Climbing Mt Etna

Trip Start Apr 26, 2008
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Italy  , Sicily,
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mt Etna, which I'm sure you've heard of was one of the sites that I most wanted to visit in Italy. Strictly speaking you're not meant to climb Etna without a guide, but I was with Dad, and well rules that don't seem to serve a purpose are considered as recommendations for him so off we went. Etna is 3300m high and we took a cabin lift halfway up before climbing to a height of about 3100m. It was like walking it was like walking in a lunar landscape or a black desert. The climb was quite difficult because it was like climbing a giant sand dune but wow it was worth it for the views! You can see all the towns below as well as the sea. Dad had visited Etna recently and told me about how he'd gone to a fumarole (where poisonous gas escapes from the earth). I was terrified of going near it because I figured it must be hollow under the ground where the steam and gas comes out and I was scared of falling through the earth into some boiling hot pit of lava. Yes I know it's rather dramatic but I really was scared! Anyway, for some stupid reason I trust Dad so we walked up to this fumarole (off the path that you're meant to stick to). It was fantastic! The air at 3100m is freezing and standing in steaming vapour is just wonderful to warm the bones again. On the way up we also overturned many rocks and were surprised to find that there are heaps of little red lady birds living on Etna. What they eat I don't know because there are no plants anywhere - just another curiosity of nature. On the way back down we passed a crater, and Dad decided he wanted to go into the middle despite the sides of the crater being sharp and slippery rocks and scree and you could easily fall straight into the hole at the centre. I said as much, but couldn't persuade him otherwise. So I watched uneasily as he climbed down into the crater. Everything was going fine and I was taking pictures of Dad in the crater, when he slipped and fell. I think my heart nearly stopped as I was terrified he'd fall into the crater. But he came out relatively unscathed, with some nasty scratches and a bit of blood. He said to me go on say 'I told you so' but I just laughed. I suppose he got me back for the time I was on the scooter and nearly shot off the side of a cliff haha! 
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