What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The highlight was seeing red lava flowing from Etna after Alessandro had led us on an extra evening hike because he knew she was erupting. We felt virtually alone on the mountain in contrast to the hundreds that had climbed Stomboli the day before.
What did you think of your group leader?
Alessandro shows his love of his islands and the volcanoes and his wish to share all this with the group. He went out of his way to give us the best experience and also to organise activities for the free time we had. His local knowledge of the area, the people and in particular the volcanoes made the trip run smoothly.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The volcanoes are very dusty/sandy so consider goggles or mask if you have any concerns about asthma or have sensitive eyes or need to wear contact lenses. Some are provided on Stromboli but may not fit very well. Gaiters are also very useful on the Stromboli evening hike.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The planned walks are quite short and tend to finish by early afternoon to avoid climbing in the heat. The extra excursions are more difficult as they are steep. Volcanoes are not controllable so you may be disappointed and excursions may have to be altered but Etna outperformed all our expectations.