Words and photos by Katy Lawrence
At the distant end of a long archipelago of islands, is an island called Alicudi. A perfectly formed mound of ancient lava peaking out from the ocean with rocky beaches that descend into the sea, first clear, then a curious green that fades into a deep blue as the seabed falls quickly away into the mysterious deep. From our terrace in the hills I watch distant swimmers below and men in fishing boats, making their way back to the port with their early morning catch.
Every morning we wake and watch the sun rise across the sea. It appears from behind distant islands in the East and lights the ocean like a torch, brightening the wide skies above us as we sip tea and feel like the last people alive. Some mornings there is a gentle September breeze and we wear wooly jumpers until the sun is high enough to warm and wake our sleepy bodies. One morning, there is no wind at all and the sea stretches out like an oil slick, with sparks of light that gently dance across the surface.
The island itself is a nostalgic step into the past. With no roads and mules to carry your bags up the steep mountain paths, the island feels like it belongs to another time. The stone houses are built into the hillsides and pink bougainvillea and vines wind themselves around the terraces and frame the distant views of Mount Etna and mainland Sicily. Both are hidden far away behind morning mists, appearing only in the afternoon as the sun makes its way across the sky.
Spending our days tucked into the hillside viewing the world from high above, night after night – we become silent, watchful and curious. I dream now of the island as an ever-changing receptacle of light, the quality of which is altered by seasons and weather and the ever spinning earth. As the sun dips down behind the hill, you are cast into semi dusk and the sky turns pink. And that is how the little island of Alicudi appears to me now; a dusky pink dream, a place I go to when the world is asking too much of me. I may never return, for there are other islands across the world to explore, but I am comforted by the thought that Alicudi will always be there and beyond my existence will remain there; the sun rising and falling across the centuries, a little piece of land remaining steadfast and unchanged.
Related articles: 9 Questions with Liz Simpson, Co-Founder of Kip Hideaways