Alas, all good things must come to an end and so it is with Southern Italian volcano tours. Yesterday I made it up Etna as far as you are allowed to go, about 3,000 meters (the top is a bit above 3,300, but it’s closed due to some recent eruptions). The wind blew heavy most of the time with gusts reaching 70 kilometers an hour, according to the weather report, enough to knock over somebody weighing 74 kilograms.
Despite the dodgy weather and the occasionally extreme conditions, it was an excellent walk almost entirely through hard-packed snow. Even from my close up view from right under the peak for several hours yesterday, the peak remained obscured the whole time by cloud cover giving the illusion that I was at the top of the mountain. Today, of course, it has been clear with Etna’s peak visible from Catania. In the late afternoon a huge plume of smoke emerged from one of the top craters in what is sixth eruption this year.
It is with a bit of regret that I read the eruption is not expected to cancel any flights out of Catania today. Guess the volcano tour is really over. I will update with a link when my article is published.