37 29.9 N 15 05.6 E
We decided to use the pontoon at Etneo on our visit this time round as it was much closer to the main gate and further away from the Ro Ro berth where we were last year. It proved to be better all round with much less lorry traffic and no long walk along the ghastly busy road leading to the lorry terminal. Our journey north was lovely with the sun shining all the way and stunning views of Mt Etna's snow capped peaks.
Suzanne and Graham were keen to get some serious site-seeing done and I joined them on a trip up to Mount Etna. We had a local student Luka (as recommended by the marina guy) to take us up to the base of the funicular. On the way he took us to a small local wine cave where we tried some wine and duly bought some too. Then it was on to the mountain with stops for photo shoots on the way. We took the lift to the top and then went on in a snow bus with huge tires that wound it's way through a rough path that had been excavated by the snow ploughs. The snow had been very deep and we went through areas where we couldn't see over the top of the snow banks.
We were so fortunate with the weather as it was clear and sunny all day - just a bit hazy so no view of Malta which apparently can been seen on a clear day. On our way down we stopped for a late lunch in a small town - Nicolosi, where we ate a local pasta dish which had ground chestnuts in the pasta. The staff were so friendly and the place looked like a ski-lodge with old skis and other mountain paraphernalia decorating the interior. La Baita di Rosemary (Rosemary's Pub)
On Sunday we ate lunch in a superb restaurant we had chanced upon while walking into the centre on our first day.It was set inside part of the Palazzio Biscari and called Ristorgiuffrida they specialise in fish and we took the set price meal at 24E per head which included local wine. We were not disappointed it was probably the best meal we have had so far in Sicily. Check out trip advisor for more details!
Our visitors headed for Taormina on Monday and flew home on Tuesday. We spent that day visiting the laundry and generally sorting out the boat before heading off towards Palermo for our next set of friends arrival in a weeks time.