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Published: September 17th 2017
Doing our best not to blow off the edge into a crater
Geo: 37.8253, 15.2667
We were a little worried that we would not make it to Mt Etna, which would have been a shame as it lays claim to being the largest active volcano in Europe. There is only one public bus a day that goes to Etna and the tours we looked at were all full. My Hail Mary pass was a couple emails to people who have private driving companies. It turned out to be a great call because we scored a nice rate on a car/driver for 4 hours for a very good price.
Giovanni met us in front of the hotel after breakfast and drove us over. The language barrier prevented significant communication, but he was kind enough to pull over at good photo ops. When we got to the parking area about halfway up, we parted company and started looking around. We opted not to take the ski lift up to the top. We thought hiking around some of the craters from prior eruptions looked challenging and scenic. We were right.
The ground is really loose--almost like beach sand, but it is made of volcanic pebbles. It makes hiking uphill very challenging. The higher we got, the stiffer and more
One of many amazing views
aggressive the wind became. By the time we got near the top I just gage up and sat down so that I could fix my center of gravity in place.
We exchanged cameras with another couple so everyone could have good pictures. They had a terrible time understanding my bad Italian. Things went more smoothly once I realized they were French and I switched to my poor French instead. They had created a little NES with pebbles that they wanted in their photo. Somehow it ended up in ours as well.
We worked our way around several craters in our two hours. I'm a little embarrassed to say we had to stop halfway around one because the high winds were freaking me out. Mt Etna has a thriving flavored honey industry. L wanted to bring some home so we stopped and did a tasting. I do t remember what she bought, just that she tried to shortchange the guy.
Giovanni brought us two dusty ladies back to the hotel where we refreshed in the Ionian Sea. The water was really beautiful. The bottom is made of rocks, not sand. They are very well worn though and not especially uncomfortable.
Early flight to Rome tomorrow.
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