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  • It took four hours walking up the volcano, zigzagging up the steep slope. When we were nearing the top craters started to pop like champagne bottles every few minutes around us. Everything was black except lava and the setting sun.

    A beach down by sea were pitch black also in full sunlight of midday, black stones and black ash and black water, and few sun bathers who lied under the volcano seemed to be black, too. I couldn’t say if it was due to soot in the air or their sun tan.

    There were no street lights on the island, so the volcano was the only source of light after sunset. Source of light that growled.

    We sat down, watched the sun go down and picnicked at the top of the volcano by the craters, with helmets on, soot and small pebbles raining on us. Meat inside the baguette tasted smoked. Water was smoked, too.

    I felt like I was a lighthouse keeper, this same volcano had been erupting thousands of years. It had guided Phoenician seafarers, it had guided Roman war galleys. It had guided Odysseus on his straying journeys to face one-eyed cyclops and deathly attractive sirens.

    We had to put respirators on. It was hard to breathe.

    We started to climb down in darkness of night. I couldn’t see a thing because of soot and cinder, I only heard when someone fell badly and cried.

    I tried to look down at my feet but I couldn’t see them. I had lost my own limbs. The volcano growled.

    After one hour of descending in pitch dark a strange, ghostly light fell over us. I looked up. There were millions of stars, millions of cyclop eyes, looking intensely at us from above. Millions of cyclop eyes were pondering who of us would be a delicious enough roast beef to eat.

    I understood then how Odyssey had felt in the cave of cyclops. It was the scariest moment of the volcano climbing. The cyclop stars.
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