San Leonardello - Augusto 74.7 1372’ascent.
The down side of Etna firing so spectacularly was that the following morning (today) the air was full of fine black ash. In a very short while we were very mucky and all the cars were the same colour – grey. The other downside of a volcanic environment is that the street are paved with square lava cobbles! Very bad for the trailers.
However, today’s highlight has to be the manner in which two policemen sympathetically and sensibly dealt with two old age pensioners who found themselves on the motorway! The story goes like this; we were trying to follow the ss114 through Catania. We did follow the signs. What we didn’t realise was that the ss114 had lost a strategic bridge and the road signs were following a deviation. We climbed out of the town and finally up a steep ramp onto, what we mistakenly thought was the ss114. After about 1km, we were flagged down by a man in a van with a blue light! The penny dropped; we were on the motorway! Sh…..t. After much arm waving, and a call to the police, the man in his van escorted us to a nearby service station. Here we waited in some trepidation, for the police to arrive. We explained in our best English that it was a genuine mistake and that we were trying to get to Siracrusa. Having established that we were just a couple of rather stupid, old English, they instructed us to follow the car with the blue lights flashing. We did - at speed for about 10 kilometres! Not only did they see us safely off the motorway, they ensured that we were put onto the right road which we would never have found ourselves. Finally, as our strength gave out, they stopped, we thanked them profusely and after much hand shaking we were on our way, absolutely exhausted. Until that point, we hadn’t been sure whether we were to be booked or fined and the adrenaline was pumping along with hearts and lungs. Many thanks to the Sicilian Police force.