Tag Archives: bus

Our Etna Experience

Each holiday has at least one big highlight, and while we were in Sicily, one of the highlights was visiting Etna. I admit, it was long overdue – in fact, visiting Sicily was long overdue! I bet not many Maltese people can say that they have not been to Sicily by the age of thirty. The thing is, that I am fascinated with the UK, and I mostly ignored all other countries for a big chunk of my life. It was in 2016 that I started exploring properly and I have not looked back ever since.

We left Etna for our very last day, it being so close to Catania airport. We arrived at around 9:30AM after a two hours drive from where we were staying. The Etna car park, by the cable cars was almost full. It happened to be May the 1st, which is a bank holiday in most countries, so there were a lot of tourists there.

Steffi enjoying Etna, Sicily!

We bought our tickets and made our way to the queue for the cable cars. Once we were at a reasonable height, we queued again for 4×4-style buses. Most of the tourists were laughing hard while we made our way on what we could only describe as a bumpy ride!  It took us to almost to the top of the volcano in no time. It was rather astonishing seeing people walking all the way up from ground level, seeing that Etna is 3,500 meters high up. I bet it takes most of the day going up and then down. We thought it was money well spent as this way we could enjoy walking around and inside the craters for a longer time.

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As you set foot out of the bus, you realise that the temperature changed drastically. From almost 20 degrees to around 2 degrees! Once you get accustomed to the change of weather, you start to embrace the surroundings. The view is breathtaking, the colour of the gravel varies from black to red to yellow. I have never seen so many colours on such a huge stretch of mountain-like land. It was simply amazing being there. No words were enough to describe what we saw, what we felt being so high up, on such a clear day. You could see steam coming out, touching the floor underneath your feet feels warm. You could tell you are walking on top of an active volcano. A bit scary and risky, but it’s an experience I will never forget.

We spent roughly two hours walking and exploring, and around three hours in total including the transport. The souvenir shop comes highly recommended. While we were there we tried several liquors and the famous mandorla wine. We ended up buying some, as well as lava made statues and decor, adding onto the issue we already had since we traveled with just a hand-luggage for a five day long holiday! On the way down to the car-park, there is a restaurant which in our opinion had the best arancini in Sicily. Do give them a try if you feel peckish!

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The Art of Travel

I would say, that I am at my best, when I travel.

At those moments when I am traveling, I do not care of what the weather holds, rain or shine, I’m ready to have an early start of the day and get exploring. Of course, I would most likely explore, what I had been planning for days or weeks on end, before the holiday kicked in.

Which brings me to the most fun traveling factor: Being a planner, I usually take the lead on all things which could be planned, such as events to go to, places to visits and how to get there. Before every vacation, I make sure I have a booklet featuring all the above, including maps, expenses involved and opening hours.

Living and traveling overseas, has matured me so much, in the sense that, every time I travel, I go to a place which I have never been before, which would mean, that I need to be mentally ready to “get lost” and also to “ask around for help”. Those who know me well know, that I am most of the time too stubborn to ask for help or advise, as I would rather be on top of things myself. If I figure it out myself, I’m better off. However given the experiences I had in the past, traveling alone or with a friend, sometimes you just have to take the easy way out and ask… especially when you are running out of time or late to a do!

Traveling has not only matured me, but opened my mind to different cultures and people behaviour. I have learned and experienced a lot of history. I have curiously watched people going around towns and cities and in my mind, I would think of what it would be like being in their shoes. It is a little game I like to play, especially when I’m on a train or waiting to catch a bus. Sometimes, I’d be lucky enough to get into a discussion with local people around me, which helps me understand more the surroundings and why people behave in a certain way.

If traveling is a hobby, then I dare say that it is the greatest hobby of all. No other pastime can be compared in my opinion, as what you do while on vacation will be instilled in your mind, body and soul for the rest of your life. It is something you’d think about, and smile about.

I can’t wait to get planning on my next proper vacation… I see Poland and Germany on the horizon… It is a matter, of making a dream come true… Maybe in 2016? 🙂

GermanWings plane crash; 150 dead

Today I will dedicate my blog post as a remembrance for those 150 people who are presumed to have lost their lives this morning in a plane crash aboard GermanWings Flight 4U9525. The passenger list is said to include two babies and 16 students who were on a school trip. The crash happened in a remote snowy area in the French alps. The plane left Barcelona to its destination being Düsseldorf in Germany.

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A little under an hour since its departure, the officials received a call of distress.

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A rescue helicopter from the French Security Civil flies over the French Alps during a rescue operation after the crash of an Airbus A320, near Seyne-les-Alpes. (Reuters)

Since the weather conditions are considered to be drastic, with local storms, snow is above 1,800 metres and relatively low clouds, it is proving to be very difficult to land in the area with helicopters. French police explain that due to the difficult terrain, it is expected to take days to retrieve the bodies and debris.

During the conference, GermanWIngs CEO stated that the pilot has worked with the company for over 10 years and has over 6,000 flight hours under his belt. He continued saying that the crash itself lasted just 8 minutes. The crashed plane; A320 is 24 years old and has been serving with GermanWings since 1991, according to online database airfleets.net.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will head to the crash site.

GermanWings is a low-cost airline based in Cologne, and is part of the services offered by Lufthansa.