Naples?? Maybe I should rethink that…


Buongiorno! We rose pretty early this a.m. so that we could go downstairs to eat breakfast & then get our stuff ready to head to Naples. We asked the Concierge to call a taxi to take us, first, to the Trevi Fountain, which a lady from Australia had instructed us yesterday not to miss &, secondly, on to the rail station. The fountain was huge & beautiful. We got some good pics, although the sun wasn’t hitting it quite right that early in the a.m., & half of it was in the shade. I would have liked to swing past the Pantheon too, but it was difficult enough to get “someone” to make one extra stop, let alone two.

The Roma rail station was nice; however, contrary to what the Concierge had told us, it was not “easy.” We went round & round following a series of arrows, trying to find an information booth, but to no avail. (Are we just dummies, or does anyone else find that traveling without a guide can be one long series of hassles?? Don’t answer that, Willie.)

Finally, we lugged our bags up the escalator to find a little coffee shop & wait around before it was time to go get on the train platform. “Someone” wasn’t feeling well this a.m., but every time I would ask him how he felt, I got a curt “Sh-tty” for an answer, so I soon quit asking. Never mind that I myself had a splitting headache, achy shoulders, & a sore back. And sore feet and legs. I could also feel a bout of indigestion coming on…

Anyway, so the train shows up, we follow the crowd & push our way onto Car #8. Before we even get our bags up the steps, some kid, acting as if he worked for the train, grabs both my bags & leads us down the corridor to our seats. (The seats on this train, by the way, are located inside little cubicles, 6 seats to a cubicle in rows of 3, facing each other. I’m sure you’ve all seen this scenario in the movies; in fact, the past few days I’ve been feeling more and more like I’m in a Jason Bourne film, especially since the Romans all drive like race car drivers.) The kid, once he loads our bags up onto the overhead shelf for us, then proceeds to hold out his hand & ask for 10 Euros. 10 Euros! I dug in my purse for a few coins, but Bill was adamant that I also hand over my last 5. This was still not good enough for the kid, but people jostled him out of the way, & he had no choice but to get out.

The train was rather rickety, so the ride from Roma to Napoli was a little bumpy. The landscape was interesting, as the farther we got from the city the hillier the terrain became. We passed acres upon acres of grapes and olive orchards. We also saw several sheep farms and rock quarries. There were hundreds of long greenhouses, some seemingly empty, but most housing low-growing crops. At one point we saw a small village located at the top of a large hill with a winding road leading up to it.

The train went through a series of tunnels, which made it difficult to read my book in the dark. I was also distracted by a guy with a nasally voice who kept coming by in intervals, intoning a sequence of words as he pushed a cart loaded with food and drinks, only the last 2 words of which I recognized, “…….panini, aqua?” Every time he came by, an old man in the next cubicle had to jump up and move his 2 bags, which were sitting out in the corridor. Apparently, he hadn’t paid the kid 10 Euros to place them up in the overhead bin.

We finally arrived in Napoli & were immediately accosted by several shifty-looking men trying to get us to pay them for a ride to the hotel. For the most part, we ignored them, & hurried outside to find a white cab. (Bill informed me that, since we obviously look like clueless American tourists, we’re going to start wearing burqas from now on. Ha ha!)

As the cab driver drove us through the city, we couldn’t help but notice all the heaps of GARBAGE EVERYWHERE! (Also, lots of graffiti, like there was in Rome.) I thought at first we must be in the ghetto area of town (which the train station probably was), but everywhere we went, except for the street immediately in front of our hotel, there was garbage piled high. We couldn’t figure out if this is just daily garbage, weekly garbage, or worse. We’re hoping that, by the time we get up in the a.m., it will have been picked up. We’ll see.

Our hotel is gorgeous, probably the nicest one we’ve had on the trip so far. There’s the Castel dell ‘Ovo just in front of us, which we toured right after we ate dinner. The pizza, by the way, was fantistico!

We took several photos of the Castel, with the view of Mt. Vesuvius in the background. Tomorrow we go to see Pompeii & Herculaneum. Buona sera!

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