My Three-week Italian Language Learning Adventure

After a somewhat turbulent late-night voyage from Stromboli to Panarea we arrived late and anchored in a bay off the island. On a gorgeous morning the next day we first had another language lesson – where else but on the outdoor patio of a bar in Panarea, surrounded by gorgeous sunshine and beautiful flowers. Panarea is an extremely photogenic destination and offered great opportunities for hobby photographers like me.

Panarea – a photographer’s dream

Our voyage continued to Lipari again where we would end an eventful day with a scrumptious outdoor feast on the main square. The next day three of us went on a driving tour of this beautiful island and from the south end we already saw our next destination: the island of Vulcano, which also features an active volcano. We anchored in a bay off this island, enjoyed some Italian lessons on the boat and after a delicious on-board dinner, our shipmates Franco, a gifted guitar player, and Agnieszka, a talented singer, entertained us with soulful melodies by candlelight on the back of the boat – magical moments that I will not forget for a long time.

Night descends on the bay off Vulcano

Then our final day on the boat arrived: we hiked up to the “Gran Cratere”, the active crater of Vulcano. Yellow rocks and thick clouds of sulphur announced that the forces of geology were indeed active right underneath our feet. And the view from the top over the six other Eolian Islands was breathtaking. After another Italian lesson on an outdoor patio overlooking the Mediterranean we had to say goodbye to the Eolian Islands and start to head back to Milazzo.

Our crew from the “Solitaire II” on the summit of the Gran Cratere in Vulcano

Just as I thought our 7 day sailing trip would come to an anticlimactic end, one of my shipmates announced “DOLPHINS!!!”, and indeed four of these playful sea creatures were accompanying our sailboat, jumping in and out of the water, and having fun with us. The excitement continued when we ended up catching three tunas on a fishing line we had been dragging behind our boat. The following decapitation and evisceration scene though was a bit hard on my tender vegetarian soul…

Dolphins!!!

So we had reached land, and to celebrate the conclusion of a wonderful sailing trip and one of my shipmates’ birthdays we enjoyed another big Sicilian feast in Capo di Milazzo. The next day, we had a chance to relax a bit in our five-bedroom apartment conveniently located above the Laboratorio Linguistico Language School and do simple things like laundry and sit on the balcony. Franco, our language teacher took us on a guided walk of Milazzo which features a huge fortification that dates back more than 1000 years.

The ancient Castello di Milazzo

After saying goodbye to my roommate Claudia I spent my final Sunday in Sicily in the picturesque medieval town of Cefalu, about a two-hour train ride from Milazzo. That city’s medieval core and huge Norman cathedral together with the ruins of an ancient castle on top of the rock that towers over the town left me with many vibrant treasured memories. Now I only had two full days left in Sicily.

The Gothic Porta dei Pescatori in Cefalu

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