Monday, June 27, 2011

We Rode The Bull!

The past two days were spent mostly on Mt. Etna. Friday we visited a pottery shop and painted our own plate. It looked so easy when the professional did it, but it wasn't easy for me at all. You had a flat surface that you spun the plate on, and you kept your brush steady to paint smoothly. I immediately thought it would be simple, but it wasn't; I had a tough time keeping my brush steady. Mine wasn't the best plate, but I am proud of it. After painting our plates, we ate lunch at our lodge near Mt. Etna. After that we went mountain biking on the amazing volcano. We chose our bikes, and then blasted off. It was definitely a challenge, but I made it to where we stopped. On the way we were able to see previous lava flows from 2002. They covered quite a large area. We also had many great views of the surrounding cities and the sea. The trip back was nearly all downhill. It was very fun. The amazing views and the wind through my hair were definitely worth the effort I put into biking up, let alone the sense of accomplishment it gave me. Dr. Lacey and I stuck together on the trip down. We both enjoyed every second of it. When we all reached the bottom, we grabbed a drink to refresh ourselves. I think we all deserved a nice, cold coca cola. Yesterday was the big day. We got up and pumped for the day ahead. We loaded the bus that the guides provided, handmade our way to 2,900 meters (approximately 8,700 feet) on the volcano. We saw tons of snow by the time we reached our destination. It was a lot harder to breathe when I stepped off the bus, but it didn't seem too bad. I was in awe by how close we were to the top and the views of much of the island. We could see that we were above the clouds that were to our left. We then took pictures before we began our descent. After that we began our journey for the day. Not long after we started, we came across one of the large patches of snow that we had seen on the climb up. We took group pictures, and then we had a quick - but intense - snowball fight. That was fun! Having a snowball fight at 2,900 meters on a volcano! I was surprised because it was not that cold, but there was snow. It is still a mystery to me. The trip down the volcano was extraordinary. We talked and took our time. I know that we grew much closer as a group and learned much about one another. The descent took about four hours. We were able to go inside one of the craters that had previously erupted. We saw and felt the steam that was rising between a few of the rocks in the crater. It was hot - our guide said about 100*. After viewing the crater, we once again began descending. We later stopped for lunch on a previous lava flow and saw a large black boulder looking object. It was black, matching the rest of the lava. Our guide said that it was a boom, or an explosion that resulted in this object. We found relatively flat surfaces and ate our lunch. That is where Ms. Wells ripped her pants. Good thing she had several layers on. After lunch, we continued down the volcano. Once we reached the bottom we were proud of our accomplishment! We rode the bull! We then had the chance to visit souvenir shops. After that we all returned to the lodge, cleaned up, and slept. Being on this volcano gives you a new perspective of the world. I was amazed at what God has created. It is simply amazing. These two days have been my favorites so far, and I can't wait till Rome now!

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Adventure Details

Duration 15 days
Destinations Athens
Focus Biology
Earth Science