A Big Event
28 October 2019
Mount Etna is like Ailsa Craig in that it is always there [now you are being completely ridiculous; Ailsa Craig is a 99 hectares and 338 metres high lump of granite in the Firth of Clyde, the volcanic plug of an extinct volcano; Mt Etna is an active stratovolcano 3350 metres high and covers an area of 460 square miles; no more silly analogies please. Ed].
Anyway, we wanted to visit and the best plan seemed to be to go to a marina in Catania, hire a car for the day, take the cable car and then special four wheel drive bus to 2990 metres and walk around a crater and watch smoke, ash and steam spew from the top of this mighty volcano. So we did.
Catania was our base for this and we stayed at the Diporto Nautico Etneo which was only OK but it was a case of location, location.
Architecturally Catania is quite fascinating, with 18th century baroque buildings and the Greco-Roman theatre with extensive galleries, evidence of plundered marble, and houses from the 19th century onwards taking advantage of the safe structure of its foundations and walls. Well worth the visit.
We were up early to be at the cable car for opening time at 0900. The ride up was pretty impressive and then it was into a 4x4 bus along with a party of French tourists. On arrival at the bus terminus in a barren landscape of volcanic dust and grit, surrounded by lava flows and with Etna steaming and smoking threateningly, we were met by a guide who took us around a mini caldera or crater from an eruption. We were at just under 3000 metres and with the risk of mini eruptions no-one was allowed to go higher.
We just love volcanoes – they are where one gets up close and personal with the core and essence of our planet and there is a real sense of how puny are human beings and all our constructions and engineering. The power of the natural forces in our planet is beyond anything our science has the capacity to design and build. We are in awe and have our respect renewed when visiting volcanoes.
We took photograph after photograph and really enjoyed our visit, and especially that David and Jacquie had such a great experience too – a must do on Sicily.
We then went out to the coast and visited a few small harbours and villages before returning to Catania.
Photos in the Gallery