Top 5: Tours of Volcanoes

I am at the point in my Geography course where I am introducing my students to volcanism and I’ve been thinking back to few volcanoes I have seen in my lifetime. They were absolutely awe inspiring, just thinking of how they formed, and the power the have on our planet. I am looking forward to adding more volcano trips to my list of adventures.

This might be a bit of a biased list, since I have been to the top 3. My apologies, but I would love to say I have been to all of them!

5. Mount Yasir, Vanuatu

To get to the most accessible and one of the most active volcanoes would be such a great adventure! The island is so isolated and untouched, it would be a great place to hike, too!

4. Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland

I would love to go to Iceland to see the volcanoes, glaciers and mid-Atlantic Ridge ripping up the landscape of this hostile environment, with the nicest people around. It would especially be neat to see the result of that hyped Eyjafjallajokull eruption a few years ago.

3. Mount Vesuvius, Italy

Visiting Pompeii, then hiking up Mount Vesuvius (in flip flops…oops) was one of the highlights of my trip to Italy a few summers ago.

Pompeii was so eerie and fascinating, but I went rather quickly from destroyed house to destroyed monument. That summer was one of the hottest in recent years in Italy, and walking around in an open area like that in 50 degree celsius temperatures was not going so well.

At least it was a tad bit cooler, with a breeze when I arrived at the top of Mount Vesuvius and enjoyed the view of Naples below.

2. Mauna Kea, Hawaii

I took a geoscience course on the Big Island of Hawaii a few summers ago and had a rare chance to climb to the top of the tallest mountain in the world. I love telling my students this when I introduce the topic. YES – that’s right, if you measure the elevation from the base of the mountain well below sea level – it then IS the tallest mountain in the world.

My professor drove part way up the mountain and we were able to then hike to a series of obsevatories, take a tour of one, then proceed to the summit of Mauna Kea.

yes, that’s in Hawaii…looks like beach weather, doesn’t it?

1. Kilauea, Hawaii

On the same course that took me to the summit of Mauna Kea, our professor drove us to the most active volcano in the world – Kilauea. We hiked to the shore along old lava flows and sat in a circle discussing the history of this fascinating volcano.

As the sun began to set, the red glowing lava was easy to see, as it exited from lava tubes under the surface, and into the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the most awe inspiring things I have seen.

I didn’t include Yellowstone on this list. I’m not sure if it’s fair to include a supervolcano – it would blow all the others out of the competition (literally?).

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…(not)

Classes are done.

Warm sunny days are here.

Ice Cream truck is rolling around.

Kids are studying.

Teachers are drowning.

Yes – I am drowning. Drowning in PAPERS!

Final projects….can’t wait for the exams, you can triple that pile!

I just received final projects from my 5 geography classes and had quite the workout lugging them home to mark.

Pretty sure that my breaks, in between marking lovely research projects, will consist of me dreaming about my summer plans. And I am pretty sure that it will be the theme of my posts for the next few weeks.

Come onnnnn summer!!!!!

Remembering Vieste, Italy

I had a few friends over for a dinner party last night, and they were commenting on all my photographs around my condo. They


all were displays of some of my favorite landscapes I fell in love with during my travels.

One panorama was of the town of Vieste, Italy that I visited 2 summers ago. Right in the ‘spur’ of Italy.

We got to talking about my adventure there, and found it quite fitting, that, the pasta being made for our dinner originated from the Vieste area – orrichette, or ‘small ear’.

What was so great about this part of my trip in Italy was that my 2 companions and I did not have a road map. We had no clue where we were driving, but, wow was it gorgeous at every turn.

Coming from Pescara, we ended up stopping for the first time in Vieste after driving the Italian way through multi-lane highways around Bari (and an Ikea!), to long country roads, to the curviest roads I have ever seen. Thank goodness my friend was so great at driving stick.

Driving into the town, from above was absolutely breath-taking. You can see the white wash buildings practically growing straight out of the rocky cliffs and hanging over the Adriatic Sea. I couldn’t wait to jump out of the car and explore this amazing city.

Speaking of jumping out, a lovely cricket friend about the size of my fist decided to jump IN to our car, and land on my leg…in which, my companions discovered my bizarre scream/laughing fit that I am somewhat famous for.

Anyway, once we finally found this cricket which decided to hang in for a 10 minute ride with us, my one friend carefully placed the cricket on the ground beside the car when we parked….ummm…unfortunately it was right in the lane of moped traffic. And, well….moment of silence….

After exploring this quaint city on foot, it was evident that this was a gateway for trade all around the world. The small shops that lined up along the narrowest alley ways housed some of the most unique jewelry from all around the world. One pair of banana wood earrings from Indonesia were my favorite by far.

Also on this walking adventure, we discovered possibly the most delicious olives I have ever tasted. We purchased a few scoops of olives and carried them around as we shopped. At the end of a 2 hour tour, sadly, those olives in the picture were toast.

Two amazing things will always be remembered fondly in my mind about this town (if you know me well, you will know I am a typical geographer when it comes to reflecting on my travels).

The first thing was this gigantic ROCK sticking out of the shallow water towering over the town.

The second, was the crazy tides that came in and out right below our hotel. At one moment, we were walking along a soft sandy beach, the next moment, we were wading through the clearest water I have ever seen.


What a rock!

Tides, a view from our room

From above

Please, can I go back?