it easy to spot the white jellyfish floating along the bottom. We weren’t able to see the eruptions from where we were staying (though I suppose that’s a good thing), but we plan to go back and take a night time boat ride around the island.
During my parents’ visit we took a day trip up to Vulcano and hiked to the top of the crater again. This time though, we skipped the sulphur baths:)