Black Hills are only one-hour drive from Badlands National Park. The name comes from the native Lakota Paha Sapa meaning hills that are black, because they look dark from distance. And this is not because the hills are dark, but because of the green vegetation standing out in the middle of the plains. Coming from the eastern grasslands, we could see Black Hills rising from afar, where the pine forests and the granite peaks create a distinctive landscape from what we’ve seen until now. One of the oldest mountains in North America, these hills are actually the highest mountains east of the Rockies with its highest peak little over 2,200 m.
“To go or not to go” was the question for many undecided people. But not for us. How can we not visit the only active volcano on the Europe mainland?
Driving from Cinque Terre to Pompeii was without any major event. If one is not used to drive in Italy yet, now is the time. Once we passed Rome area towards South, we had a nice surprise to find a very low toll on the highway, but instead we found many roads under construction.
Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano with many eruptions over time, but it is best known for its eruption in 79 AD, when the Roman cities Pompeii and Ercolano (Herculaneum by its ancient name) were totally destroyed.
Forgotten in an overcrowded train might be the paradox of the day. But I didn’t care, I was just happy that I got a window seat before the last station. I still had a lot until the day’s destination, but the train had come to an unexpected stop. I thought that it could be hard to pass through the next tunnel, or maybe other trains were due since ours was late from the beginning. Whatever the reason would be, I was still happy that our wagon stopped outside of the tunnel, about 50 m above the sea. I could see the seashore below the cliff and I was wondering how much work and effort has been done for this railroad: half the route is through the mountain and the other half is strong bridges at the edge of the cliff.
There is absolutely no doubt this was the most colourful scenery I’ve ever seen!
After getting over my initial fear about the long drive to Vermont, I had no other thought than looking forward to a new experience and to a new place. The 7 hours’ drive through the rain and clouds didn’t discourage us, since we knew the sun will come over in the following days. We were already stunned at the beautiful landscaping through the curtain of clouds and the rain intermission, but still ignorant at the upcoming events.
As you might wonder, our destination was Mount Snow, located in the Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont. But how to recognize for a Green Mountain, when all kind of colours and shades of red, yellow and green are surrounding you?.. Following our trail through the hills and mountains, a great journey through the western side of Vermont, was, as you have realized, in the middle of the fall, one of the best seasons when one can visit these wonderful places.