Friday, May 24, 2013

Linosa

We chose today to go to Linosa, a nearby volcanic island, because of the comparatively decent weather. As everything in this region, the ferry is highly dependent on the wind. Despite being reassured, the way there was essentially hell with 3 meter plus waves. It was like a less sturdy version of a roller coaster.
Dark sand beaches and rising sea temperatures means more male hatchlings from Linosa!

The island itself was very beautiful - completely different from Lampedusa except for the presence of cacti. The soil was black and there were many more types of plants because of the volcanic nutrients. It is only 6 square kilometers, even smaller than where I'm staying! The first inhabitants came about 170 years ago, and the entire island has only 10 surnames (I'm not being facetious when I say the population has undergone some slight genetic drift). Visually, the island looked like Latin America - the climate the vegetation, the houses, etc. We hiked around the crater of a dormant volcano (the name of which I don't know, but it was something like the Italian equivalent of "Mount Hill") and enjoyed sandwiches courtesy of the self-proclaimed "Panino Queen," Giulia.

The outside of the turtle rescue center - the interior was burned, but luckily there were no turtles or people inside that night.

We briefly visited the WWF-run turtle rescue center that had been burned down a week before, and of course had to pretend we were tourists and in no way affiliated with the cause, since local sentiments are not exactly welcoming (not sure why, though, as Linosa doesn't really have a prominent fishing population - perhaps it is cultural or superstitious).

Beautiful hikes up the volcanoes!

We were desperate for water by 15:00 but as we arrived in the tiny port town, we were notified by some local drunks that nothing is ever open between 13:00 and 17:00. We waited until then in the shade of a hotel, but we were out of luck - there was a funeral that day that apparently required the attendance of everyone on the island, including shopowners. The pharmacy was open for emergencies, so we checked it out and found a psychotic pharmacist that told us we would have dreams about dolphins if we bought her seasickness medicine. We survived, though, and the return ferry was fortunately pleasant.
Finally we had an aperitivo (caipirinha for me!) with Daniela to quench our thirst and hunger. There were so many delicious snacks, including panelle (chick pea patties - fried) and sufincino (cheese-less pizza with onions and anchovies - so not really pizza, but still delicious!).

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