Mt. Etna Days 6, 7 & 8

Day 6: We woke in a warm bed in the BnB. Packed our stuff, and the dry clothes tent and sleeping bag. Said bye-bye to Matteo, the nice owner of Ai tre Parchi Bed n Bike in Randazzo.
A nice sunny and cactussy road awaited us. Rode for some kilometers to the entrance of Nebrodi Park, a beautiful nature with two cows and one black horse, trees, and wild iris on the way up.

After we went up up up up and down to the river.
It was wet everywhere, we tried one path but the road was like a lake (or a river).
then bushwacking through the forest. a lot of vegetation and SPINES!
The ground got better but still very muddy. Our shoes got wet.
One cow freaked out when it saw max slip in the mud.

We rode (and pushed) up, up the hill to find Floresta (a name we liked a lot)
We asked a man (turned out to be the local drunk) who walked us to the hotel, where we found no food, but WINE.
-in fact i thought, if i gave the metal water flask and asked them to fill it up from a bottle…they would think, “what brutes, these cyclists!” but in the end, they only would sell us 1.5 litres of wine, filled up in a plastic water bottle.
Bought some baked ricotta from the cheese shop on the way to the campsite.
The man at the campsite was gentile and let us sleep in a little room with the heater to dry our shoes.
Cooked a tasty dinner with THREE kinds of cheese!

Day 7: Sun shining in the morning, the volcano still smoking but a bit further in the distance. We filled up the remainder of the wine in the metal flask, and charged our batteries again. from the sun. Sunshine makes all the difference!

Packed and into town for a cappuccino in the local bar, then off 3 km one way, following the track. It looked a bit muddy, so we turned back, and went another way. Finally finding the shortcut, it looked a bit muddy too.
Then we ate chips and discussed our tactics…go further into the muddy bush, a trail we know is at least three days out of civilization? it would be beautiful, but surely we would have to stress it to make it back for our flights afterwards. OR, zoom down the hill and eat pastries, and go back up over Etna, which was awesome the first time around.

we decided for downhill and pastries, and rode rode rode the longest day so far, 25km! Drinking wine on the way, drunkcyclists!!

Stopped in Randazzo for a coffee treat, then into the countryside. happy to find a place to camp up in the olive trees with no dogs, no people. cooked a lovely dinner, so nice to have the boiling pot AND the fry pan!
fancy country wine after dinner.

Day 8: snowfall in the night, melting snow for coffee and fill up our waterbottles. during packup it blizzarded a bit, so we hunkered down in the tent, wine for second breakfast! Out of the trees and onto the snowy road. Not a lot of traffic, and made our way to Bronte, where we had heard about the pistachios! we asked about one bnb, and ended up renting a oneroom apartment with attached garage to lock up the bikes. fine dinner in an actual restaurant! dry the sleeping bags and tent, and ate strange cookies in the night. warmmmmmm

Mt. Etna days 4 & 5

Day 4: Search for water. Strong uphill, and friendly MTB advice on the way to Rifugio Ariel. Coffee for max, red wine for greta, ate arancini and the last of the grilled melanzane, bought an onion, filled up 8litres of water.
fabulous ride up the hill to the second rifugio. firewood collection, the hut was cozy until the EARTHQUAKE!! greta ran out the hut, cut her finger. i ran outside but it was over before i realized…earthquake.
slept in the tent outside mmmmm felt more safe. big snow in the night (no more earthquakes)

up into the forest

black volcanic soils!

nearing sunset

sunset at 2000m

1000m below the eruption, it’s safe!??

cozy before the earthquake

Day 5: Blue dawn then brilliant sunshine! in the morning, the mountain was smoking strong. breakfast, and a second coffee…then STORM APPROACHING! quick pack up then, hardcore, beautiful, snow till whiteout conditions.
passed a tipi hut, down down down snow, snow, goats…
then killer babyhead rocky downhill, sunshine and hail
got a bed n breakfast in Randazzo, bought a bottle of wine and a tray of arancini, bag of pastries and a bottle of red wine for the onward journey. hot shower nice nice

slept outside in the tent, warmer, safer

sunny enough to charge the batteries!

into brightness

snow ride!

downhill so much easier!!

lava tube cave!

sketchy slippery

next time we’ll bring a rope and harnesses to go down inside

nearing the park gate

finally down below the snowline

Mt. Etna days 1, 2 & 3

For 10 days around New Year 2019, Greta and I rode up and around Mt. Etna, in Sicily. Here are a few photos, and our journal entries from those days. we rode 249 Km

Day 1: arrived in Catania, no problems. Bike assembly at zeronove (cool bike shop and cycling community center in Catania) took a lot longer because of the new rack. Biked through town, found street food, seafood, grilled shrimps and breaded fish fillet.

Beautiful tent spot, sleeping listen to the waves, direct by the sea. Mountain smoking in the morning.

Day 2: long traffic uphill after scoring some gas (for the stove). Fabulous lunch of fresh bread, roasted pepper, grilled melanzane, fresh sheep ricotta, and FRESH RIPE tomatoes. Elitist pastry shop, the cops told us about it, after a tiny coffee form an obese woman. More uphill, less traffic, to Nicolosi. Camp at empty campsite.

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Day 3: we’re so lazy. tried to sleep separate in two mummy bags, but that was boring and not so warm. zipped together in the early morning, and slept so nicenice. woke at 9:00. Yum pastries in town, bought cheese and veg from two carts in the market, longtime for shopping, and we moved so late…

evening became night soon and we continued to ride for a while in order to find a nice spot to sleep (and eat :). We found an abandoned farmhouse and a nice wide, flat spot and pitched our tent, set the gear and cooked lentils, meat, potatoes, broccoli with curry, paprika and garlic. so tasty and warm. in the night was cold, but we held eachother as we like. a dog came around in the night to bother us, with a loud bark. it was scared, and perhaps we were a little bit too. =)

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