The day began at the civilized hour of 7am when we were shoved onto a bus and whisked away to the daunting Mt Vesuvio. After getting all worked up on the long climb to the crater ahead of us we plunged into the mists and ascended the mountain.
We were introduced to our guide Julian who to Mr Chambers delight spoke fluent Latin.
We entered the palace and instantly we were surrounded in 20 types of marble.
The garden however are the main feature of the palace because they stretch out into the horizon on a slight slope and it is because of this slope that allows a large continuous flow of water across 120ha through five fountains each depicting a story of shiny white marble. We rode through the Caserta gardens on bikes that broke down repeatedly along the way. I think next tour needs at least half a 6-8 hours there just to hear chamber rant on about the mythology behind each statue.
Following the water back down the slope to the palace we left to go to an amphitheater in Pozzuoli which is one of, if not the best preserved ancient Roman ring in the world. We could explore the cages and the arena underneath the ring and try to imagine what it would have been like 2000 years ago. Callum Tim and I re-enacted a scene from Gladiator which I inevitably won and we left for the lava fields Solfatara.
After shedding a brief tear for the retirement of last years guide Bruno we walked across the moon-like landscape toward gas vents coming out of the earth. On the way we threw large rocks at the ground and felt just how close we were to a chamber of extremely hot gases. After having a look at boiling mud pools we then took the long trip back to the hotel.