18.04. Detlef and me were meeting at the airport, we drank coffee and nearly missed our flight, were we had seat “1A” and seat “1B”. Our plane landed by 21:00 o’clock, then we met Andrea who was our tourist-guide and Raphael. It was raining when we drove to Milazzo and spent the night at a bed-and-breakfast lodging place (B and B).
19.04. We visited Stromboli by a hydrofoil craft. Next stations of the journey were: the observatory, the way to the top of Stromboli, the old path, the fire-simmering, first red eruptions, twilight, frequent and strong eruptions, the top, photos, big impressions! Return down the volcano in the shortest possible time, pizza and beer for reward. Details Stromboli
20.04. We took the early ferry-boat to Vulcano, ate Paninis which were extremely tasty, climbed to the top, sulphur, steam, cool, descent, volcano ashes, ferry-boat, Stromboli, repack, another ascension with a new route, breaking off at 500m (from 950m) because of rain, descent, pizza and red wine. Details Vulcano
21.04. The hydrofoil craft didn’t depart due to bad weather conditions as well as the ferry-boat later by lunchtime. We were fixed. Walking through down-town, fire-slide, but nothing to be seen due to drizzle-rain, average pizzeria, going back home.
22.04. The ship departed! From Milazzo we drove with Andrea’s Land-Rover directly to the Etna. After our Land-Rover had a breakdown nearby Messina, an engine-breakdown and the breakdown-lorry had to come, we took an extremely tasty lunch, rent a Fiat Panda and went to the north of the Etna. There we saw one stream of lava which is indicated to be from 2002, then the „Grotta dei Ladroni“. Finally I took the flight back and arrived by 00:30 a. m. at Frankfurt/Main. Details Etna

Day 01 - 03: Stromboli

We departed by 07:30 o’clock with the hydrofoil craft, approached several Liparic islands on the way and arrived by 10:00 o’clock at Stromboli. I first enjoyed one coffee in the sun, and then I took up quarters at „da Luciano“(I shared my room with Detlef). Our journey program started with an excursion to the observatory, later we spent a short time down-town – on our way Andrea stopped every few metres at people whom he knows in order to greet them 🙂 At the supermarket I bought water and chocolate, at our lodging place we got tasty pasta with tuna for lunch. I slept away for a short while, than we chatted and took a sunbath.

And by 15:30 we drank a cup of coffee and started our first tour towards the top of Stromboli crater. We walked our own way, not the tourists’s one, which leads to the top more directly. Many plants, views, frequently announcing ourselves at the guardia civil (each tourist group could only spend a limited time on the way an take a limited time of rest on the top of the Stromboli crater), and just a convenient way of walking. Then the first sight from the volcano’s top, the first eruptions, also some “red” we could see! An extended stop by the “Stream-of-Fire” from where we could see frequent big eruptions (with great noise, just how it normally has to be!). We continued our way further upwards, but faster in speed than we intended it before. We took a break short before the top of the volcano. We waited for the twilight and until we would take pictures from a side-view at the top but meanwhile saw great eruptions all the time – wow! Then we were allowed to step up to the top, which only a limited number of people dared to do. From there we could look directly inside the crater, see the lava, the simmering, the eruptions – somehow something crazy and hard to describe! We snapped endless pictures, but of course there was a time when we had to pack our equipment, no matter how hard it was (not so hard at least due to two very hard shock-waves with the latest eruptions). On the return from the top we jumped over volcanoes ashes, were nearly running for there were only 50 minutes left until 22:00 o’clock, when the Guardia Civil had to take notice of us. Andrea, our guide, said that he couldn’t make it faster than in 50 minutes up to now, and we counted on his abilities. When we arrived back at our lodging-place, took pizza with beer like a reward and fell asleep.

Our second attempt one day later turned out as a failure: we overtook a funny class of pupils and one French guy with naked upper body, then shortly afterwards it started to rain at 500 metres height (from 950 metres altogether), the volcano’s top was covered by clouds and we had to stop and go back down. What a pity! Back to diary

Day 02: Vulcano

Getting up by 06:00 o’clock in the morning – volcano journeys aren’t advisable for people who used to rise late – we took the ferry to Vulcano. At the place we took our breakfast and went afterwards to a small supermarket. There we got very tasty Panini bread, spread with Sicilian Rucola cheese and dried tomatoes handmade by one really fat woman. Afterwards we started to ascend the Volcano, which was actually not very high. People went up there merely with bathing-slippers or even high heels. Very soon we were at the crater, where the air was full off sulphate, – something very cool. The floor was yellow everywhere and the sulphate steam was not very comfortable for the nose and the eyes.

We could meet some guys from university who made experiments and took measurements. Then we rushed descenting by jumping over the volcano’s ashes. I always enjoy this kind of places!

Back at the harbour we took the ferry to return to Stromboli, where we intended to ascent a second time. Back to diary

Day 04: Breakdown of car and Etna

We took the ship by 07:15 a.m. with one time change at Lipari to Milazzo. First of all we took a coffee, when we rushed direction to the Etna with Andrea’s car. We wanted to spend at least a few hours there, despite of the bad luck with the weather conditions. But God still gave us more bad luck by the breakdown of our car-engine nearby Messina: the engine smoking – the end (The first reaction of Andrea, whom we had booked till the evening, was „How much money will this cost“ „How will I arrange the things with my next customers“ „It’s better if you take the train to Catania“).
With the breaking-down-lorry we went to the car repair, from there by taxi to the car-hiring service., which was closed till 4 p. m. for lunchtime. Nothing was successful. At the train station we locked away our luggage, took our lunch at a secret restaurant: Wow, Penne with Sicilian ricotta cheese, Penne with swordfish, spaghetti with cuttle-fish’s cuttle, then swordfish „Involtini“, well-done Calamares, fried small Calamares, Tiramisu – all very great and therefore a little consolation. At 4 p. m. We successfully could rent a car (we lost some more time negotiating and comparing and we ended up renting a Fiat Panda for the four of us and the luggage. It was obviously the contrary of easy and safe circumstances) that enabled us to take an easy and relaxed ride to the Etna for to spend there at least a few minutes (haha).

With three days delay we finally arrived at the north-side of the Etna (only a few hours before the flight back home, hum.). We first went to the lava stream of the year 2002, then to the „Grotta die Ladroni“, before we had to rush to the airport, where we had to take our flight back to Frankfurt (they were kindly giving us the seats next to the emergency door without payment) which started by 10 p. m..

Conclusion of the trip: Stromboli always is a visit worth! Regarding our guide, I can recommend him from the technical point of view (expertise, route) but not from the aspect of customer orientation. Back to diary

Thanks to Chris Weber here some pics of the active Etna February 2014.