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Climb that Mountain!

Can you believe that we managed to find Snow in the middle of Sicily?

Following the Siracusa history lesson, we headed to Etna- which to be honest, was my primary sightseeing aim on Sicily.

First up (well first after breakfast, packing, leaving Siracusa, very stressful driving and navigating through tiny windy roads and small towns, and arrival into a small town near the mountain), we fuelled up at a slightly odd pub/eatery.

Here we ate fairly tasty food, got gifted some very tasty sweets, and were ‘strongly encouraged’ (in a way that only a lady-of-a-certain-age can encourage) to go across the road to the honey shop to buy some special honey for my cough.

There we met a young man, who was quite enthused that we came from Australia (he showed us honey with eucalypt), and even more excited when he told us about his cousin who was in a TV show in Australia, and we were actually able to guess with only minimal prompting, that it was Underdog.

The honey that was recommended to me tasted a lot like being beaten over the head with an aromatic stick. We bought some anyway.

We drove up the volcano, past some amazing landscape scattered with debris from larva, and the life which comes with it. More on that later!

And suddenly, we were past the snow line.

It was falling, it was landing, it was staying! We got out of the car to have an explore.

“Come back Tegan, there might be Yetis”

It was quite beautiful, especially where the white snow fell on black rocks (larva), and created a crazy monotonal world:

Of course, those loudly-dressed Ms A and Miss A-M have no respect for the serenity and beauty of the grey-scale:

We Frolicked back to the car (those of us with frolick-worthy dresses did anyway, others just slouched), and headed further up the mountain.

ALAS! Just a couple of more minutes into the climb, our car started making noises that I assume (I’m no car person) indicated a mild panic attack. We urged it onwards, but it was not a horse, and didn’t really respond to our gentle words of encouragement. The tires stopped gripping, and we realized in dismay, that we would have to turn back.

Back, back, back- below the snowline.

We made up for the disappointment of not seeing hot flowing lava, but leaping around on the ex-lava. The sensation is odd- almost like sand, but much lighter and springier.

In my mind, it’s a cross between beach and moon: One small step for Man…

The landscape itself is stunning. Or to borrow from Andy: sublime!

From a distance, and through the rain, it can look kind of grey.

If you look closer, you’ll see it’s filled with colour and life…

I mean- this landscape is just so many kinds of beautiful, and at all the different scales of vision imaginable..

There is flowing ex-lava!

There are tiny secret caves of life…

And there are Men! Of the Heroic Type who Brave the Unknown Worlds!

(Plus their women, who are much more frivolous)

One thing for sure, I’m going back there one day- I’m going to frolick some more, and I’m going to see some lava!
On the drive to our destination of the evening, we saw a man selling oranges by the side of the road. I had my shoes off (my feet got wet), and Mum was driving- so we threw Andy out of the car to do some haggling. 
A couple of minutes later, Andy re-entered the car.. carrying a TEN KILOGRAM bag of what can only be described as some of the most delicious oranges I’ve ever had to force feed myself.

Belpassso, our sleeping place for the evening- was a tiny little one-street sort of town. I should mention that that night was New Year’s Eve. At about 8:30- Andy and I went looking for the action, and all we could see was rooms filled with old grandfathers playing board games. Andy yearned to be let into their awesomely cool gangs. I yearned to move on.

We ended up grabbing pizza and heading back to the hotel (past an amazingly annoying town clock which rang for about 15 minutes). Andy, who was a bit disappointed by the lack of action- “I want to at least kiss you and say ‘Happy New Year’ at midnight”- ate his pizza and fell promptly asleep. At midnight, the local old men (I’m assuming it was them because those are the only people we saw)- set of hundreds of fireworks making the sound of a billion sonic booms.

Andy slept through it.

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