John versus the Volcano – Day 4: Heeere’s Johnny!

After my full day of volcano trekking and wine tasting, I decided to take Sunday as a traditional day of rest and took to writing about my exploits of the previous day.

Things didn’t go quite as efficiently as planned.

As the sun shone across the breathtaking landscape, and the sound of absolutely nothing drifted all around me, I was finding it all too difficult to focus on my writing.

Pretty soon I had cracked open some wine and found myself just sitting back to enjoy the moment.

Unfortunately (for my writings sake) the ‘moment’ seemingly lasted until sunset, and my word-count was looking decidedly unhealthy.

When the night falls here, it falls quickly and dramatically and soon my isolated hotel felt very remote indeed.

Leaving the confines of my room to hunt down some more wine, and possibly some food, I started to get the unerring feeling that something was amiss.

The hotel, that had been positively bubbling with life the night before, was deathly silent. Everyone was probably out enjoying their Sunday dinner – I told myself.

Turning the corner I was confronted by a blanket of darkness. No lights on in the restaurant. No lights on at the bar. Nothing.

Had Etna erupted and no one had bothered to tell the foolish Englishman that came to a volcano without a car?

A solitary lamp burned at the small reception desk. Then, at last, I saw another human being.

It was the young Sri Lankan who had greeted me upon my arrival two days previously. Incidentally, I had asked his name at the time and typically I had instantly forgotten it, and obviously I am far too British to have asked him again. He didn’t seem too surprised to see me, which I saw as a positive (unless no one had told him about the eruption either!) and he explained to me that I was now the only guest at the hotel. Spooky!

As there was no restaurant service, he offered to make me some salad & bread and I gratefully accepted.

He then proceeded to pour me the largest glass of red wine I have ever seen – obviously he is rarely put in charge of the bar! I sat and drank and ate, half watching the Nicolas Cage remake of The Wicker Man dubbed in Italian (infinitely better than it is in English) and discussing cricket.

Soon it was time for me to head back to my room and really get stuck in to my writing.

As the night drew on, I reached out for a morsel of human contact and took a quick tour of twitter and facebook, naturally mentioning that I was alone in the hotel. This was fine until it was casually pointed out to me that it was all a bit like a scene from The Shining!

My God, it was. Alone in a remote, isolated, hotel. Suffering writers block. All I needed was an axe!

Luckily the night passed without any torrents of blood flowing down the corridors, or late night strolls around a maze. I eventually finished off my article at about 4am and at last it was time to sleep.

It was a long day, but in the end I am glad I spent it the way I did. After all – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

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1 comment

  1. Yann Demierre’s avatar

    Hello John!
    I really enjoyed reading about your Etna adventure and I can’t wait to read about the last four days you’ve spend over there!
    Merci
    Yann

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