Well, where to begin? After a sleepless night in Manchester I boarded my flight to Naples. “Why Naples? Its a shithole” everyone asked. “Don’t bother” they said. I had all these negative vibes already from the city before I had landed.
But…when I did land… instant tears! What the hell had I done? I was alone and unable to speak Italian!
I decided to catch a cab to my hostel, because I was so exhausted I didn’t think I would be able to deal with public transport! Tried logging into uber but it didn’t seem to exist. Great start! I was so worried that I would be ripped off by a dodgy driver. Every travellers nightmare came to mind! Was I ever going to see my money or belongings again?
Nothing too terrible happened… except the shocking driving and yelling! There doesn’t seem to be any lanes or road rules. You just drive! Drivers yell at each other! Horns constantly beeping! This was not helping my already fragile situation. I was crying again. Can I turn back?
Arrived at the hostel and checked in fine, was greeted by a wonderful Italian man who loves to sing loud. Any song will do, as long as he can sing.
But then as I sat on my bed… the tears just wouldn’t stop. I think I cried for an hour or two. Was naples going to be the next Venice? My brother called me, he helped calm me down! I was looking at flights to anywhere but here! Then my friend Selina called me and suggested I go for a walk and try explore cause there was no point sitting in my room crying and feeling sorry for myself.
Hahaha… I got lost didn’t I? Even with a map, marking the route to take. God I was useless. I walked in a circle 5 times before I found my road (if you could call it that).
That night I met a nice Romanian/Hungarian girl named Rebeca. She was my room mate and became a good friend. For 3 days we explored Napoli and surrounds.
Second day, Rebeca suggested we go to the best preserved Greek ruins in the world, Paestum. So we headed on down to the train station and got a ticket. We had an hour to kill so went for a wander. She showed me Castel Nuovo, at the port of Napoli and a market place which is currently empty but still beautiful. The architecture in this building was impressive!
We were too late back so missed the train, doesn’t matter we were hungry anyway! There isn’t much food wise near the train station so opted for something light… got talking and realised our next train was close. We needed to get directions to the stop, I found an information Centre who directed us to the ticket office who directed us to the information Centre…. really? Finally got the answer just to see our train leave! Arrrg! Who misses a train twice in 1 day?
Right! Next one we have to catch! I didn’t spend €5 to sit in a train station like a gypsy! We waited the hour and boarded! So worth it! The sights, the museum, the peace and quiet!
Even though it was raining we had our €2 umbrellas that we bargained for and walked around the ancient village. This place was old! 52bc old! Phew!
After the village, we went into the museum (by this stage it was 5.30 or 6pm) had a wander looking at the artifacts from he village and surrounds. We were joined by the curator of the museum who told us about some of the displays (all in italian thank god Rebeca could speak it). He then asked us to wait 5 minutes and then he showed us a area not seen by many unless you were special. We went into a tomb of an aristocrat. Wow! It’s not what I imagined a tomb to look like at all. Decorated by paintings of its time similar to he Egyptians.
He even showed us artifacts which are being restored.
Sadly it was time to go. We headed back down the dirt track to the train and into a terrifyingly walk through naples in the dark.
The next day, Rebeca suggested we go to casterta palace and gardens. We headed off early so we could get the most of the morning sun. We started with the gardens. There was a bus to the top but it cost maybe €3 and I was glad we didn’t. Why miss the gardens on the way? up we walked. Taking time to see all the beauty! At the top was a aquaduct waterfall decorated by marble statues! Wow (there is a lot of wows in this trip hence the name of the post).
At the top we had a breather and took some more (50 or so) pics.
Back down the hill to the palace.
Inside in the cool air (it was hot outside). We were in awe! The opulence of its time ( 18th century ) was insane! Built for a Austrian king and queen who lived in the palace. There was gold everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE!! Ceilings painted like a work of art.
After an hour or two looking at everything we set off back to napoli.
I suggested we go to Castel st elmo’s. Thanks to Selina’s blog post it looked and sounded like a fantastic idea! We weaved around the ancient rabbit warren that is old napoli and found the funicolare ( no way we’re we walking) to head up the mountain side. Greated by a view of the Gulf. We could see the islands dotted in the clear blue waters, vesuvius watching over in a dominating way.
The Castel was more of a giant fort, protecting the city from rival army’s. Now it is a platform for a beautiful Vista!
Back down the mountain side after an hour or so, we were ready for bed! It wasn’t late but after a long day of walking we were done in! Quick stop for some refreshing galapo on the way.
I’m so happy I met Rebeca who got me out of my comfort zone and helped navigate the public transport system. Without her I would have probably only have gotten lost and walked the same loop over and over to find the hostel.
The following day I was checking out and off to sorrento.
My advice for any travellers wanting to go to Naples, keep your wits about you. Have a map and read it! Keep your phone and cameras hidden when down in the main city area but have fun. This city has a lot going for it if you look. Don’t expect tourists to be treated like the economy boosting patrons that they are. With the roads, walk where you want to cause the drivers won’t stop if you’re waiting to cross!
Make sure you head out and visit old napoli (wear good shoes suitable for cobble stones) and eat pizza!!!
I’m not sure when I will be back, but now I am prepared I’m sure it will be an easier start the next time.