229 – Saturday 5th December 2015:
Guest writer, by popular request!:
Today is E-Day, Katherine came up with a place that is (in her opinion) far enough from Etna but close enough for her not to be struck of my x-mas card list But before setting off from the campsite, the two went running. I got such a bad conscience that I went swimming instead (well actually I love swimming). The water was probably as warm as our showers in the campsite. I also had a male guest watcher whose best part got very excited seeing me on the beach fully dressed…
We arrived at the very idilic harbour of Taormina to park the van. By public transport we went up to this hilltop town (I am not sure why the two always complain about the small roads, the bus driver charged up the roads as it was the motorway). Katherine guided us through the town like a local (pointing out restaurants that they already visited). Arriving at the wonderful gardens we were greeted by Mount Etna spitting lots of smoke. Fantastic sight. James took some really good photos as you can see for yourself. On our way to the town centre we struck gold. We saw the Etna light show! Amazing how much we could see and how high Etna could spit out the lava. But Etna lost the battle to wine. Two of my companions who again cannot be named due to confidentiality reasons left the light show before the end! Can you imagine this. The biggest happening in Sicily that night and they wonder off for some drinks.
We got the last bus back into town and had a good night (at least I had one because Katherine lost big time playing cribb against me, they might claim it is beginners luck, but I know better)
Open air showers amongst the lemon trees – shame they were near cold!
Our overnight pitch
Taormina – Part of the Roman cistern.
Taormina is full of small street up and down off the main drag.
Whilst it was still daylight we wandered into the Park let to the town by Forence Trevelyn
The weird and wonderful structures are called ‘beehives’.
From the balcony of the gardens we could see the smoke plumes from Etna.
As the sun was setting, the clouds cleared and it got a bit more interesting.
We just made it out of the park before we got locked in and walked through the town
From the large balcony, Etna started putting on a show for us …
… and it got better and better
Along the coast to Giardini Naxos, where Chardonnay is parked and Etna, not so very far away!
Our overnight view: looking up to Taormina from the parking on the harbour wall
230 – Sunday 6th December 2015:
Katherine sold me the blogging as “due to popular demand”. I think she is just so happy to have found a poor sod who does the typing.
Today we got up late and left even later. The weather was not really nice therefore it made no sense pushing Katherine out of bed.
We arrived at the parking lot for the cable car station. I inquired about the fares. They are really taking you to the cleaners, 30 Euros to go up to the middle station and another 32 Euros to go up to the top. But as the weather was nice and Etna was busy smoking I decided that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and went up. Katherine and James could not be persuaded even with bribes to come with me. Once up it was an amazing sight. Etna was busy billowing out smoke. I would also hear the noise of the “explosions”. To some extend it sounded like a steam engine. The trips up to the crater were cancelled and visitors were advised to stay near the middle station. Watching Etna for nearly 2h I knew why. From time to time he jugged out stones, too. I did not see any lava. I very much enjoyed my trip up to see Etna. Katherine was able to secure her position of my x-mas list again.
Now I have to check my flight details to see whether my flight leaves on time tonight.
To all dear readers thanks for staying with me. Enjoy the blogging.
K’s postscript. On the evening trip to the airport, Kerstin was delighted to be able to observe Etna erupt again and then we could see a growing red lava flow. Really amazing.
Kerstin went above the cloud line
Kerstin saw a number of eruptions, smoke and spitting of debris. Sorry, the video clips are not going on the blog … I’d have to upload to YouTube and embed!
Smoke and steam
Evidence: She was most definitely there!