In a Sea of Lava On the North Slopes of Etna

Dave the motorhome awoke with the sun on his windscreen this morning at Eden Parking, which prompted an unlikely discussion: do we head off to the mainland as planned, or do we head up the side of a rather lively volcano. Discussion over, we’ve found ourselves at 1800m, at the Piano Provenzana cable car station, on the northern slopes of Mount Etna (N37.79708 E15.04155).

Dave's parking spot for the night, one of Etna's smoking craters for a backdrop.
Dave’s parking spot for the night, one of Etna’s smoking craters for a backdrop.

We had a cracking night with Sue and Bob last night, which resulted in me opening the fridge door this morning, with a banging head to discover the jar of Branston Pickle they’d given us. Happy, happy days! Those guys have headed off in a different direction today, so we waved ’em goodbye and set off for here, via the supermarket to stock up for a few days on the hillside. Our Italian neighbours gave Ju some tips for where to go in Romania and confused us both as we’ve no idea which side of the face one should kiss first, almost resulting in a couple of head-butts for our fabulous neighbours!

There’s a quick video diary from Jay today (apologies for the sound – had to SHOUT, it’s a bit windy up here!), followed by a few photos.

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Ten year old lava flows either side of the parking area here, coming from high on the hill above us.
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Mother Nature 1: Human Engineering: 0
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Nothing grows on the new lava, not yet. It’s like the surface of Mars.
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Awesome weather today. The snow looks fairly old, as some of it’s covered in a layer of ash from the previous explosions over the past few weeks.
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Charlie 1: Rat Poison 0. He’s fighting fit, rubbing his face in the snow.
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What an absolutely awesome view. The weather forecast for tomorrow says it’ll be foggy up here, so we made the most of it today with a couple of walks.
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Etna has a number of craters. The one smoking which we can see from here isn’t the one currently exploding every few days, that’s on the other side. We’re about 8km away from the action, far enough to be safe, we think.
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More concrete mangled in 2002 and 2003. Along one edge of the lava flow there’s a large old gas tank, which somehow avoided blowing itself to pieces.
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Bran-flippin-ston. Ju’s found some strong cheese here, stronger than extra-mature cheddar, and it goes superbly with my favourite vinegar-based chutney. Thanks again Bob and Sue, you’re heroes.
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Etna from the supermarket car park this morning.
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The view which persuaded us to stay a few days. Etna’s latest pattern of eruptions indicate it’ll be at least 2 weeks before it flings molten rock again, by which point we’ll be long gone, but you never know…

Cheers! Jay

10 Comments

    • Hi Roger and Dot

      It was a great location, albeit a tad windy! It was even worth the sleepless nights thinking we were about to be engulfed in a lava flow as the views in the morning were spectacular. Etna is now my favourite volcano (sorry Vesuvius) and I strongly recommend a trip to see it if you get the chance.

      Julie

  1. Brilliant view and photo’s. Loving the snow against the blue sky makes the whole scene look very picturesque. Glad Charlie is doing well, pawfect news.

    • Thanks Mark

      We’re so lucky to get to visit some of these places, they are amazing – our photos don’t do them justice!

      Julie

  2. Looks like a great place to be , we are a bit envious !!!!! Glad the branston hit the spot> Take care and safe travelling. We will meet up again somewhere for more wine and cheese !!!!

    • Hope the ferry crossing was kind to you both. When you venture back to Sicily I really recommend a night on Etna, the views are amazing and our photos don’t do the scenery justice.

      Jay says he is rationing the Branston, but it seems to be on every meal except breakfast!

      Have a safe trip and please keep in touch – promise not to inflict any strange local wine on you next time!

      Julie

  3. Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the great blog and the lovely piccies.

    Your journey is very inspiring and I have enjoyed living vicariously through your blogs, as I sit at my desk. :)

    Love the views from Dave and thank you for keeping me in touch with the motorhome dream. I am currently looking where we can go away this Easter weekend in our Burstner!!

    I hope Charlie keeps well and he’s obviously enjoying his motorhoming adventures!

    Stay safe and keep on blogging!

    • Hi

      Thanks for getting in touch – glad you’re getting a little bit of travel in while working, other peoples blogs kept us going while we were planning our tour.

      Have a great Easter wherever your Burtstner takes you – hopefully somewhere snow-free and sunny.

      Julie :)

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