The most active volcano in Europe
In the shape of Mt. Etna, seen here from the patio of a friendly B&B in the undistinguished, poor but very friendly town of Randozzo which lies at the foot of the Etna range. Particles of black volcanic grit fall constantly on the good people of Randozzo who have the Sisyphian task of sweeping it up every day, lest the whole town be buried in black. It seems to be good for the plants though.
Etna erupted about a week before we arrived which lent a tang of danger to our climb of about 2,500 metres (the first 2,499.5 were done by car and cable car). The lack of oxygen, extreme cold and freezing wind made this a traumatic and exhausting experience.
The top of Etna is a brooding, ominous monster of dried lava. On the way up, driving through the gorgeous countryside full of wild flowers, we saw clearly where the lava had burned everything in its wake.
A problem with the mafia
" The mafia is a mountain of shit" Peppino Impastato , the tireless anti-mafia activist (eventually murdered by the mob) is quoted as saying on this poster marking 30 years of anti-mafia activity.
An affinity with the sea
Swabbing down the decks on a fancy yaght in the marina at Riposto.
Part of the morning catch in Riposto. There was also a massive swordfish and a very big tuna.
Click this pic to make it bigger and you'll see that this colourful awning, covering a stack of deck-chairs on the seafront somewhere on the Amalfi coast, is a ctually a photo of ... Jerusalem.