Naples; nothing like we expected

Monday 27th October

We set off this morning at 8.30, having used our Florence trip as a learning experience as to how busy the ticketing office is and as we have a RailPass, we can’t use the automated ticketing machines in the station. I also discovered that booking online had a few days lead time, even though we had no trouble getting seats on the first available train.

We had a little bit of time before our train departed, so we found a cafe in the station and got a hot chocolate, iced coffee, brioche crema and some kind of chocolate-filled dough balls, whose name escapes me. This turned out to be a learning experience; hot chocolate turned out to be what appeared to be hot, thick, melted chocolate, iced coffee was (quite bitter) espresso with ice in it, and the brioche crema was filled with custard, not cream. I can’t wait to get back home for a FUIC. The brioche was delicious, though!

Pre-trip cafe treats

Pre-trip cafe treats

It was only about one hour in the high speed train until we arrived in Naples. Mount Vesuvius looked impressive and I couldn’t help but wonder what would interest people in building houses right on the slopes of the mountain, but I can’t imagine it’s due for another eruption any time soon.

We exited the train and purchased a map before setting off towards the waterfront. The sun was out and things were looking good. Traffic in Naples is crazy; in Rome, cars generally stop once you’re already on the crossing. In Naples, cars might slow down!

After about half an hour of walking the most interesting thing we passed was a service station, so we stopped to check the map as we didn’t seem to be getting any closer to the waterfront - seems we missed an intersection. We backtracked to the missed intersection and kept going. The more we walked, the more we realised that we were yet to see anything worth stopping for.

Neapolitan petrol station

Neapolitan petrol station

We walked another 15 minutes or so before Rhi said we should head back towards the train station and look for something to eat, giving up on the waterfront dream as the volumes of rubbish and dirty people increased.

Naples is known for its pizza and gelati - sadly we didn’t even give it the chance to redeem itself, declaring the trip a bust, buying seat reservations and hurrying onto the first available train back to Rome.

We both agreed that if we were ever to return to Italy, we’d spend the whole time in Rome - it’s not like there’s any shortage of things to do there. In Rome we can get lost and not be too worried about finding it easy back to something familiar without much trouble. In Naples I took a look at a couple of side streets and decided it would be safer to not venture in.

I’m sure there’s nicer parts to Naples, much like Florence, but we just didn’t get a proper chance to see them. That said, we couldn’t find any tours in Naples either, so maybe there aren’t any nicer parts.

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