out-of-this-world atop Mount Etna
So you may have noticed that I say this a lot but I am not exaggerating when I say this. Visiting Mount Etna was one of the most incredible days of my life!!! First of all I just have to mention that I have no prior volcano experience. I've never really been too interested in Volcanos but I just figured taking an excursion to learn about Mount Etna would be a fun experience. 'Fun' was not the word to describe my experience at all.
Words I would use to describe the experience (if any could possibly do it justice) would be more like: astounding, surreal, mind blowing, and out of this world.
Our guide Luca picked us up in his van from our seaside town of Taormina and took us up the Volcano. When we reached the Volcano, we were transported to a whole different universe. The landscape of the Volcano was completely different than anything I've ever seen. We learned that the species of plants on Mount Etna are endemic and special to the area. The ground around Mount Etna produces a plethora of amazing fruits, herbs, and other plants. Etna plays such a massive role in Sicily because it produces many of the resources the people use to live their lives. I'd never even thought about how a volcano could so greatly impact a society but learning about Etna made me realize just how important and special the volcano really is to the Sicilian people. Our guide taught us about the flow of lava by leading us inside caves which was so cool. Another really cool fact I was surprised to find out is that Mount Etna is an active volcano that had its last eruption just 25 days before we visited it.
One of my favorite things was arriving on top of the Volcano to do our little Trek to the crater. When we stepped out of the van, the temperature was drastically colder than our seaside town of Taormina. The crazy thing is that you can still see the seaside from on top the volcano.
The views from the trek were just gorgeous and absolutely amazing. Learning about the volcano made me want to become a geologist because it was so interesting. The most surreal moment of the trek was when we descended the mountain. Nobody else was left on the volcano except for our group of 8 people. It was almost as if we were the last ones on earth. To me, the trip to Mount Etna was truly an experience that words cannot describe. As we got into the car, I may have even shed a tear or two because it was just so astounding.