in a flurry of craziness, half of the group boarded a bus to head to the ship. our eyes drank in the italian scenery, and several of us tested our cameras' capabilities of capturing shots while inside a car going 60+ mph. below is our best one:
THE WATER!!!! it's amazing our bus didn't tip, with all of us wanting a sight of the mediterranean
there are still moments when i'm happily surprised to remember that mike and i are married......when we were dating and engaged, we would sign in for any registration separately. now, when he signs in, i stand next to him as his wife - i am mrs. michael decarlo. this was one of those moments when i remembered afresh, that for the rest of our days, i get to stand next to him. i don't have any pictures, but there was a very happy girl holding tightly to her husband's hand in that port that afternoon.
monday morning, we docked in messina, sicily. dad had arranged for an excellent tour guide to meet us at the port, with a driver. he was fascinating! i believe he used to be a professor; his manner of explaining things to a group certainly was polished and easy to follow.
below are pictures from our drive up to mt. etna:
beautiful buildings in messina as we drove through:
we stopped about halfway up the mountain to stretch our legs, and view the memorial below to mary, which was built to thank her for stopping the lava. while i do not credit mary for this, it was a beautiful statue, especially surrounded by so much lush green.
with our spirits lifted by the honey, our group set out to explore!
here dad is trying to pretend that he doesn't just adore his son-in-law! mike, muv and i weren't thrown off at all. ;-)
in the time it took me to focus the camera on mike and dad, a third of our group was a quarter mile away, perched on rocks. here are eli and jessi - close to each other, but independent. i think standing on your own rock lends to independence.
remember this picture, as it is one of the few i have of anita sans camera:
muv, resting and enjoying everyone's laughter:
cuddles with my favorite guy? yes, please!!
peter is not a fan of having his picture taken. jackie and i had to coax him for this shot - though, as usual, jackie's sass steals the show!
just peter - love, love him!
muv and mike:
none of us wanted to re-board the bus. isn't it funny - we were all so excited to see mt. etna, but it's hard to stop savoring any single part of the experience.
now, i know you'll be skeptical of this - but i was clinging to mike here because of necessity rather than purely preference! it was so windy up there!!
this was hilarious. eli and tony sprinted down into the bottom of the crater - one minute, we were all up around the edge, and the next minute, there was a cloud of dust as they raced each other to the bottom. if you know tony, this doesn't surprise you at all. but eli is a little more likely to watch other peoples' craziness than to dive right in - seeing him so enthralled made me laugh from happiness!!
here they are, the conquerors of.....the crater.
as the rest of the group followed eli and tony, dad asked our tour guide if most of his groups did this. staring at the dust we were all kicking up, he replied, no - this is the first time a group has done this.
i couldn't stop taking pictures of eli - he was so full of spunk!
while the rest of us were inside the crater, peter chilled at the furthest edge, looking down at us in a rather gargoyle manner:
look at that view!! we were so blessed with our weather that day! what a sky!
i believe this was that age-old game of "let's see how close we can get to the edge before we fall":
the sensation of power from that crater was exhilarating. to think of lava coming from that place was humbling; now, we could stand there. the wind and view made me feel as though every sense was experiencing it - the feel of the fine lava dust, the sight of the valley before us, the sound of the wind as it tried to push us over, the fresh smell of mountain air, the taste of excitement. and if you would like to tell me that you can't taste excitement, then my only response can be that if you were up there, you would have been able to, too.
i love him. i wish we could go back to mt. etna every year, just to see eli having such fun!!
good bye, messina. we so, so enjoyed you!!