I’m woefully behind on the travel blogging front. In fact visitors to this blog would be forgiven for not knowing that I am in fact travelling Europe and North Africa in a motorhome called Nettle with my partner, Mike. Fortunately, I am able to preface every vaguely travel-related blog post with the announcement that Mike has been dutifully keeping his travel blog up to date. It is official, he completes me… or at the very least gives me an excuse for being an absolutely rubbish travel blogger. However, I also want the pretty pictures on my blog so in a valiant attempt to get up to date here is a blog post about what we were doing 3 months ago (God, has it really been that long!)…
When I’m researching beautiful places to visit I’ll often do a google image search. The Mt Etna National Park in Sicily was no exception and I had in fact ruled it out based on the lacklustre results I’d found. Photo after photo of barren black lava landscapes left me less than enthused. Fortunately due to an unexpected prolonging of our stay on this small island we ended up doing a few things we wouldn’t have done otherwise. The problem with doing google image searches is that tourists, generally speaking, all go to the same place to see the same thing, and take the same photos. There’s much more to Mt Etna National Park than barren black lava flows but you wouldn’t know it looking at the travel photos on the net. Hopefully this blog post will go some way to re-dressing the balance.
In this photo I am hiking in deep volcanic ash (like very fine sand) on a nearly vertical incline (okay, not quite but it was steep damn it) – that was very very hard.
One of the things I love most about hiking up big steep things. The romantic in me will never tire of being able to touch the clouds.
Before we left Australia, one of the things I was really excited about was getting another autumn. Two autumns in one year, my favourite season! Images of shockingly colourful autumnal forests was a staple of mine whenever I would fantasise about travelling. This might sound strange to non-Australian peeps, but most of our trees are evergreen so a whole forrest full of deciduous trees makes the nature lover in me get all giddy with glee.
Until Mt Etna we hadn’t actually seen any autumn colours – a very discouraging state of affairs given that winter was just around the corner. I had no idea that we would find our autumn when we decided to give the Mt Etna national park a go. We were both astonished by the vivid colours. On our first leisurely walk in the national park I commented to Mike that just when I think I’ve seen a place so beautiful nothing could ever compare we go somewhere new and see something even more beautiful.
However, Sicily stole my heart not for it’s beautiful scenery but for it’s beautiful people. I honestly never knew that people could be so kind and open and genuinely friendly. We were treated like family by complete strangers. We were invited to stay at people’s homes, join their celebrations and were taken on personal guided tours that lasted all day and all night and then invited to do it all again. I think Mike has done those stories justice so do head over to his blog to read more.