The summit of Dame Etna
Mount Etna Travel Blog› entry 3 of 9 › view all entries
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 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.
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.
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.