Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Driving through Italy is a special experience: road rules appear to have no meaning. We saw police cars doing 90 in a 40 zone, with the rest of the traffic. Overtaking any time, anywhere, never mind the white lines or signs and many people don't wear seatbelts although the government is now starting campaigns. We have not seen any major prangs so far, but the statistics and newspapers tell a different story....
On the right is the harbour of Sorrento, south of Napoli. We stayed a few days at a camping and took a daytour to Capri, an island off the coast.
We are travelling together with Sandy and Nicola. They have made our travel program and we have the one exciting day after another. From Bologna we drive south to the "heel" of Italy, then use the ferry to reach Sicily. From there along the east coast of the island with many stops of old cities and ruins from Romans and Greeks. But the absolute highlight was no doubt the Etna vulcano, which right on cue started spewing lava, fire and rocks the day before we arrived, after being dorment for about 5 years! From a distance of 40 km we could see the rocks flying in the air and the red stream of lava going down one side. We drove to the car park, took a cable car further to the top and then there were huge 4WD busses taking groups of 20 even higher, about 300 m from the opening. We walked from there with a tour guide to the edge of the lava stream. With the wind behind us, we could approach the slow moving (1m/sec) lava to about 5 meters and feel the heat, red hot earth, some 10 meters wide. As soon as the wind turned the heat forced us to move away. Meanwhile Etna was spewing rocks every 3 seconds with incredible roaring sound. At one point the wind picked up and we had a sort of lava storm, black dust covering everyone. Days later we are still finding Etna in our hair.....
It makes us think how small and insignificant we really are........The power of fire.
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