An extinct volcano, Panarea is home to 280 permanent residents and they live with passion. A level of warmth you feel much deeper than on the mainland.
This is something inherent to Italian culture and undoubtedly the reason that pasta, bread and long late nights still results in beautiful healthy people - at every age.
The lady in the local shop shouts “I Love you Bella” when you opt out of a plastic bag to carry your groceries.
The owners of our hotel speak to us like friends because we tell them - their property is magical, their island is beautiful. You feel the sense of community and it has been proven by science that a sense of community extends life by not years but decades.
There are no cars. Everywhere is best accessible by foot. you cant help but WALK up to 15,000 steps a day, winding paths splashes of pink flowers and blue sky, ocean views and historic homes. It is like poetry for the senses. You are inspired and overwhelmed with a sense of peace.
Every day we walk across the island to a rock ledge that we SWIM off. There are no sandy beaches. But when you know the ocean, there is no hesitation in going the distance. Mediterranean sun fills you with vitamin D and gently tans your skin. Your spirit lifts and the heat makes you calm. Locals and travellers swim from this point so you know it’s a winner.
A lady about 65 - skin like leather but an ageless energy rubs olive oil over her naked torso and waves to a friend across the rocks
(about the same age - skin slightly more supple) “Bonjourno … “
It makes you smile - that sense of community, of friendship.
SALT WATER is something that cannot be replicated. the perfect combination of minerals that gently cleanse, detoxify and nourish your skin - and muscles. “there is something sacred about salt it is in the ocean and it is in our tears” We are a large percentage water… and it makes sense that you feel changed after swimming in beautiful and pristine warm water. You feel safe, you feel free, You feel balanced.
The Aeolian islands are a cluster of extinct and one active volcanos off the coast of Sicily . This is powerful and beautiful water and I am certain that there are minerals in this water that cant be found on our coastline.
The salt was strong but my skin wasn’t dry. I was nourished.
Italy is of course known for wine. But in the heat it is important to keep hydrated with pure WATER. This helps our organs to flush toxins, keeps our eyes bright and our skin supple. Granita is available in many cafes. This is a traditional Sicilian desert made from crushed ice with fruit pulp or coffee and similar things. It is a nice alternative to deserts and is like a natural sports drink.
SLEEP on Panarea turns the notions of productivity on its head. But sometimes you have to step out of schedule to gain a fresh perspective. There are two main hotels on the Island that have night clubs that run until 2 - 4pm. You accept that and work with it. Eat dinner late. The atmosphere in the streets is energetic. Home about 12 am, use the last few hours to catch up on communication. Sleep until 9 30 am have a long and peaceful breakfast overlooking the ocean. A day on the island and boat exploring … repeat. Time is never wasted and the days just flow. Maybe that’s a result of being older, and not actually partying.
I'm quite happy to pop a melatonin, spend an hour under the moon watching Stromboli volcano with dance music in the background… knowing I have a few good hours of peaceful sleep ahead.
FOOD is life. Fresh seafood caught that day. Wild caught, Filled with essential nutrients and cooked with family recipes handed down over years. It’s things you cant find in cookbooks. Food that seems to fill every cell of your body. Food is not just nourishment for your physical body but also your soul. And this is what you feel.
Fresh Lemon and Olive Oil. Anti oxidants and good fats that improve your digestion and make your skin glow.
OLIVE OIL for beauty. It is impossible to travel practically with glass jar skincare products and hotel room products always leave a lot to be desired. However a 1L bottle of olive oil from the local shop provided a cleanser, face and body moisturiser, after sun, hair treatment and shaving oil. My skin and hair had never been more luscious.
It was about this time I let go of blow drying my hair … or even brushing it. And yet, every day as I stepped out in to the sunshine, overlooking the beautiful ocean. I felt beautiful. Surrounded by glamorous travellers and the holiday set. Not once did I feel self conscious. I felt strong and I felt beautiful. And I feel this is the power of the island. The power of letting go. of barefoot on dirt tracks, of letting go of inhibition. Jumping off boats and swimming off rock ledges. perhaps you absorb the beauty around you. Perhaps you start to see the beauty that always existed within you.
You feel - Love. for yourself and your surroundings.
Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto - Eat well, laugh often, love much.
And that is the key to a beautiful life.