Oh how the storm did rage last night; ferocious foundation shaking winds from Africa beat upon the house and brought waves crashing on the southern shore of Sicilia. Almost exactly two years ago I witnessed another such winter howler in the Mediterranean on the island of Naxos. It may have been centuries since Neptune was worshiped in earnest but no one on that sea today would have doubted his terrible wrath and power. Nor would I have known that there are flamingos in Italy.
Now, clear of the storm, a cold night has settled in Messina. Tomorrow I am again boarding a ship but for tonight a land lubber I shall be. This beautiful and ancient city would bear the brunt of the boot of Italy’s kick should it ever cease to restrain itself. Italy is a truly beautiful country filled with friendly and wonderful people, however there are a few things I have noticed that are somewhat strange to my foreign sensibilities. For example the Italian people seem to have no interest in the use of lines. Whether on foot or in car they seem to cluster into choke points and force their way through. I’m not knocking it, it’s just different. Also, when it comes to driving one will quickly discover that the highways here are not like the American interstate system. Multi-lance highways, without any obvious notice, give way to single lane, one way streets that somehow are always the other way one way. Other roads simply, in an apparent act of defiance towards google maps’ route finding algorithms, end with no warning. Perhaps the most successful at elevating blood pressure is the common place experience of: should you fail to see that unmarked turn off the exit then you get to drive another 25km before an opportunity to turn around presents itself. I have also come across numerous places where the paths of two highways intersect – on the map at least – and yet there is no way to get from one to the other short of ramming through a guard rail and rallying down an embankment. Again, I’m not talking shit. In point of fact it makes driving here all the more interesting; it accentuates that I am nearly half way around the world. Over a month in now and it still doesn’t always seem real.
To the south is the mighty Mt. Etna; A massive and very active mountain of magma crowned with snow and a lava lake. Today, much to my excitement, Etna decided to have a mild eruption. Nothing to write home about – even though that is in essence what I’m doing right now – but it does represent the first volcanic erruption I have witnessed first hand and has inspired today’s choice of tunes below. This is definitely a short, not particularly interesting post I know, but I think some of those pictures turned out pretty good, and between the previous post becoming long-winded and maybe even a little out of hand mixed the emotions of yesterday, I figured I’d keep this one simple. Cheers!