The summit of Dame Etna

Mount Etna Travel Blog

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View on Mount Etna from plane.

We were expected at the Taormina Bus terminal around 08.00 o´clock the next morning. At 7.30 Michael was standing at the door and asked if he could give us a ride down. Well, this time we said yes! The hospitality of Michael and Rose was great. We weren´t familiar with the villa´s habits and much did we know: instead of a breakfast spread at a breakfast table they bought us breakfast in Taormina, at a lovely pasticceria. With fresh espresso and cappucino to boot! Just lovely! After breakfast they dropped us of at the bus terminal. The SAT bus arrived right on time. A silver double deck bus, half full. The bus stopped at various places around Taormina to pick up more tourists and by the time we hit the highway the bus was completely full with expectant passengers of all origins.

The jeeps will drive you up since the cable way was destroyed in 2001.

The bus took us through Nicolosi up to the Etna Refuge of the Silvestri Craters at 1.900 mtrs of Mount Etna Sud. At this point you can explore the Silvestri Craters, buy souvenirs at the numerous souvenir shops, get lunch at one of the restaurants OR you can go up by cable way to the place where the jeeps will take you up to the summit. Untill 2001 you could take a cable way up for the second part, but since this part of the cable way was destroyed in the eruptions of 2001 we had to settle for the jeeps. The ride up was nothing we had expected. No road was visible. Only stakes in the ground showed the turns the jeep was supposed to take. Jeeps were coming and going, passing each other on the wrong side of what was supposed to be the road.

The former office building.
It was total destruction. The ground was covered in black ashes, if it was ashes we saw. Maybe it was just solid lava. It was weird. And beautiful. And alien. Are we on the moon?

We were dressed in layers of clothing, because it can be quite cold at 3000 mtrs. But we didn´t need our gloves. There was no wind. The experience of walking around the five craters, born between 2000 and 2007 was unearthly.  We were walking in a black dessert and couldn´t imagine just two years earlier there was a parking lot on the spot where smoke was coming out of a big crater. We joined Andrea, an english speaking guide, who explained how strange it feels to come up on the summit and realize your office building is resting in layers and layers of sooth and ashes. Only the roof was showing. The steam out of the craters can, after five years, still reach a temperature of 300 degrees.

The 5 ´small´ craters.
If you dug for 5 centimeters in the ground, the steam was coming up. Rocks laying around were cold on top, but if you felt under the rock you had to be careful not to burn yourself. The whole trek around the craters left us in awe. It was devastation incarnated.

We were very lucky with the weather, it was sunny, clear and no wind. And just enough clouds to realize we were walking on them. Ever walked on clouds? I mean...it is dreamlike. The just swirl around you, one minute it is clear, the next you are touching them. And then they are gone again, just leaving a rainbow at your feet. When I look back at the pictures it is a shame I´m such a bad photographer. It just didn´t catch the moment as we felt it.

spocklogic says:
Nicely written and informative. Your photos capture an essence and feel of the place.
Posted on: Jun 03, 2011
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View on Mount Etna from plane.
View on Mount Etna from plane.
The jeeps will drive you up since …
The jeeps will drive you up since…
The former office building.
The former office building.
The 5 ´small´ craters.
The 5 ´small´ craters.
Walking around the crater. It is b…
Walking around the crater. It is …
Steam is coming out of one the you…
Steam is coming out of one the yo…
The ride to the summit is great.
The ride to the summit is great.
La Funivia dell´Etna Sud
La Funivia dell´Etna Sud
Mount Etna Sights & Attractions review
Great experience on Mount Etna
Where ever you are on Sicily, you can´t miss her: Mount Etna! Situated on the East side of the island and with her height of 3330 mtrs she is one of … read entire review
Mount Etna
photo by: Vlindeke