After yesterday's wall of rain (extreme showers at least five times, including while we were wrapping up dinner), I was happy to see sun and mild winds in the forecast. Our plan (for me and Eugenio, as Stefano had bailed on all kayaking yet was good enough to play punto with me last night) was to catch the 8:30 ferry to Porto Marina on Salina island, fiddle around, eat lunch, then kayak to another port there (Rinaldi?) to catch the ferry back. Sadly this meant I bailed on last night's group dinner at the Eden but no way would I lose out on my beauty sleep with a hard day ahead.
E was a bit late picking me up (he only slept 3 hours last night) so once we got to the boat base we had to cook out a bit in the kayak (once it was loaded) to get to the Vulcano dock on time. New hazard: fishing line, nearly invisible in many kinds of light yet almost guaranteed to have an angry fisherman at the other end. Still, luck was with us: first ,the boat was late, and second, when we were landing I found a slightly rusty euro in the sand which I immediately turned into a chocolate croissant. I imagined it becoming several more things during the day and kinda wished I'd kept it as a lucky coin: with the tree on the back it kind of looked like elf money.
Two hours later (boy ,the car ferries are laggards compared to the hydrofoils) we arrived in Santa Marina and headed north once we got the wheels off of the boat. Salina is the greenest of the islands and generally very pretty, but I had eyes only for the layers of volcanic strata in the cliff faces we were passing. It was pretty neat but a bit windy and, er, samey. We could see Stromboli in the no longer very distant distance, but if I'm honest, what I was especially excited about was trying some new Sicilian specialty in the town (Lingua) where we were going to stop and take our lunch: pane cunzuatu, aka "covered bread," which looks like this:
Oh my, it was heaven. Anyway, we paddled north to a certain point and then, due to the wind, couldn't go any further, so turned back until we got to our starting point, then continued south heading toward a lighthouse. It was getting warm and I wanted a swim, but Eugenio said lunch first (and nicer beaches after the lighthouse) so I didn't. We landed the boat and went to Ristorante da Alfredo, which does 1) the bread stuff (8 options) and 2) granitas (about 12 flavors including watermelon, honeydew, and fig). Here's a picture of me there:
Yeah, sorry, not too good. Important cultural lesson: you do not go to the beach cafe in your bathing suit, you put on clothes, so I brought my pull-on travel dress and changed.
After lunch, Eugenio called a break so he could nap: well, okay then. I went and played in the water. But when I returned, he said, basically, we needed to massively get a move on because it was 3PM and the last train to Vulcanoville left at 3:55 "but it only takes an hour to get there still we better hurry" (entirely reasonable given that we had to portage the kayak from the beach to the ferry dock and buy tickets).
Only this time the half hour streeeetttcched out because we paddled the whole thing with the wind in our face. Urgh. And E was getting tense because he didn't want to miss the ferry. So paddle, paddle, paddle like a machine, no time to enjoy the scenery, SPLASH water in my face, paddle, water in my lap, ooh cool that might be a neat formation to look at if I didn't need to PADDLE PADDLE PADDLE. I think E was putting a lot more effort into it than I was, but hey, what good would I have been if I crapped out halfway? I imagined myself clearing a space in the water that his paddling could take advantageof and worked on keeping a nice steady pace. And of course we made it, because it was the same ferry as earlier and it never had caught up the time it lost earlier. But boy, did that all tire me out.
When I got on the ferry, I went to the (extraordinarily underutilized) bar and got myself a €2.50 limoncello to celebrate completing my kayaking week - and drank it by myself, then fell asleep for a while. My total injuries for the week aren't so bad: one jellyfish welt, one unhealed blister/cut, some sunburn that has faded. But boy, you can see the story of the week in my poor little toes:
(The line across the top of my left foot is my jellyfish welt. also my ankle buckled three times on the rocks while launching or landing the kayak - no fun for me.)
I'm really glad to be done, a teensy bit sorry I missed out on kayaking around Stromboli, and totally grateful the other person on this trip wasn't some hard ass who would have made me have a miserable time because I couldn't keep up (and I got to have dinner with him again tonight which was nice). And I'm glad that I had some days off and was able to have every day I went kayaking be a good day. And I'm tired now, really tired. I'm gonna get me some sleep now and get ready for a day of shopping, swimming, and gelato.