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2017-04-30

Journey to the Centre of the Earth…in Puglia

Despite being up, showered and breakfasted by 8:30am – a minor miracle – we still didn’t leave the B&B until gone midday.

Yes we’ve two small kids, but with four adults you’d have thought we could do better!

I guess it was the first day of our trip, and yesterday had been a long old journey, so I suppose it wasn’t so surprising…

The B&B looks lovely in the morning sunlight.

A nice buffet selection, including fresh mozzarella dripping in milk, sliced meats, sunripe tomatoes soaked in olive oil and basil, toasts and an assortment delicious homemade cakes, among other things, let’s you know you’re in the south of Italy – there’s definitely no hint of an English breakfast here.

After 1 part debating our itinerary and 9 parts chinwagging we settle on visiting the caves at Castellans (le grotte di Castellana).

Apparently, they are rather spectacular.

*****

I’d been to Chislehurst Caves many moons ago and it was nice enough; smooth round corridors of stone the Druids once bounced around in; a couple of small rooms; no natural light. I figured this would be similar.

This was not similar.

In short, it was the sort of thing I’d only ever seen in National Geographic magazine.

Like something from an Indiana Jones film!

There are two choices; a short guided tour of an hour (13 Euros) or a long one of two hours (16 Euros). The difference seemed to be whether you visit the White Cave or not at the end.

Either way, you can pay with cards.

We picked the long one – 3km of walking underground.

Unsurprising it isn’t buggy friendly; you’ve got to leave them topside.

What was surprising; they have free slings and carriers for kids! Huzzah!

Leonardo settled into his easily – especially when Simona realised she could nurse him as she walked. Mina was less keen on hers…though when she finally went in it was comfortable enough for her to fall asleep for twenty minutes.

Alas, due to copyright issues you can’t take photos inside (I know, how can you copyright nature?!) but suffice it to say it is an amazing place to visit.

The guide might have been good, it was hard to hear whilst fussing over the kids, but the views didn’t really need much explanation; forests of spectacular stalactites and stalagmites filling 70 metre tall underground caverns, grown over millennia.

Walking through felt like going back to the dawn of time, to a primordial period of the Earth’s early years.

It was definitely one of those experiences you won’t forget in a hurry, and an absolute “must do” if you are ever visiting the middle of the Puglia region in Italy.

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