Sicily 2016

 

We spent 2-weeks in Sicily, and visiting Mandy, Mike and the kids in Geneva on our way home. Below is a selection of photos from the trip.

 

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We spent some time in Cefalu. The photo above is taken from Rocca di Cefalu

 

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Rocca di Cefalu is a Norman fortification overlooking the town.

 

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It was very hot (high 30’s) and granita was most welcome!

 

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We did a walk in Piano Sempria, limestone hills to the south of Cefalu

 

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We were surrounded by fabulous butterflies

 

Our second week was spent in the Mt Etna national park:

 

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We explored the cinder-cones of the Sartorius area of the Etna national park

 

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Sartorius: named after the scientist that researched the craters

 

The main target for the trip was to climb Mt Etna on Lance’s birthday.

 

Etna has currently elevated activity, with the last eruption only 2-months ago! The summit is out of bounds to unguided walkers, therefore Julie arranged for us to join a guided trip.

 

 

Looking at the eruption of two months ago you would not believe that ‘ordinary folk’ would be allowed anywhere near the summit! But no, it was open to guided parties, and it was awesome – in the truest use of the word!

 

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At nearly 11000ft Mt Etna summit was going to be colder than the 28degC around our hotel. We were kitted out for a typical summers walk in Scotland as this photos shows: the steaming summit of Etna ~2km behind Julie

 

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The height of Mt Etna is not fixed, it’s a volcano, but the summit currently is 10900ft.

 

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Recently crusted-over lava from the May eruption still steams and smokes, and

 

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everywhere the stench of sulphur

 

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This is the most alien environment I have ever experienced. And it’s well seen why the ‘casual’ walker is not allowed at the summit: the air stings the eyes and lungs to quite an unnerving extent – breathing by shallow breaths!

 

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Our guide describing the location and events of May’s eruption: the new lava filling the active crater to a depth of 300mtrs!

 

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Descending the black ash from numerous eruptions

 

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We pass the site of an observatory that was completely buried during an eruption in 2002

 

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The eruption crater that caused the burial of the observatory

 

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Looking back to the summit of Etna behind the 2002 crater

 

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It was a fabulous birthday:)

 

We did some eating and drinking as well:

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