The final night of the European Coaster Club trip was spent on an overnight ferry from Catania to Naples. While considerably less painful than another lengthy coach journey, it was definitely not optimal to be awoken just after five in the morning by an unsympathetic recorded voice telling us to vacate our cabins. The view of the sunrise compensated for the horror however, as did a close up look at Allure of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship and one I'd like to travel on some day.
Our group spent a few hours exploring Naples before reboarding the bus for Oasi del Bimbo, a park whose incredibly funny name (if you're a slightly immature English speaker) translates to the utterly prosaic Place of the Child. The park was minuscule, being set on a 40x20 metre area ringed by Gold Mine, not a credit but fun nonetheless, with rock work on one side and a locomotive on the front. The rest of the park was equally pleasant, and featured a spin ride for children, a small 4D cinema, and a remarkably comfortable sofa under a shaded awning.
After leaving the park the group made an unscheduled visit to Pompeii for a guided tour lasting two hours. Megan and I had already planned our own extended tour for the following day, and it is a testament to the enormous scale of the site that there was almost no duplication between our visits.
Liberty City Fun
28th August 2015
Liberty City Fun is a substantial entertainment complex geared at children and young families, with a swimming pool, bowling, restaurants, shops, and over twenty rides, including a coaster. The facility operates with tokens, with individual attractions requiring anywhere up to five at a time. It was quickly discovered that our group would need over four hundred of these for our targets, and given that, it was easiest to have a staff member escort us between them in block.
We had an a lot of fun on Shark Trip (#2165), a figure eight ride on which we were given at least ten laps, but that paled in comparison to the powered Ben 10 Alien Dragoon which actually began to come apart while some of us were on board. The first few photos that I took show an intact power rail but the later ones clearly show a missing piece, and Megan reported a scraping noise that couldn't have been doing the underside of the car much good.
Our third stop was at the Casa dell Horror, a walkthrough haunted house that was reminiscent of the magnificent example at Parque de la Selva. High quality scenery was augmented with a vibrating floor and strobe lights, and while there could not have been more than three rooms in total, the detail in what was there was surprisingly good.
We were just about to leave when the tour leader announced that we would be allowed to ride the Autoscontro single seat bumper cars, and most of the group partook of this. It would have been nice to participate, but I decided to sit things out given the state of my somewhat tender rib.
28th August 2015
Arcolandia Pacifico was originally supposed to be part of the club itinerary, but the decision was taken to drop it due to a lack of solid information on opening hours. After the club bus took the group to the airport for an evening flight, those of us staying an extra night grouped together to try to visit on our own. Our hotel reception was able to arrange two seven-seater taxis that would drive us there under the meter, wait for up to half an hour, and then bring us back.
Our taxi was driven by an utter lunatic who had clearly spent far too much of his life playing Mario Kart. He chatted to us in excited broken English while driving at a multiple of the posted limit (at one point reaching 117 in a 40 zone!) and weaving in and out of traffic. He managed to get us to the park in just fifteen minutes, and, sensing our excitement at finding it open, joined us for a lap on Brucomela (#2166). Apparently our group had made his day, and he then proceeded to make ours, covering the return journey at a similar clip all while playing Beethoven's Ode to Joy at deafening volume on his in-car CD player. The total cost for our little side trip worked out at around €12 per head for the three quarter hour expedition, which was a total bargain; I'd have paid that for the experience of the drive alone!
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