Beginnings on Etna

Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and it’s been very active in the last year. When I visited in June 2013, it wasn’t possible to climb it because of the eruptions in April.  I could still tour the area and the best views of Etna are possible from the 1800 metres Monti Sartorius,which I did climb.

Travelling around Etna you will see lava flow, both recent and ancient. Where there has been a flow, vegetation takes times to recover, but gradually signs of life appear through the ash.


Where there are full grown trees, they have grown through lava from way back.  Christmas tree sized and the lava is not so old, and in places where there is only low growing plant life, soapworts for example, the lava is from very recent eruptions. So, the flora is beginning to re-establish itself.

Click on my photo for a closer view.

This post is for Cheri Lucas Rowlands WPC at

East of Etna

To the east of Mount Etna lies a coastal small town, Fiumefreddo di Sicilia – meaning Cold River, with a population of about ten thousand. Fiumefreddo is well placed for visiting both Etna, the Alcantara range and the tourist hotspots of Taormina and Isola Bella, beside the Ionian sea. Several scenes from the Godfather films were shot there ,and it’s easy to get off the tourist trail to visit sleepy little villages, and drive along empty roads. The town’s beach at Marina di Cottone is shingle with a couple of Lidos to choose from and is edged with bamboo and eucalyptus trees.

The town is along the main road from Catania, Sicily’s second city, with its airport and historic Messina to the north, a port city that is the gateway to mainland Italy. The region is known for it’s citrus and olive groves, as well as vineyards. Along with Travelling Friend I stayed at an Agriturism Hotel, with it’s own large citrus groves and exotic plant nursery. La Terra dei Sogni was a lucky find, wonderful food, friendly helpful staff and a super location made this a perfect place to stay. It was ultra relaxing and had a mix of Italian, German, French and British guests, so chance to test my few words in several languages.

The photos in the gallery below are all taken within a mile on one of my early morning walks, before seven that is.

I’ll be back in a few days with some more about my holiday in Sicily, perhaps I’ll show you my jeep day.