May 9: Vulcano island

According to the trip notes, Vulcano is a wonderful place to begin a general study of volcanoes. It was considered by the Greeks as an island sacred to Efesto (God of Fire) and the crater of Vulcano was considered his workshop. The Romans later changed the name of the island to reflect the name for their God of Fire, Vulcano – which contributed to the word volcano used by most modern languages today. From here one can get a wonderful view of the island of Stromboli, another active volcano that explodes every 15-20 minutes. This volcanic activity is known as Strombolian and is used to characterize other volcanoes around the world with regular eruptions.

Today's agenda is hiking. Under the direction of a local expert in volcanos the group ascends to the top of the crater along a narrow and sometimes tricky path in that the surface is covered with the crusted pumice from the last eruption. Along the way lava bombs are spotted. These are large solidified lava balls that were "shot" from the crater during an eruption -- thus the term "bomb". At the summit the strong smell of sulfur is present as the steam seeps from the cracks in the earth. Fissures emoting the steam leave a crystallized sediment of sulfur on the surface.

There are two ways down off the mountain. One is to retrace one's steps along the trail used to ascend; the other is to merely "jump" or slide down over the loose lava gravel. This is considered the "shortcut" -- one leap for mankind and down one goes! While entertaining and fun, it does create one minor problem. The fine gravel shifts and slides with the foot pressure and then jumps immediately into the shoes! By the time the group had descended halfway, the weight of any one person's shoe had tripled! It was like having one's own personal stone bucket tied to each foot!

But that didn't stop the group and a glass of fresh orange juice was the reward for successfully earth moving the stones. A short ride back to the mainland is followed by a shuttle to the town of Taormina on the eastern coast of Sicily.

The City From Above on the Volcano


Petro Explaining The History

Paolo & Ann Enjoying the Landscape

Volcanic Lava Bomb

Walking on the Crater Top


The Crater

The Sea Below

Steaming Sulfur


The Valley Left


The Valley Right



The Gravel Fill After the Descent


Cheers!! We Made It!

Fresh Orange Juice -- What a Great Way To Finish

Kathy and Her Guide!!