Monday, July 15, 2013

It's like we're walking on the moon! Nah - it's just a Volcano's Crater!

We drove past hordes of tourists from the big buses to our first stop on the Mt, we visited the highest restaurant in Sicily, not to eat, but to view photos taken by the owner in 1983 as the Volcano erupted. The owner looked on helplessly as the molten lava flowed towards him. He decided that he would be better off killed in the inferno than live without his livelihood. The range of pictures telling the story of how the lava flowed towards him within the space of one hour was both intriguing and fearsome. Moments before the owner was to meet certain death, the army arrived in a helicopter and scooped him to safety. The restaurant has since been rebuilt and there are pictures on the wall of both this eruption as well as prior eruptions. The only remaining piece of the restaurant from the 1983 eruption is a jukebox. And the songs are still there, from the 1980s! 

After our bit of reality check – viewing the danger that this huge mountain can cause, which is such a contrast of the people casually climbing all over it. Not to mention that in the winter, it’s a ski resort!  We decided to go climb the crater with the rest of the crowds too!

We went to the Silvestri Crater. I have never seen anything like this! We’ve been to volcano’s before. We’ve been to Costa Rica, seen the perfectly shaped conical Arenal volcano. Peered into the Poas volcano’s crater, but nothing can really prepare you for walking IN a volcano’s inactive crater! It was like walking on the moon!

It was getting very busy by now and I heard a guide tell her coach load of about 50 people that they were to be back in 15 minutes. Wow, 15 minutes? You couldn’t possibly explore this area in only 15 minutes! Thank goodness we were on our own private tour! We were on our own time.

The black basalt under foot was uneven and quickly filled our shoes. However, Keith and Alex were eyeing that crater. Before you could blink they practically ran down the steep hill!

There they were right at the bottom waving!

You really can't get a true perspective of the size of the crater from the pictures. It's big!

If you look close you can see them far off on the other side climbing back up - yes, again they chose the hard way up!

Now, there was a ring around the top you could walk around, or a sloped path you could use to walk down, or like them, just go down the steep way! Boys! Megan and I walked down the sloped way, we were standing in the middle of the crater before long! Amazing! The walk up wasn’t bad and the views from all around the ring were outstanding! And my parents walked around the ring. Something for everyone!

Here's Megan at the bottom - I think she's pretending to walk on the moon.

I feel so lucky to have been able to be there! It was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities! To walk into a once active volcano crater!

But our day in Sicily wasn't over yet! We still weren't even to lunch time!

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