At 5:30 PM, we meet our guide, kind of an outgrown hippie, smoking one cigarette after the other and talking in strange languages. Martina with her capability of instinctive understanding brings it down to the core: He invented his own Esperanto. No matter whether he speaks Italian, French or English, it always sounds more or less the same.
Our group is not huge, but heterogene: it is my first hike without severe sweating, thanks to the maximum speed of other group members. Although I miss a geologist who could tell me more about the elements that are thrown out of a volcano, about the heat and the atomic structure of magma, about the planet’s history and further details, I can do without and focus on the spectacles of the trip.
Most of the things we see are unique, at least for what I have experienced so far. Incredible proportions, like the small rock called Strombolichio that once has been the funnel that spit out the Stromboli island. The coniform shadow of the volcano, clearly visible and stretching out miles across the sea. The hike itself leads up to moon-like landscape with paths through lava in all forms: rocks and stones, sands and ashes, all gray with small red particles every here and there.
We reach the top at sunset, meaning: the exact minute when the sun dives into the sea to our West. Thanks to cloudless skys, we have full 360° view and it is breathtaking. Another gratitude goes to favorite winds that take the sulphur clouds of the volcano’s eruptions in the opposite direction.
All of a sudden, we see a first volcanic eruption – a small one, not even from the best perspective yet. Even though, like a spark, it sets us on fire (figuratively). How cool is it to see an active volcano while standing on its flanks?!?
See Video here: Stromboli Eruption during our Visit (filmed ourself)
Up to this point, it was a walk in the park. Now it is time to put on the helmets and, with significant temperature drop and coldest winds, all layers of clothing we have in our backpacks. Let me point out that you are totally wrong expecting a heated mountain to be warm on its peak – not even the thermic baselines about heat rising up are true anymore.
In the end, it does not matter. All that matters is standing up, 200m above the active craters, fascinated by the crater’s roar and the wind and the fireworks that go off around us.
After having seen the highest peaks of our planet (Himalaya, 2018), it now is like looking into the well-heated oven, showing open mouths of red-fervid magma – deep in the inner earth itself.