Today we visited another island – Vulcano. As its name implies, it has an active volcano. You can climb to the edge of the crater and see the lava bubbling up. We decided to take the ferry over and give it a try. However, after our last experience – climbing to the pizzeria on Stromboli through the ankle-deep volcanic ash, we lost our enthusiasm the closer we got. Did we really need to climb the volcano?
As we were walking toward the trail and giving each other pep talks – “we can do this, we WANT to do this” – we saw a roadside stand renting out hiking boots and walking sticks. Not a good sign. Then we saw a group trudge into town – with their hiking boots and walking sticks – and NO smiles. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. As we walked further, we saw another roadside stand – Paolo’s – that featured dune buggies. We looked at each other, smiled, and knew we’d found our afternoon’s entertainment.
And we had a fabulous time! We rented a little red two-seater that was very loud (Frank says it had a lawnmower engine) and very jerky, but it took us where we needed to go. Our first stop was to fill up with fuel – it runs on benzene, believe it or not. Paolo had given us a rudimentary map, so we took off and explored the island. We drove around the volcanic crater and up and around to the other side before spying a trattoria literally in the middle of nowhere that Paolo had recommended. We stopped for lunch and met a wonderful couple who were born on Vulcano but live part of the year in Australia – they come back in summer to open the restaurant. We had the place to ourselves – with breathtaking sea views and very fresh fish.
We also ventured past the mud baths, where sulphur bubbles up from the earth (part of the volcano) – people flock to them to wallow in the mud and rinse off in the sea. However, it is slightly radioactive, so there are lots of warnings – I decided I had had enough radiation for one year, so we skipped that part.
We ended at a spot that overlooked all the islands – an incredible view. Wow.
The longer we stay in Sicily, the more we have learned – Don’t try to “do” Sicily – let Sicily “do” you. Be open to new experiences. It is ok not check off all the “must do” items in the guidebook – sometimes you just have to go off the grid and have a little fun.