Naples, Italy (MOUNT VESUVIUS) Day 59 Part 2

The trip up to Vesuvius comes under the category of “it’s a good time or a good story.” I bought my bus ticket to get up there. It’s a half hour ride and the ticket includes the 9 euro fee to visit the park. Fair enough. They make it out to be a 4×4 ride up the mountain and a guided tour once you get up there. I’m thinking an organised type of thing, right? Well, this is Italy, and things aren’t exactly like that here. First of all, the driver parks the bus beside this monumental puddle where we all have to pick our way around it to get on the bus. I think he did it on purpose, because he was parked somwhere else and moved to this spot ?!? So that was annoying. We have an uber bumpy ride up in the 4×4 Mercedes bus. As we were getting higher I could see some dark clouds. It had poured the day before, and I guess the rain clouds moved up to Vesuvius, because by the time we got to the top, it was pouring. Have you ever seen chunky rain before? Now I can say I have! Our bus was full (probably 18 people) and only myself and a nice Scottish couple and their daughter actually walked up to the crator. We get up there after about a 20 minute walk, and there is supposed to a guide waiting there. It’s raining so hard that everyone is huddling under any shelter they can find, so we miss the place where the guides are supposed to be. Not that there were any signs or anything… ): We walk to the very end, and I see an info. booth. I ask about the guide and we get this half assed guy reading us facts out a ratty old book. WTF? Then he expected a tip after, for 5 minutes of reading in broken English. My tip was saying thank you in Italian. I paid 19 euro already for this Mickey Mouse tour, I wasn’t parting with one more penny, er, euro. So, the crater was cool, I had a very wet bum (my umbrella can only do so much) and Italy as usual didn’t disapoint, in terms of living up to my expectations (of mass chaos and things not going according to plan.) Don’t get me wrong, I love Italy, I just wish they were a little more German in their organisation!
 The drive through the woods to get to the volcano.
Those clouds do NOT look promising, do they?
First glimpse of the crater. It’s massive!
Trail along the rim of it.
See the smoke on the very right hand side? That made me a little nervous… this bad boy hasn’t erupted since the 1940’s, but it’s still steaming!
There were 2 sad, wet stray dogs at the top. I stooped down to take a picture of this little guy…
Then turned around and took a phot of this one, when doggie #1 came over and started nudging my hand with his nose. Oh my god, I almost started bawling. I really miss my dog, and I’ve had many moments already on this trip where I’ve appraoched dogs to give them a pat, but this one made it clear it wanted some attention from me, so I gave him some.
Puppy love.
Heading back down to meet the bus and our surly, rude driver.


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