for a little less than the first half of our trip, we had rental car, that had been – fun story! – organized for us real italian style: my friend’s father (germany-based) had to talked to his brother (sicily-based) who runs a rental car business in palermo. that’s basically all we knew, his dad had told my friend “just go to the <rental-car company i am not gonna advertise for and that also does not really have anything to do with my friend’s uncle’s business> counter at the airport, it’s all taken care of.” no one really knew if we’d actually have a car to get away from the airport. but on vacation (actually mostly) i am worry-free by definition so i did not question the procedure and just let it happen. and it worked perfectly fine: my friend had – literally! – not finished saying his name to the woman behind the counter when an envelope was handed to him with his name handwritten on it containing car keys and papers. nicely done.
on monday, we took the car to drive to mount etna where none of us had ever been before. yes, that includes my friend whose family lives on the island and who has been going there on vacations for basically his entire life. BUT: he has an excuse, because mount etna is very close to catania while my friend’s family is from palermo and the two cities hate each other.
from palermo, mount etna is pretty much at the other end of the island, i.e. roundabout 250 km. on the way, one passes by enna. my friend had “heard”, that enna is supposed be pretty, so we decided to stop there. well, enna is pretty. getting there not exactly, especially that very day. enna is located on a hill, higher than the entire surrounding countryside (which by the way is stunningly pretty). that means, one has to get up there somehow. since it had been raining heavily the days before, there had been a landslide or something, so that the main road up the hill was closed. according to the friendly policeman, that was no problem at all, we should just follow the country road we were already on, and take the second road to the left to get up the hill. we either oversaw the second one and took the third, falsely counted a random dirt track as the first road and took what the policeman would have called the first road, OR the cop was just being a dick towards tourists. bottomline is: we did get up the hill, but i felt sincerely sorry for the rental car. like i said, enna is cute, and i’m glad we got there after all.
after that we went further east and up mount etna. the volcano-shaped landscape is beautiful, even further below. we went up to slightly lower than 2000 m. one can actually not get higher than that on one’s own, even though mount etna is 3329 m high. the last 1,3 km one has to rent himself/herself into a guided tour by bus or jeep. since we went during the offest off-season possible and also arrived rather late during the day (like late afternoon), that was no longer possible. this was not too bad, because even at 1900 m, it was fucking freezing. especially with non-appropriate clothes such as mine. at some point i was not able to take photos anymore, because i simply did not feel my fingers.
crap, did i ever write this much? time for photos now.