Monday, August 30, 2010
Yesterday (Sunday) our ship arrived at Messina (photo) in Sicily. From Messina we took a full day excursion to Mt. Etna and Taormina (photo).
The trip to Mt. Etna, an active volcano, took a couple of hours. As we approached the mountain, one of the vents on the side of the caldera gave off a plume of gases (photo.) We continued up the side of the mountain to an elevation of over 6,000 feet, above the tree line. Mt. Etna has many extinct craters (photo) in addition to the currently active peak that erupts on average once a year. It was an unusual experience walking on the lava covered landscape high up on the side of the mountain.
After visiting Mt. Etna we drove to what is perhaps Sicily’s most famous town: Taormina. Bustling with tourists, this quaint little town is perched 600 ft. up on a hillside overlooking the ocean. Here we enjoyed a delicious lunch at a quality hotel before spending some time walking through the town. We also visited the historic Greco-Roman theater, one of the main attractions in Taormina. Sicily is a beautiful island, and we were delighted to return there during this trip. Today (Monday) we are in Naples. We have a trip planned to see the ruins of Herculaneum.