Thursday, July 23, 2015


Another day, we got up really early and headed back to the Termini train station to go to Naples.  This time, we knew where to look for the train schedule and we did not arrive way too early.  :)  Because we mostly wanted to stay in Rome and not have to move from place to place, we thought we would just take a couple of day trips and return to our apartment at night. When looking at the map from home months before, it seemed that Florence and Naples were both doable.  We'd heard mixed reviews about Naples, that it was dirty and that there was not that much to do, but on the other hand, we also read that it was a great place to visit and there was lots to see, not to mention home of supposedly the best pizza!  Rich and I decided, hey, we can probably find plenty to do just wandering around, right?!

Some of our travel mates were not sure they wanted to go and offered other suggestions but it seemed that it was getting too complicated or we'd have to go farther than we wanted in one day.  We considered going to Pompeii, not that far from Naples but we'd have to get another train to Pompeii and back to Naples, which seemed like it would take more time than we could spare. Plus we were not sure about all the walking Mom would have to do. Eventually, Rich and I kind of overruled everyone else and said we were going to Naples, but they were free to do what they wanted.  As it turned out, everyone decided to go, either because they just gave in or decided they didn't want to venture out on their own, or whatever.  :)

It was a rainy and chilly day, to start with.  Upon leaving the train, we caught the metro on the way to the National Archeological Museum.  We got off the train and still had to walk a good distance in the rain, then wait in a fairly long line to get in.  There were a ton of school kids there on field trips, but luckily they had their own line!
                      Miscellaneous heads

The Archeological Museum was very interesting, with artifacts from Pompeii and a huge number of statues, paintings, and sculptures.  We spent quite a bit of time there, but I have to admit that after awhile, I get a little weary of wandering hallway after hallway looking at art work.  Part of me was itching to get out on the streets and see Naples!
 Remnants from houses in Pompeii

Barbara and Brenda were much more inclined to want to see every possible historical and cultural spot, and they were our "fast walkers" while the rest of us tended to stroll along at a more leisurely pace.  So they took off on their own to follow a walking tour they'd found through travel writer Rick Steves.  We agreed to meet back at the train before our appointed departure time.

Meanwhile Rich had done some research to find the places that were recommended to have the best pizza so he, Mom, Vesta and I caught a cab to the restaurant in the #1 spot.  Our cab driver warned us that there would be a long wait, and sure enough, as we approached, we could see a line down the block.  It was still rainy and chilly and we had no idea how long it would take so we blew that off pretty quickly and walked across the street to another restaurant that was not even on the list, but oh well!  And, you know what, it was probably just as good!
We were pretty unprepared for Naples and had not done near enough research. We figured we could find the "old town" area on our own with a map but we mostly wandered aimlessly and were never sure exactly where we were. 
 In our confusion, we passed this corner about three times!

We set out for the water, thinking there would be some interesting sights or shops there, but it was more industrial appearing, at least the part we came to.  We looked for some markets and shopping areas and had little luck.  At some point, we ended up in a rather "seedy" area of town, which I think kind of worried Mom and Rich but I kept saying, "This is probably just where the 'regular' people live!" 
These kids came up to  us and wanted to know if we were Americans.  When we said yes, they kinda circled around us a little bit and one of them lit up a cigarette.  Mom and I were telling them, "Oh, that's bad for you; you shouldn't be smoking!"  We were chatting and then I said, "Let me take your picture!" They all started saying "No, no, no!" putting up their hands and running away. So we don't know if they were up to no good or what. LOL  We decided our strategy any time we thought we were being targeted for pickpocketing (which we never were, as far as we could tell) would be to offer to take a photo.  :)

 Of course we had to stop again and try some famous Naples sfogliatelle.   In Naples, they say there are three beautiful things, "the sea, Mt. Vesuvius, and sfogliatelle."  We pulled up chairs at a little sidewalk cafe where the waiter was super snooty and acted like we were a big bother.  We camped out there for awhile since we had worn Mom out with all the walking and it was still a little drizzly.
From there, we decided to walk back toward the train station because there were supposed to be some shops along the way.  Well, those ended up being mainly touristy booths with the usual magnets and kitchen towels and postcards, so it didn't take us long to do our shopping.  By this time, we were tired of Naples and just killing time because our train didn't leave for another 3 hours or more!  We sheepishly entered the train station admitting that we probably should have gone somewhere else instead of Naples.  I feel like we didn't really give it a good chance since we probably missed some great things by being unprepared, but all in all, we were not that impressed.  Funny, once we got to the train station, who should we see but Brenda and Barbara, who had also returned early because they ran out of things to do.  :)

Mom stayed at the station with the others and Rich and I went back out to another sidewalk cafe so I could have some hot tea.  Then it really started pouring down rain so we were stranded there awhile.  Back at the train station, I had the brilliant idea that maybe we could change our tickets to an earlier train to Rome, but after waiting in line to talk with an agent, I was told that the only way we could do it was to pay the large difference in fares, which was not worth it to us.

While waiting, we enjoyed several people playing piano in the station and witnessed a man and a woman get into a fight, which was quickly broken up by a security guard.  He sent the man outside but the woman kept yelling at the guy from a distance and trying to start things up again.  :)

After a very long and not that much fun of a day, we caught our train back to Rome and decided "Naples--been there, done that." 

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