2012 - 1999 Stromboli Trekking
In 1965 I visited Corsica for the first time. This island totally fascinated me, this variety of landscapes, Zonza - Dolomite-like mountains, Bonifacchio - Caribbean south coast with small islets to which you could wade from the beach through shallow water, mussels au gratin and exotic fish. I believe to this day that Corsica is the most beautiful European island. And since then I have always been drawn south. Already in 1968, at the still tender age of 16, I hitchhiked there with a school friend from Hanover, thumbs out and off! Nice and from there by ship to Bastia.
This passion for the south has lasted. Not for nothing I ended up in Ibiza in 1976, Formentera in 1983, Madrid in 2007 and last but not least Cadiz in 2018.
But there was always Italy, especially southern Italy, which is my favorite Italy, especially because there the gastronomy is not yet so rotten. And that starts roughly from Naples, Puglia, Calabria across the strait that separates Sicily from the boot. Sicily also super, especially Palermo and of course the Aeolian islands, of which I like Stromboli best. Simply a magical island with this active, constantly fire and smoke spewing volcano.
Of course you can only get to this island by boat. From "north" to south there is the first connection overnight from Naples, then quite a bit further south from Tropea - also a beautiful place, from which you can already see Stromboli promisingly on the horizon. And then, should you prefer to cross over to Sicily, from Milazzo, the ship stopping beforehand at three islands: Vulcano, Lipari and Panarea.
Wow, and then there finally rises this broad, conical silhouette out of the sea, even with plumes of smoke over the top. An archaic feeling immediately comes over you, as if you were entering a kind of time bell..
Once docked at the harbor, one usually sets out on foot. Cars drive only a little way down along the sea to the few hotels that lie directly on the shore. The alleys leading uphill are so narrow that only electric golf carts or those three-wheeled piaggos can pass. All the houses and the walls lining the paths are whitewashed, a nice contrast to the many pink bougainvilleas climbing everywhere and the lush green of the broom bushes and other low-growing plants.
Lots of gnarly rocky coastline, and there aren't too many beaches, all of them with fine, black volcanic sand. The main town is called Stromboli, of course (about 600 inhabitants). Climbing a little higher, you come to the church square, where you can find the fantastic bar Ingrid. "Ingrid" because of Ingrid Bergmann, who shot the equally named movie "Stromboli" here with Roberto Rosselini - a very dark work. From there - taking a breakfast or other super tasty sauces and sweets - you have a fascinating view of the sea and Strombolicchio. This is a bizarre volcanic vent, extinct ages ago, about 1.5km from the coast, whose highest point looks like a horse's head. Boat trip recommended!
On the other side of the island there is the small village of Ginostra, which can be reached practically only by boat - a nice excursion - time bell totally!
Except for the very special ambience, the island has nothing else special to offer. You can swim, eat and drink well, and possibly make the arduous climb to the top of the volcano.
Stromboli Trekking - Below the beach, above the volcano!
In 1999 I was there for the first time. Please see the volcano! So I set off on the climb. There are signposts, you climb and climb, that in your own rhythm, no real problem. Shortly before the summit, a "trekking group" overtook me, whose leader pointed out that the "private", sole ascent was strictly forbidden. But I said "al culo" (my ass), and continued to climb under the setting sun to the top. Then all dark, and that was quite magical. Standing there at this bubbling crater spewing lava, smoke and ash from the bowels of the earth. Archaic feelings, emergence of the world or whatever.
I then repeated this in 2012 with my partner Paloma, more details here in my Trip-Advisor report:
Preliminary: 10km path, 900m uphill, time 3 hours! Not athletically trained? Better leave it!
And exactly these 10km way are very gently concealed by the trekking agencies, where you have to book the tour obligatorily already then at the church square. For 10km horizontal path you need already 2 hours tight step. But the same as a trekking tour uphill, 900m altitude difference!?
Trekking? What kind of word is that anyway, which didn't exist before? "Mountain hiking" might come close to the point, but that exactly does NOT hit the point. Trekking, that is violent hiking. And among these "trekkers" is, unfortunately, a bunch of very bad people, emotionless and joyless fighting machines, who in exactly pre-booked vacations a pre-drawn series of peaks, step by step trudge up, stubborn step, without looking around. And just as stubbornly they trudge downhill again - all this for the purpose of being able to cross those destinations off their list! The deletion serves dead sure also to be able to show off in the circle of acquaintances.
One of these violent hikers was soon ordered by the mountain guide to stay behind me as the last one, in order to prevent me from falling back too violently. The last 150 meters has pushed me then at the ass upward. The wish for the good fairy had already built up in me several times before. Please beam me immediately back down to the quarters! Worth mentioning: At least 5 people including Paloma had to give up already on half a distance and have zockelt back with a specially provided auxiliary guide! And there was a report that someone had just suffered a heart attack.
And the result was also not really in appropriate relation to this tremendous strain! There one changed the completely wet sweaty shirt, stands in the violent sandstorm completely exhausted 100 meters above the craters and looks down on a lava crucible, which always remains in such a way, round and orange-red iridescent. There are other craters, of which one sees something only every ten minutes, namely just then, if they "have" an eruption, thus a glowing spark rain from itself shoot and spray... And in addition these silly, helmeted trekkers!
I knew the ascent just now from that very first Stromboli stay, where it had erupted violently. Strenuous thing already 1999, but I went off against the prohibitions existing already at that time on own fist and after good four hours - my own Rythmus following - just below the summit arrived. Suddenly the sound of the trudging steps of one of these trekking groups, whose leader immediately forbade me to go on alone here. Ok, ok, I reluctantly joined the group. "I'll pay you the 56,000 lire (about 30 euros today) tomorrow." So up, the last meters, watching eruptions! Actually, I had planned to spend the night at the top, but there were small rats as well as unappetizing larger insects scurrying around, so I immediately went back with the trekking group to the descent, which was much more pleasant. A few hundred meters of elevation gain, surrounded by tall reeds, you wade relatively quickly through soft, fine sand, which is wonderfully easy because it's downhill! Then - again on firmer ground - it starts to get on your nerves, because you have to constantly counteract the force of gravity on the way down: at the end, woeful feet with big blood blisters!
Resummee: Sparking rain better further down from the observatory or even by nightly boat trip from the water look! I have experienced that once from the ship coming from Naples, how the lava rolled like a glowing curry sausage the so-called Sciara del Fueco down into the sea, absolutely fascinating. But in general, the risk remains that the damned volcano did not like to spew as violently as one might have expected, as in this last ascent.
Oh yes, I then did NOT pay the 56,000 lire the next morning! Trekking group on the ass!