A long cruise - Messina, Sicily - part 3

jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)July 11, 2014

Mt. Etna. If you recall, in the last set of pictures, the residents of Zafferana were all bundled up. We'll be going up to about 9000 feet and it will get cold. Bundle up! Scarfs and hats are required in November (maybe even gloves). But, for one day, do you really want to pack those items? Or maybe, don't take them and tell some really good stories about chattering in the Mediterranean on Sicily!

When the missus and I got married in 1985, we decided that cruising would be a good way to travel. We cruised on our honeymoon and this long cruise is our 20th. (I cruised prior to meeting the missus.)

We did not have an agenda when we began, we just wanted to get away from our busy work schedules. Some interesting things have happened through the years. One item is the number of places our cruising have taken us. I tried to count all the ports and got myself confused. Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, French Polynesia and now Africa and Europe.

What we did not count on was the number of volcanoes that we have been to see. Mauna Kea and Haleakala in Hawaii; a drive in volcano (with no name that I can find) in St. Lucia; and Mt. Teide and Mt. Etna on this cruise. They are so different from each other. I am amazed at the differences.

This photo shows some of the lava from Mt. Etna in the foreground and the peak in back.

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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Etna (used a lot in crossword puzzles) is an active stratovolcano that is surpassed in height only by Mt. Teide (Canary Islands) in the Europe-Africa plate.

In a state of almost constant eruption (it had erupted the day prior to our arrival!) the lava flows are amazing to see.

As you look at this picture, you can see how it flowed and did all kinds of things, but missed all those trees. Or, it flowed there a long time ago and the trees came later and other lava came later still.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:00PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

This is lava that is relatively new. Of course this volcano going back to about a half a million years ago (just before I was born).

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:03PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

It is a wondrous thing about lava in that so many things can grow easily. The lava is fertile! Vineyards and orchards grow well not just in the immediate vicinity (Zafferana, for instance), but many miles away.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:07PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Ah, you are wondering what it really looks like.

This photo shows the lava (the big chunk in the center) and ash surrounding it. The ash from Etna is not like the ash from a fire pit, but a a shaped piece from deep within the volcano. It is not powdery, but it does have shape (and very little weight). However, the lava is dense and, although it almost appears to be like the ash, it is heavy.

Whenever Etna has a significant eruption, airplanes are diverted. This is dangerous stuff. I picked up several pieces and brought them home. If you want to see them, let me know. Come on over.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:13PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

To sets of poles at the top. One for skiers (yep, they ski this here volcano) and one for gondolas to take visitors to the top. We did not go up any higher. Not really a great photo, you need to look close. And, yes, that is the peak (or it was when we were there - it changes a lot).

Darn it, is was cold and windy. This was in November, I shutter to think what it might be like in January.

Etna, like Teide in the Canary Islands, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evidently there a many places on planet Earth that would like to be declared with that honor, but miss out. Etna is one that made in 2013.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:19PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Look carefully.

OK? See how small those folks are at the rim of Crater Silvestri?

This is amazing! This dates from an eruption in 1892 that lasted 173 days! And, it 'walked' about 7 miles.

I don't really know how to describe this place. You gotta go there. Put it on your 'bucket list' (if you have one)!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:25PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

The local folks have done a wonderful job of creating road through the lava fields. Lava, although fertile, is a solid base for pavement.

One can see a long way, but I have no idea what that is in the background.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:28PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Of the 3000+ photos I took, I have several that are favorites. If you have been reading for the past several weeks, one was the kids on the steps of the old city hall in Gran Canaria.

This one is another. Spend a moment looking at this photo and think about what happened here.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:31PM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Unless you ask for more, this is the last one.

I have done lots and lots of research. I cannot determine the type/name of this shrub/tree that I saw growing on the side of Etna. It almost looks like curly willow, but I cannot confirm it.

If you know, let me know!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:35PM
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sweet_betsy No AL Z7

Jim, I have enjoyed your photos and comments on every post. I know that has been a lot of work for you. I would be downright thrilled to see anything else you have to show us. I especially enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful doors that you showed us earlier. Thank you so much for letting me see so many things that I will never get to see in real life.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:59AM
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lilosophie

I second Sweet Betsy - I don't often comment, but your photos are just outstanding and you have such an eye for detail and the unusual, you are a good tour guide

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:41AM
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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

Not very many doors in the upcoming segments. Lots of church stuff though.

Thank you for the compliments. We cruised to Hawaii and Mexico in February/March of this year. However, I just have not organized those photos.

This photo is lava that worked its way around a building (without destroying it). Someone added the red thing there.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:57AM
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kris_zone6

Thank you for sharing with us. I almost feel like I was there.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:20PM
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west_gardener

Jim, I have really enjoyed your travels, glad you shared them with us.
Interesting that you picked up a piece of lava and brought it home.
We picked up a piece of lava in Hawaii.
There were signs warning us not to pick up the lava, or Pele would get mad, but....hmmm.
Sure enough, all kinds of bad things started to happen, not even Ku (the god of war)could help. So DH sent the lava back to Hawaii via the us post office.
And calm was restored to our household.
I'm looking forward to seeing the photos of your travel to Hawaii.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:29PM
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