- Circumetnea Train – circumnavigation of Mt Etna
Our last port of call Catania, an ancient port city on Sicily’s east coast at the foot of Mt. Etna.
We decided to catch the Circumetnea train, a 114-kilometre train ride that circumnavigates volcano Etna taking about 3 ¼ hours due to the tortuous morphology.
Boarding the train at Catania Borga we passed many small dilapidated villages and vast amount of cactus until we arrived at the station of Bronte where the landscape changed dramatically. Here the landscape is rugged and wild, made up of lava fields dating back to various ages, orange plantations, olive trees and herds of cows and flocks of sheep grazing in the fields. The group of lava flows is quite spectacular as you round the bend just out of Bronte.
After 2 hours we pulled into Riposto. We would have liked to catch the next train to continue the journey to complete the circumnavigation of Etna, but we would have to have spent 3 hours waiting for the connecting train, so we decided to head back on the same train to our starting station. Even thought we did not complete the whole journey it was still an amazing sight to see the effects of the lava flows down Mt Etna and the surrounding area.
Tomorrow we have a day at sea and return to Rome on Monday. It was a great way to see these cities as we would never see them any other way.
Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy
The cruise was a very enjoyable way to spend nine days. We met some great people, Michael and Jacinta a couple from Sydney, Australia and Laurie and Randy from Chicago, USA whom we became good friends with over trivia games, happy hours, music nights and many dinners throughout the cruise.
Upon returning to our cabin each night we were met with a surprise towel animal compliments of the cabin staff. The designs using just handtowels were extremely intricate and artistic. On the last day of the cruise they had a class for towel animal designs, and you could even buy a book on how to make them.
On the morning of April 25, ANZAC day the cruise director organised a dawn service for all Australian and New Zealand passengers. We thought this was a nice touch because it also coincided with being close to Gallipoli at the time.
The food and the service were second to none and because we enjoyed it so much, we booked another cruise for 24 days starting in July 2020 from Copenhagen sailing to the Baltic, Scandinavia and Iceland. We think these would be places we would never go in our motorhome and therefore what better way to see them.