the best laid plans..............

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September 23rd 2008
Published: September 25th 2008
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Vesuvius from the bus at SorrentoVesuvius from the bus at SorrentoVesuvius from the bus at Sorrento

still but only sleeping
There we were, in front of our hotel at the designated time of 7:20 am, waiting for our bus to take us back in time to ancient Pompei and then up the imposing slopes of the still active Vesuvius.
There we were, in front of our hotel at 40 minutes past the designated time of 7:20 am, waiting for our bus to take us back in time to ancient Pompei and then up the imposing slopes of the still active Vesuvius.
Mmmmm, better make a phone call. What do you mean you don't have our booking ??? We paid for it months ago. You're not coming back for us ??? What ??? Well thanks very much mate, NOT !
Plan B, again. We are getting a lot of value out of Plan B lately.
Local bus to town, train to Pompei, walk the ruins for 2 1/2 hours, bus to Vesuvius, walk up the slope to the smouldering crater and back down again, bus, train, bus and we are home again. We did it and had a great day. Stuff you Mr Tour Company. The view from the top of the volcano is nothing short of panoramic. Old Pompei must have
Pompeii, Temple of ApolloPompeii, Temple of ApolloPompeii, Temple of Apollo

and the volcano that covered the town in the distance
been a very civilised town if the ruins are anything to go by. So much is so very well preserved. Dot can't quite understand that the authorities let so many people every year just stomp all over so much ancient history. Anyway, check another two of those must do things off the must do list !
Now all we have to do is get our money back from the tour operator. (Chances ??)
The 9:00 am check out on the Monday morning turned to 9:30 as the hotel shuttle was somewhat overbooked, so the car hire pick up fell even later behind than the 8 am start we would have liked. The little cabrio we ordered was finally brought around for us at 10:30 and we set off on our long journey over to the Adriatic coast and up to Bologna.... or so we thought. Can you hear that thumping noise. Yeah, but it's not too bad. 1 hour later, that thumping noise seems to be getting worse. Keep going! 3 hours later that thumping noise is scaring the hell out of us. We finally pulled over at Pescra, a large seaside city on the Adriatic coast, that seems to be a sort of Gold Coast for Italian tourists. After five phone calls to people who were unhelpful or ignorant or just plain wrong we reached a bloke who directed us to the Europcar dealership at the local airport to have the car replaced. 12 km further away from the airport we did a U turn under the autostrade (motorway) and headed back to the airport. 2 1/2 hours later we were passing that spot again in a replacement car, finally back on track for Bologna. Not the cruizy little cabrio though. Just a boring mid sized Fiat. Unfortunately we didn't get to cruize the A14 motorway with the top down as the sun shone brightly on the Adriatic. We cruized ok, but not with the top down, and the sun went down not long after we resumed our journey, but its a very nice piece of the world that seems to forgotten by most tourists. Its low rolling hills covered in orchards & vinyards and fields of crops. We are glad that we got to see this part of Italy that might have otherwise escaped us.
The motorway was a great way to eat up the miles, with most traffic travelling at 120-130 km/hr, and some doing much muh more. The 137,299 trucks we passed (yes we counted them) are limited to 80-90 km/hr though. They seemed like a constant stream of lorries of all types that stretched for hundreds of kilometres.
We finally reached our hotel at 9:30pm, 11 hours after we left Sorrento. A big day, but one worth doing for the chance to see a different face of Italy to what we have seen so far. The hotel we are in is modern, big, the rooms are quiet, the food is good, and its close to the old centre of town. Its one of the best so far.
Tomorrow, THE DUCATI FACTORY !! yippeeee

Additional photos below
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one of Bologna's two remaining towersone of Bologna's two remaining towers
one of Bologna's two remaining towers

it leans more than the Pisa tower

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