My sister and I have been counting down to this holiday for so long, and the first week has not been a disappointment.
Even before we left England I was excited about the food, and my food adventure began at the airport. I got to try an acai bowl for the very first time at Pret A Manger.
Needless to say, leaving your house at 3:00am is not the most fun, but I was still super excited!! We landed in Catania airport and within ten minutes of landing I had a gelato in my hand! It was pistachio flavour (heavenly). We then drove to Castaglioni to the most beautiful hotel with everything we needed.
The views just a few metres from the hotel were stunning, mount Etna's smoke in the background. We went for a walk to admire the stunning panoramics and stopped at a little bar where I had a peach juice (yum). There was an accordion player – I even took a selfie with him.
Dinner was disappointing to say the least, as I ordered pistachio pasta which for some reason had meat in!! I ate the side salads and bread though, followed by an almond semi- freddo which made up for first course!
A lot of driving today, windy roads not helping my sister who felt very ill!! Before the long day began, there was breakfast – of course- and my handy pip and nut jar was snuck in to the restaurant!! I also had coconut yoghurt with delicious fruit too!!
On the journey we stopped at a few tiny towns that were very run down, but managed to find gelato for lunch!! I had a pistachio & almond flavour with a chocolate scoop too, yum!!
We finally arrived at Portorosa marina at 3:00pm. Whilst we waited for the boat to be ready, I ate a whole lot of peanuts! Around 7:00pm a little van took my mum and I to the supermarket, I had great fun looking round – no peanut butter though – and the fruit section was amazing!!
They were all so big!! We then had a swim in the sea, which was so warm, and then had a massive salad for dinner!
Woken up by the light, I headed off to the beach to meet my dad who was swimming. I did a 15 minute HIIT session on the beach (turns out sand adds a whole lot of resistance) consisting of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off of the following exercises:
- High knees
- Squat jumps (rotate 180)
- Sit ups
- Lunge jumps (alternate legs)
- Leg raises
- Chest press ups (hands wide)
- Mountain climbers
- Side plank (20 seconds either side)
- Triceps dips (off a rock)
- Bicycle crunches
- Squat pulses (don't stand up till time over)
- Lunge pulse (20 seconds either side)
- Swim sprint in the sea
After a breakfast of yoghurt and fruit, we set off for the first Aeolian island, Vulcano. And island built around the extinct volcano called Vulcano! After anchoring on the west side of the island, we swam ashore from the boat and went to the mud baths, a small fee to enter but great fun! You can then walk from the mud, down into the natural hot springs, which are in the sea!! Sadly we had to return to the boat, but dinner was incredible!! A complete invention of panfried red pepper and aubergine, mixed with lemon zest, avocado, chickpeas and red pesto. I then pan fried two slices of rye bread and topped them with the filling! I will definitely be making this again!
Up early again, my dad and I walked all the way to the top of Vulcano before breakfast! We managed to get up early enough not to be in the heat of the day, it's fair to say the views were worth it, but I was VERY hungry when we got back to the boat!
I even ate my nakd bar at the top as a pre-breakfast breakfast !! Once eaten breakfast on the boat, we set off for Lipari. We anchored in Darsina Piccola, and then went ashore for lunch. In a place called La Pescatore, I had an amazing orange and black rice dish with bread and a side salad too.
It was so hot (around 40 degrees Celsius) so we walked very slowly around the town. I bought a beautiful handmade fridge magnet and then we all sat down for a gelato. Strawberry and a flavour called "7 nuts" was my combination of the day, and it was perfect! When we got back to the boat I went snorkelling and saw loads of fish, I loved it!
A short swim in the sea before breakfast and we were off again to Stromboli, the most active volcano in Europe! We anchored at a Little Rock called Bottoro, before we got to our final destination, to admire the natural springs in the sea; there were 10m columns of bubbles rising from the ocean floor!! We anchored once again, and went ashore to the black sand beaches of Stromboli.
The walk to our restaurant was about 40 minutes, mostly up hill, to the pizzeria. From there you can watch lava spurt out of the volcano whilst eating dinner!! The highlight of the holiday (so far)! I ordered a pizza which had no cheese on by accident, but I actually loved it! The views of glowing orange rocks falling are ones I'll never forget..
Taking photos in the pitch black is pretty hard!! My dad got some pretty amazing shots though! For pudding I tried Cassata, a traditional Sicilian pudding of sweet ricotta, plain sponge and marzipan, it was a bit too sweet for me, but gave me a lot of inspiration!
On the move to Salina, we stopped for lunch off the island of Panarea and anchored near a good snorkelling spot. I had leftover pizza and salad for lunch, and later went snorkelling with dad. We left Panarea at 4:00 and got to Salina a couple of hours later. I cooked a rich tomato sauce to have with pasta (my dad had gluten free) for dinner. A bit later, we went ashore for a look around and I had another pistachio gelato
Followed by a virgin colada, in a bar, consisting of coconut milk and pineapple juice.
In the morning we decided to further explore Salina, once ashore we caught a taxi to the other side of the island. There wasn't much to see, so we went to a cafe, I tried a Sicilian drink of fresh lemon juice, which is strangely enjoyable!
Disappointed with the lack of people, we caught the bus to a third town on the island, recommended by the Lonely Planet guide. Boiling hot, we found Alfredo's cafe for lunch. The Lonely Planet book suggested the open top sandwiches and paninis; we all chose paninis (they even had gluten free for my dad!). Completely exhausted, we loved every bit!! I chose the panino vegano
After enjoying the breeze for a bit, we all tried a traditional Sicilian pudding called Granita, an iced dessert, which when made right is incredible. I chose chocolate, strawberry and hazelnut. The chocolate and hazelnut went together so well, and reminded me of my homemade chocolate spread!
Once back to the boat, feeling nicely full, we motored back to Vulcano for our penultimate night on the boat.
Woke up feeling a little sad, as island hopping has been one of the most amazing experiences! Breakfast was delicious, fresh fruit, banana yoghurt, Pip and Nut, sunflower seeds and crushed pistachios We swam back to the hot sea spring as we had earlier in the week, but missed the mud out this time as the springs are completely free!! We stayed at Vulcano for a bit, then set off back to the mainland Sicily.
When we arrived at the marina, I went on a walk to the supermarket to buy some fruit and yoghurt for breakfast the next day. Later on in the evening we went to the marina restaurant, where I had a pizza followed by a chocolate semifreddo!
After handing the boat back, we went for a dip in the sea, and then got back in the car for our next part of the journey.