Yes I’m taking creative license from The Simpsons. But as per the inference, we got to explore the Grotte di Castellana today. It is a “karst” cave series that started forming 90 million years ago. And super duper amazing, so much so that it seems unreal, like it’s fake – a mish mash of sets from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and also Madame Tussauds. Incredible rock formations and stalactites, crystals etc.
We had just missed the morning guided tour in English, so we lumped in with everyone else for the normal tour, in Italian. Consequently, I cannot tell you ANYTHING about the caves. Other than the fact that one part looks like an owl and that there used to be water here (I heard l’aqua). So, you can read all about it here if you’d like to know more.
You’re not meant to take pictures but I took a few until a rather intimidating Italian man yelled NO PHOTOS at me. Jesus mate calm your farm. I assumed it meant no flash photography but whatevs. Here’s what I got:
The caves are beautifully preserved (it was discovered in 1938 I think). The temperature is about 18 degrees (some people had jackets but to me it was perfect!). You can either do a short tour which is 1 km or the longer one which is 3 km and includes ‘The White Cave.” I opted for the short for Hardy’s sake and other than being a bit slippery at times due to the moisture, it’s a very easy walk. It was kind of like bushwalking though where you want to look up and all around but also keep looking down at the ground so you don’t trip over. Either way it’s really fun, weaving up and down the tunnels with various parts illuminated with orange or white lights. Really cool.
After that we drove for about 50 minutes to Ostuni – the white city. Very Santorini-esc I suppose. I wasn’t really sure where to go, but Angelo described it as being like the other towns we had seen – just start walking and be amazed. By this time it was pretty hot though and the terrain was terrible for the pram, so I struggled a bit and didn’t really see the appeal to be honest. But after a pit-stop for lunch, which was also terrible (10 Euro for a smoothie!), I was determined to see what was on offer after I’d heard so many great things about it.
Again with the siesta it was quiet which was nice, and it was a really pretty town. I’m glad we came 🙂 It’s meant to have a vibrant nightlife which would be cool to see with the buildings all lit up.
After we got home and spent some time packing up, Hardy wanted another ice cream. This would be his fourth of the day. Christ. But what started as a quick stroll turned into something much longer! We found a toy shop nearby but it was closed, but it had a Monopoli limited edition of Monopoly! I HAD TO HAVE IT. I googled other toy stores and off we went. It was only a ten minute walk but it also gave us the opportunity to see more of Monopoli which was nice.
The second toy shop was this poxy little place with a shit array of junk, but as you can imagine, a little four year old boy had just walked ALL THIS WAY so there was NO WAY IN HELL we could leave empty handed. After talking him down from a 30 cm long container ship, he got a Matchbox car.
We ventured back via the above beautiful hidden playground. Hardy hopped onto those spinning pole things.. we have them at home.. where you jump on and it uses your own body weight to spin you around? Hardy doesn’t have a very good history with spinning things in playgrounds (he once spent too long on another spinning one and vomited. He waited until we were in the car though, of course!) So he climbs on, god knows why, and of course it starts to spin. And he starts screaming in panic! MUM MUM!! I am right there so I stop it but geez am I laughing (I’m laughing now). I comfort him, tell him it’s ok. He’s ok. He wants to go on the swings. So I start pushing as per normal but he’s holding onto the car still so he loses his grip and bloody falls off! This has never happened to me before. Fortunately it wasn’t bad, he just kind of slipped, held on with one hand, then dropped off. No injuries. But after a long, hot day, the spinning incident of 5 minutes prior, he was upset – understandably! I carried him as far as I could home as he sniffled away. You can imagine. Must have been thinking whatever the four year old equivalent is to ‘fuck this shit. Italian playgrounds are a joke.’
“Do you think that toy shop is open now?” was the first thing he said. “I think we should definitely check.” It wasn’t open, but as we turned around to head home there was ANOTHER toy store right across the road! This whole time! AND it had Monopoly and a new version of The Hulk from the latest movie. What’s another Hulk eh? I guess the moral of today’s story is to keep looking up and all around, even if you might trip.