Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Mount Etna, Sicily 2018 ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Date:  14th August  2018

Travelled:  122 kilometres from Syracuse to Mount Etna, both in Sicily

Visited:  Mount Etna

Stayed:  Etna, Sapienza car-park โ‚ฌ12 for campers. Just a bin.  N37.68808, E15.00330

Our second evening in Syracuse passes quietly.  The sosta wifi actually worked tonight so we updated all our apps and devices.  Other than that there was a couple of thunderstorms circling and some welcome rain which helped cool things down.  We tidy up, pay the man and roll out the gate.

From this point on things turn to custard.  Rolling out of town the battery light starts flickering on the Hymerโ€™s dash at anything above 2,500 rpm.  The alternator, hasnโ€™t completely failed, but itโ€™s overcharging hence I can hear the relay isolating it.  Not the sort of thing to ignore, so we continue north as planned at a reduced pace for Catania.  We arrive at the outskirts of Catania, stop and do some Googling.  Catania is a very large town, sprawled along the coast.  There are 3 Fiat dealers so we head to the closest, closed, then the next closed and the last was closed as well.  More Googling comes up with some autoelectricians, thereโ€™re closed as well.

It appears all Sicily goes on holidays for 2 weeks in August.  Having unsuccessfully driven around Catania for half a day, we give up and go on to Mount Etna.  Pam has often spoken of her desire to spend the night on an active volcano, so we start the long climb up Etna.

Turning for Etna, at 3,329 metres, the highest active volcano in western Europe.
Evidence of the 2002 eruption is evident from over a 1000 metres on the southern approach.
We stop in a lay-by at 1,500 metres (according to the sign). Looking up the mountain, the various paths of the 2002 laver flow down the mountain are evident.  We see several houses half consumed and now abandoned, as we proceed.
We arrive at the Sapienza car-park. At 2,000 metres itโ€™s as high and far as we can drive. The huge car-park does allow over-night stops for motorhomes. So we find a spot, lock up and do some exploring.
There are lots of options to explore Etna, the most expensive looks the best.  It would seem unlikely we will visit Etna again.  So itโ€™s โ‚ฌ64pp return for the gondola to 2,600 metres then all terrain bus to 3,000 metres.
We have to wait 20 minutes for the next bus to the top. Itโ€™s cold at this altitude and given the wind chill, very cold.
Off the bus, we gather or perhaps huddle together is a more accurate description. Our package includes a guided walk, so once he is good and ready we walk off along the defined paths.
Despite the wind and chill, we are in Italy and looking your best is important.
Pam enjoys Etna…
Walking the crater rims is quite surreal. Like something from a science fiction movie. But you can always turn and look down on Catania and the Sicilian coast line to bring back to reality.
If you find a nice bit of steam seeping out of the ground, you can kneel down and warm up a little.
A quick picture of ourselves as the weather closes.
Looking down the path taken by the buses. Itโ€™s an amazing view.

Within a minute our two the weather has closed, what feels like a little drizzle is sleet. It just gets heavier and heavier as we start making our way back to the bus. Thankfully our bus driver actually drove up another 100 meters or so to collect us. We were lucky, we were wearing our Gortex jackets. The supermodels in our group were not.

Within half an hour we are back safely in the Hymer, having a drink or two.  Tomorrows another day and Iโ€™m hoping we can organise a repair for the alternator.

Michael and Pam

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