I’m coming to you with another blog post with screaming feet yet again. I started this post last night, and fell asleep as I was typing…. it was a long day. Yesterday, I climbed the tallest volcano in Europe, and it was worth every step (although I wasn’t saying that during the climb). I think I can now justify a few extra cannoli in the next few days…
If you’re ever considering going to Mt. Etna, let me tell you that it is a LONG day. It’s wonderful, but it is a heavy day. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to prepare my backpack and be ready for the day, and then my friend and I left at 6:00 for the bus station. The bus arrived at 6:30 because we had to catch the bus in Catania to Mt. Etna at 8:10. The bus from Catania to Mt. Etna (it’s in Catania) is about an hour. There is only one road in and out of Mt. Etna, so you have to be on time for everything, and that’s damn near impossible in Sicily. Also, be prepared to carry lots of cash… you’ll have to pay for bus fares and other costs in Etna in cash.
My friend and I debated on whether or not to get a tour before arriving. It’s a bit expensive, so we asked around with some of the locals to get their opinion. They told us that it wasn’t necessary to get a tour if we were willing to walk… oh boy. We regretted this for a little bit. You can see most of the interesting parts of Etna by walking, but it is a HIKE. It’s actually not far by measurements, but the path is challenging. I wanted to take the cable car to the top, but my friend really pushed me to do the walk. Although I was slightly concerned (and a little pissed) at first, it was so worth it. He literally pushed me up the mountain when I needed it and thought that my legs couldn’t continue. I learned that 90% of the challenge is mental. If I could shut out my brain that was yelling “STOP YOU IDIOT!!! WHY????”, I could push through.
By the time that we reached the top, all I wanted was a Birra Moretti and a nap. However, I was immediately overwhelmed by the incredible view. My friend kept asking me, “Why are you so quiet?”. I was truthfully stunned by how beautiful the view was, and because I had a second to reflect about this experience. I came so close to not doing this experience because of nervousness and fear. Today, I got to look as far as the eyes can see at the landscape of Sicily. I felt like I could hold my arms out and hug this country, and touch the sky. It was so special to be standing there today, just reflecting upon how much I’ve overcome and reminding myself of the amazing experiences that come when you have courage.
After taking a few pictures at the top, we stopped to eat lunch, and then explored some of the smaller areas of the volcano near the top. You cannot go to the very top of the mountain, but you can get close. We also sat for a little bit to relax because neither of us could bare to walk another step. When we needed to get back to the bus, we took the cable car down. It was so fun, but terrifying. If the wind was too strong, they would stop the lift temporarily to prevent the cars from flipping. We stopped twice, and it was so scary! After all was done, we caught our buses back to Ragusa. It was a challenging, but wonderful, day!
I’ll be adding more pictures later! Some of my pictures are refusing to upload, and I don’t have the time to wait for them to work right now. Check back soon!