Déjà vu. Thunder, lightning and pouring rain. We were back for our second attempt at Etna having had the same terrible weather for the entire time we were here last year. At least it was obvious that skiing was not an option so we visited a near-deserted Taormina in the driving rain. At least there were no other tourists. The stalls packed with tat did not have a single customer.
Day 2. Snow chains on the vans the skins on skis. Fresh snow, fresh tracks and a beckoning summit. Clouds however, meant there were no guarantees. We summited the NE crater as the clouds parted; this time it was obviously meant to be!
The day was an eventful one with a broken Dynafit binding which we repaired and a broken fibula for which we could do little. Thankfully David’s slow motion tumble happened close to the road and happily the break did not need surgery.
Day 3. Was it to be Plan A, B or C? We bought lift tickets and lived in hope. After a short skin and just as Plan C looked like the only option the clouds lifted and the spectacular main crater stood clear. We skinned right to the top in excellent snow before enjoying a fabulous run down to the west.
Other than summiting the highlight of our visit were the breakfasts laid on by Antonella and Salvo. Homemade jams, pistachio croissants, cakes, blancmange, freshly squeezed blood orange juice and limitless cups of wonderful coffee all served ‘subito’ with grace and a big smile.