Thursday, May 19, 2011
Mount Etna May 18
This morning was cool. So I pulled on arm and leg warmers along with my riding jacket. However as we were riding up to the summit of Mount Etna it didn’t take long for me to peel them all off. It was 17 kms to the summit and a 2500 meter climb. It didn’t take long before I was down to grinding along at 8-9 km/hr so it was a two hour grind to the top.
Mount Etna is apparently quite active and is constantly smoking. At the summit there was a huge parking lot and a lot of tour buses. There is a gondola to the summit where you can look into the caldera. The clouds were about 50 meters above parking lot and it was freezing. The tour was going to have lunch at the summit but the truck was tied up for some reason. I was soaked in sweat from the climb and was freezing. So I split. On the way down I was doing about 40-45 kms when this bike team went by me like I was a grease spot on the road. They must have been doing 80-90 kms. The ride down was pretty scary with all the twists and switchback corners. Then there was fog/clouds on the road. I was glad to get to lower altitude and get warmed up.
I got turned around in this one town and missed the turn. There are all these tiny little alleyways which are a total maze. So I headed for the coast and picked up the main highway. The coast is amazingly beautiful. There are these huge cliffs and then a little narrow strip of land and the beach. So there are all kinds of resorts either perched high up on the cliffs (100-200 meters) or crowded along the narrow strip of land. It looks like a great place for a vacation.
The highway has a mile post every km so finding the camping spot was easy. It is called Camping Paradise. That maybe a bit of and exaggeration but it is pretty nice and the view of the sea from the campground isn’t bad either.
Tomorrow is a rest day which is great. I can really use the rest. Town is about 3-4 kms so I will see if I can find an internet connection and catch up on the blog.