I read somewhere that granita was invented in Sicily; that the people from this area used to gather snow from Mt. Etna and use it for their granita. I really don’t see how that could have been possible since the summit of Mt. Etna is around 3,300 meters and that’s about 10,000 feet. (Granita and brioche is a common breakfast in Sicily.)
When we approached the little strip of shops, the little bar and one of the excursion centers near the base of Etna Nord (the North side of Etna); the temperature had dropped from 30 C to 16 C. We were obviously not the only ones ill prepared for the cooler weather. A few other tourists donned beach towels as shawls and marched through the lava fields for photo opportunities. There were organized tour buses that would take you to the top of Etna for 40 Euros (in about 2 hours) but we had the dog and flip-flops on therefore could not go. I cursed myself for not doing more research and being more organized.
The rivers of lava rock that had flowed and afterward had hardened down the mountain were quite impressive. I remember selling black and red lava rocks for aquariums when I was working at a pet store on Guam. Seeing the lava again brought back memories. The hollow sound of the rocks as we walked across them made me think of an Italian moonwalk. The surrounding areas around the base of the mountain were well kept with various brush plants growing amongst the scrub and other opportunistic vegetation. There were many hiking trails just waiting to be explored, the barren and somewhat harsh beauty of the mountain is something that must be experienced. I highly recommend a day trip out to Mt. Etna if you are ever in the vicinity of Messina or Catania in Sicily.
Deme and Giordano amongst the lava fields. It think Giordano is slowly outgrowing his uncle.
A little kitten that lives near the bar at Etna Nord.
Giordano with a backdrop of lava rock.
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