Sicilian (Eolian) Volcanoes
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
A different volcano each day! Sunset on Stromboli, standing on Etna and looking down through the clouds at Catania, and reaching various summits on different islands during the week.
What did you think of your group leader?
Chiara was simply excellent, taking very good care of the entire group and going beyond her remit time and again to ensure that we were looked after and happy - aided by Virginie (who was also incredibly good) on this occasion; it's unusual to have two guides in my experience.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The walks are fairly short and the ascents/descents are not too difficult. Travelling to Lipari takes a lot of the first day, it would perhaps be an idea to extend the holiday for a day or two on Sicily if you have the time. If you normally walk with poles then take them, if not then you'll manage fine. Hot mud bath on Vulcano - it's perhaps an idea to just dump the swimming togs afterwards, the sulphurous smell still hasn't washed out of mine! Also perhaps wear old trainers/water shoes if you plan to swim to the fumeroles on Vulcano, the sea bed is slippery and stony thanks to the nutrients in the sea. We didn't quite reach the peak of Etna due to the snow, but the cable car and snow cat ascent were interesting with a small ascent afterwards. Take a scarf for your face if taking the snow cat, the diesel fumes are quite strong. Arancini, Pizza, Pastas, Pistachio Gelato and Ricotta Cannoli...
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Some early starts to make the most of the day/get the hydrofoils on time. Pay attention to the kit list, the night time descent of Stromboli does need a torch! Gaiters handy too. Pack layers for warming up/cooling off between sea level and summits, and take sun tan lotion. Perhaps go out of season to avoid the tourists and the biting insects. A walk to the peak of Monte Fossa delle Felci, Salina was good use of the free day in the middle of the week. A grand walking holiday, good local food and friendly people.