By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
Early Friday morning, we sailed south from Amalfi through the Tyrrhenian Sea into the funnel-shaped Strait of Messina.
On our left was the big toe at the bottom of the mainland of Italy.
To our right was the large island of Sicily, the football being kicked by Italy’s boot.
Almost anywhere the sea funnels into a strait, mariners know to expect strong and sometime treacherous currents.
And then down below us, the Eurasian plate is moving south toward the African plate. One of the hotspots, where the plates grind against each other, is southern Italy.
Which gives us Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, nearly constantly bubbling over like a bowl of Arrabiata sauce left on the burner.
The day dawned as a mix of blue sky and scary black clouds. We went up to the Duomo, recently emerged from restoration scaffolding.
THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE
And then storm clouds of a different kind arrived. Out in the harbor, an Italian Red Cross ship arrived. It docked a few hundred feet behind Silver Cloud, met by squadrons of health care workers, police, and government officials.
Aboard were several hundred people plucked from the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya. In the past few days, I learned, more than 6,000 arrived in Messina. Their past was so awful they chose to risk their lives to escape; their future is uncertain.
There but for fortune go you or I.
A MESSINA ALBUM
A TAORMINA AND MOUNT ETNA ALBUM
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