The first thing we did this morning was to call the Roman Colosseum to see if it would be open for tours. It would not. So, we checked out of our Rome hotel and were on a fast train to Naples by 1120. We just love the fast trains. At 262 km/hr, you can see a lot of country in a very short time. When two fast trains pass each other going in opposite directions it’s always a shocker. Wow. Your ears pop as it slams by and it’ s over in an instant. Your ears also pop in each tunnel you pass through, and there many tunnels.
Today the sun was out and the entire countryside was covered with snow. It was gorgeous. Olive orchards, hundred year-old abandoned buildings with roofs long caved in, herds of sheep, and hundreds of miles of dome-topped plastic greenhouses.
Upon arrival In Naples, we learned first-hand what our book hinted at: Naples is a fairly intimidating place to be. Naples is kind of a third-world looking place where one-third of its population is unemployed. Trash is everywhere and scary looking people are standing all over the place. It seemed like all eyes were on us as we left the train station in search for our hotel. The directions given in our guide book were horrible and the iPhone compass was off by almost 180 degrees. Oh, and no one here speaks English. So, we put our valuables in inside pockets, and headed in the opposite direction we were supposed to go until we came across a group of four policia, one of which spoke a little bit of broken English. He set us on the right path at last, but whoever wrote our guide book must be some sort of marathon runner. It’s not a ten minute walk to our hotel as suggested, it’s a ten minute drive! Anyway, we finally found our hotel without getting mugged and with time to visit the city museum. Our hotel attendant Giuseppe (Joseph) was very helpful and especially passionate about his city. He told us of the many must-see attractions, of Naples’ impact on civilization, and of all the significant inventions the Kingdom of Naples is known for. Joseph really was a pleasure to listen to.
Off to the Museum we went, and during the 30 minute walk to get there we were both able to get a feel for Napoli and become more comfortable and secure while in it. The population of Naples is over a million, and those with cars and scooters drive as if they’re the only ones on the planet. Crossing the street requires your undivided attention. The cars may stop if you’re in the X-walk, but the scooters will zip around the cars and flatten you if you’re not watching for them.
One particular street had shop after shop of wedding gowns, suits, tuxedos, flowers, and wedding photographers. It would be the only place you needed to go if planning a wedding.
Unfortunately, the Musieum was a little underwhelming. It contained a collection of artifacts from the buried city of Pompeii, but very little English explanation about them. We did check out another magnificent duomo along the way though, which are always worth a look.
One of Naples’ contributions to the world is the invention of pizza. So, we got a recommendation from our hotel, located a local joint and had one each. They’re very good here, and all through Italy they’re larger than a dinner plate. Even though one of them would easily be a meal for two, the waiter will always tell you that they’re one-person size. Even though we know this, we always get one each
We never saw any Neapolitan ice cream in Naples.
Street in Naples
Another fabulous Duomo.