Mount ETNA

Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in all of Europe
Reaching some 3300 Meters in height, Mount Etna dominates the entire north east of Sicily
This view is from about 20 kilometers away from the cone

Etna is thought to be as old as 35000 years
Here we can see vegetation has re-established itself in a area of volcanic rock
In fact the volcanic soil is very fertile and supports vineyards and orchards in Sicily

Fortunately we had a trusty mercedes A180 to scream around the mountain roads of Etna

This picture was taken from the drop off point for the Etna tour
having been driven up the side by large trucks

A close up view of the main cauldren
The tour is a walking tour around a side cauldren

Looking back down torwards western Sicily from some 3000 Meters high

Looking down on the tour trucks heading down for another load
In the foreground is a desert camel train

On a closer view it is revealed that the camel train is actually a troupe of insane hikers

The tour consists of a march around this side cauldron

On the way we are immediately met with volcanic stream coming out of the ground

The steam smells like suphur and one can feel the heat coming out of the ground

Getting closer to our walk around cauldron we see it preparing for
our vist by wafting huge amounts of volcanic steam

A group heading around the rim of the cauldron
I am always stuck by the blackness of the volcanic rocks

This picture shows the relative size of the cauldron verses the people

John on the side of the cauldron with the main cauldron in
the background and the drop off / pick up point for the trucks

Back at the pick up area we see a aother group rounding the side of the cauldron

This is a favourite picture, like something out of Dante's Inferno

Back down at the bottom we drove around to the north side of the volcano
Here again we can see vegatation which has growth
out of the volcanic soil of a previous eruption

Fortunately this stop sign was here to prevent the last eruption from piling onto the road !