Splendors of Sicily – Mt. Etna

Today is May first – May Day – a National Holiday in Italy when many businesses are closed and families gather for barbecues much like Americans do on the Fourth of July. It is a good day for us to make the ascent up to the top of one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mt. Etna, towering above at just under 11,000 feet elevation. We drive in our bus up to 6,000 feet where we transfer to a cable car and finally into four-wheel-drive busses to reach about 10,000 feet above sea level.

Tall Alberto boards the cable car up Mt. Etna
The vehicles which take us from the top of the cable car almost to the top of the volcano
Driving up in the 4-wheel drive bus the views get more and more dramatic as we ascend
Getting off the bus we walk through the remains of the winter’s snowpack
We are about to go around the rim of a plugged crater like those people are doing up on the ridge.
Now we are in about the same position where the folks in the previous photo were. Remember, this is hiking done at 10,000 feet after we’ve just come from sea level (gasp – pant).
It is a lovely day for walking around the rim of a volcanic crater! We really are very lucky with our weather today. It is super windy and cold, but at least the visibility is excellent.
Our band of intrepid Toto Tourists with the smoking summit of Mt. Etna in the background.
Dan is thrilled to have better weather than his first visit to this mountain.
Behind us is a crater that exploded in December 2018 – just a few months ago!
The emissions on the right side of this photo are a darker color than the others. Our guide tells us this is because it contains ash – indicating it is a current eruption.
We descend through the clouds as we return from our day’s exciting adventure.
Driving back to the hotel we enjoy views of Castelmola, the hilltop village where we went to the Turrisi Bar yesterday evening.

After a siesta to recharge from our high-altitude exertions, a group of us go out together to Ristorante Granduca in Taormina.

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