Picking up where I left off in my last post…
After Sean’s dad left for home, Sean’s sister Katie stayed for another 10 days in Sicily before our trip to Turkey at the end of her stay. We did quite a bit in that time – an Arancini cooking class, a trip to Caltagirone to buy ceramics, the Roman mosaics, and an afternoon at the beach. (Almost all photo credits go to Katie, I’ve been doing a bad job taking photos.)
We had a short but wonderful visit from some more family, Aunt Elaine and Cousin Christine. They had just finished a European tour in Rome and flew down to Sicily for a few days. We enjoyed some time on our balcony, spent an evening shopping and eating in Taormina, saw the Catania fish market (and bought some cheese and meat to hopefully make it back to the US), and got some swimming time in at Aci Castello. We also attempted to go to the Oktoberfest at a nearby town, but somehow timed it wrong and only saw empty booths. The town was darling though, and we had a really nice dinner, including fried calzones.
Even though it was a short visit, it was so great to have them. Visitors are such a treat for us, and they were wonderful guests!
For our last few days of Katie’s visit, we planned a day trip to hike on the nearby island of Lipari, a trip with the base to hike on Etna and do some wine tasting, and then a couple days of packing, shopping, post office visits, and getting ready for our trip to Turkey.
On Wednesday, Sean, Katie and I left early and took the hydrofoil ferry up to Lipari, an island just off the northern shore of Sicily. The island is beautiful and the little towns are darling. The weather was starting to turn for the worse, but we started on the hike and it turned out to be beautiful. The trail hugs the coastline up the western shore with views of the nearby islands. We finished in a little town up north and weren’t sure how we were getting back to the start, but we completely lucked out by walking up to the bus stop just as the bus was sitting there ready to return us to the ferry port. What luck!
Our luck ran out pretty quickly though, we got to the ferry port around 5 and asked for tickets for the 5:30 boat back to Sicily. The girl just looked at us and said “no more boats today”. Ummm…what? There should have been four more boats off the island, but due to high winds and rough seas, none of the ferry companies were operating any more and there is no other way off the island. We asked if the boats would run the next day and she shrugged and said “maybe”. The day after that? Maybe. We, and a few dozen others, were stranded.
Normally, being stranded on an island in the Aeolian sea would be a favorable situation, but Sean was scheduled to work the next day, our cat was at home with only a day’s worth of food and water, and we had non-refundable tickets for a tour of Turkey booked leaving Saturday morning. Plus, we had no clothes, no phone chargers, nothin.
We walked around in a daze for a bit as the winds picked up and it started raining. We luckily got the last two rooms at a hotel just down the street so we could monitor the port and see if any boats came in. We got some dinner and wine, bought some toothbrushes, and settled in for the night with fingers crossed that we would be able to leave soon. That night we listened to the rain pummel and the winds howl. I went down to the port at 7am. Still no boats. It was a bit frustrating because the weather was actually quite good where we were, but the winds were too high at the port the boats left from, so there was nothing they could do. We stuck around there all morning, met some nice people who were also stuck, and waited for news. Around noon we heard that a large car ferry was able to leave the port on Sicily, and was scheduled to be to Lipari around 1:30. We got tickets immediately and felt so fortunate we were able to leave. We got home that night, Sean was only an hour late for work, and we made our trip to Turkey:)