|| Home |||April-18th-2003|
The next day we had changed our plans at short notice in the morning because the volcano Etna (3.348 m) seemed to be wrapped in fewer clouds than the days before. Thus we went to explore the most active volcano of Europe. We started at 9 o´clock in Taormina. There are principally three different ways that lead up on the south side of the Etna. We chose, more or less coincidentally, the road from Nicolosi through Passo Cannelli, which you can already drive up from Pedara. The road is, like the other two, very well maintained, but in our opinion it offers a nicer scenery than the road through Zafferana, which we chose for the way back. In addition you can see impressive fields of lava from the outbreak in summer 2001. They cross the road and sometimes you drive through them like in a tunnel. The area will be subjected to changes again and again because each outbreak of the volcano causes changes in the landscape. Most people are content with visiting the Crateri Silvestri, two side crater from 1892. The one who wants to climb up the Etna has two possibilities - by foot or by all-wheel bus. The cable railway was unfortunately destroyed by the outbreak of the Etna in 2001. By the all-wheel buses you can go up to a height of 2.750 m. Here the restricted area begins. It´s possible to go further but on own risk. A ride on the all-whell bus costs 38 € (round trip). We only took the bus for the way up. It nevertheless still cost 25 €. A mountain guide is included in the price. Unfortunately, our guide could speak only Italian and French. Thus it was somewhat difficult to get some information. At a height of 2.750 m we could walk over lava fields and it was ingenious to feel still the warmth through the cooled-off lava. More than a year after the outbreak of the volcano the radiant heat is still so intensive that it was pleasant to wear shorts and T-shirt despite quite low temperatures. ´The formation of clouds above the Etna is just as fascinating as their speed when passing the volcano. Occasionally the clouds opened us a view of the main crater. Past at new vegetation and the destroyed cable railway station the descent took us approx. 1¾ hours. If you want to walk up and down, you should take approx. 5 to 6 hours into account. Please also consider that there is only one way (at least on the south side) which must be shared with the all-wheel buses. Thus be always with the wind because of the whirled up dust from the buses. After our Etna experience we drove to the "Alcantara Gorge", our swimming pleasure for the day.