On Saturday we left Gatwick a few minutes late and as I always like a window seat, saw the white cliffs of southern England disappear and the blue of the English channel in sunlight provide a complementary colour to the orange on the wings of the Easyjet plane. I passed the time on the flight reading the Saturday papers and trying to resurrect my cryptic crossword skills. We passed over the snowy peaks of the Alps and then down the east coast of Italy. The Aeolian Islands appeared, some quite obviously extinct volcanoes and then we were in the cloud with some turbulence before landing at Catania. It was 26 degrees but once our group had gathered and we had met our tour guide, Elena and the bus driver, Giuseppe, we set off on the hour long drive to our hotel which sits at 1000m on Mount Etna’s flank. We got good views of Etna (Europe’s highest volcano) and the sun going down from the bus but could not stop for photographs. The mountain weather forecast has changed a little from dry all day tomorrow to rain in the afternoon but aim to reach the summit so there is and early start tomorrow. Etna last erupted in May of this year. Settling into the hotel, meeting all the group and sampling the local cuisine and wine was the priority for the evening.