We were picked up just before 9 on August 5 by Marco for an exciting day trip to Mt Etna. Weather conditions were perfect: not too hot and not too sunny. First Marco drove our group of 6 to a bar for a last toilet visit or a coffee before heading for the mountain. The bar served delicious espresso and Americano for an unbelievable price of just € 1.80 total for both! All the while Marco shared information about mount Etna, its history and the schedule for the day. First a bumpy offroad trip in the landrover, showing the flora on two older lava flows. Did you know that only after 500 years all plants and trees can grow on lava? The pioneer is always broom.
After the offroad we went up to Rifugio Sapienza where we took the cable car (in my view the €60 for the ticket is very expensive for a 20 minutes ride plus minibus ride!) up from 1.900m to 2.500m and than by minibus further up to 2.920m. Fantastic views, stormy weather and as expected chilly. Marco told the group a lot about recent Etna activities and about the landscape full of craters, ash and lava. There was even a spot with ice hidden under the ash! Very impressive to walk on an active volcano and still feeling safe. Constantly there was a roaring sound from the top and sometimes explosions. Normal procedure according to Marco and he explained that Etna is a friendly volcano: eruptions start not with a big explosion but a smaller. Lava flows are slow due to the low percentage of silica (yes i learned a lot that day). After this excitement back by cable car. Down at the parking we bought some delicious honey from the Etna. Recommended! We had a picnic in a lower green area, where we had the chance to try some local Sicilian food. Last but not least Marco brought us in one of the lava tunnels, another adventure under the ground with helmets and torch light where we could see a little bit history of a lava flow and the process how a lava tunnel is formed. Before heading back to Catania Marco showed us the valley of the ox an impressive lava caldera formed by two eruptions more than 60.000 years ago. Thank you again Marco for this unforgettable tour!
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