Wednesday night, as we were walking back from an uncharacteristically late dinner, Nick received a call from one of his coworkers. “Etna’s erupting! Meet us in Acireale!”
At this point it was already nearly midnight, so we headed up to our roof to confirm that Etna was indeed erupting.
The merest suggestion of lava was all we needed to pile in the car and begin the hour trek north.
We spent the entire drive shouting “Look!” each time we rounded a corner and caught a glimpse of the volcano As we got closer, we could actually see the lava flowing down the side of the mountain!
The lights in Acireale were far too bright, so we decided to keep heading up the hill to Zafferana (which has had a few close encounters with Etna over the years, but only after the volcano has been erupting for several days). The view was fantastic, although it was very, very, cold!
At this point, we rationed that if the view from Zafferana was this good, the view from further up the road would be even better! (Are our Dads nervous yet?)
Our little caravan drove up the mountain road until we reached a section that hadn’t been plowed. After all, Fiat is not renowned for their snow-going vehicles!
We were within four miles of the fissure, and could actually hear the rumbling of the volcano and see bursts of lava shooting into the night sky! Even though we only had one pair of gloves between the six of us we did have several cameras and tripods, which meant we were able to take some great photos!
We stayed until our feet and noses were frozen (and our cameras were out of batteries), then headed back towards Siracusa. As we drove down the hill we could see the lava moving faster and faster, and when we got home (around 4am) the stream of lava had more than doubled!
By the time the sun came up, however, the eruption was over, and Etna was hiding in the clouds again. It was an amazing experience, and since most of Sicily slept through the spectacle, it feels as though we had a private showing of Etna erupting!