Naples [2016]

Last Visted in Oct 2016

I won't say another word about the beauties of the city and its situation, which have been described and praised often. As they say here, "Vedi Napoli e poi muori! "See Naples and die!"
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,

Out To Lunch

After getting back to our cruise ship, we 'freshening up'. Then we lodged a complaint about our Pompeii tour.

I wasn't going to leave Naples without a true Neopolitan pizza. Instead of lunching on the ship we went into Naples.

The cruise ship port is right 'downtown' Naples.

One of Naples most famous tourist attractions is the Castel Nuovo, built in 1282. It sits across the street from the port entrance. A short walk from where we were docked.

Castel Nuovo at the Entrance to the Port
Castel Nuovo at the Entrance to the Port

A row of young men with distinctively Arabian features sat quietly at the entrance to the port. They had their wares displayed on blankets in front of them. They were selling purses, belts and some costume jewellery. I couldn't help wonder what kind of hell they must have endured to make this precarious existence better than the life they left.

They have nothing we want, so we walk on by — feeling a little guilty.

ABC — Always Bring Cash

After a short walk we wound up at the Gran Caffe Monzu on via Agostino Depretis. The sideboard said 'Margherita 5€' - which sounded good. So we ordered two pizza and two beer. It was then that I notice that 'Visa' wasn't among the stickers that adorned the door way. A quick check of my wallet showed 20€ — but I wasn’t convinced I had enough money until the bill came — under 12€.

A Neapolitan pizza “When cooked, it should be soft, elastic, tender and fragrant.” (Wikipedia) Ours was soft, as in under-cooked, and tasteless. It was also missing the basil that makes it a true Margherita. But, the beer was good.

Naples has a reputation for being ‘gritty’. It was the dirtiest city we visited on the cruise. This was, in large part, from the dust that gets blown in from North Africa. (The parked cars were covered with a thick layer of dust.) But, that didn’t stop people from hanging out their washing.

Dust Covered Everything
Dust Covered Everything

The dust in the air painted the sky a golden hue.

Naples Skyline with a Golden Sky
Naples Skyline with a Golden Sky 

After a walk around the city, where we started back to the ship. (Of course, along the way we passed many cafés that looked far better than where we had lunched.) The sidewalks around the port were in various states of disrepair. We stopped to help a young woman who had badly sprained her ankle, stepping into a hole where one of the paving stones was missing.

Our berth at the port had naval ships on one side and GNV Ferries on the other. A recruitment poster caught my eye — it was in English. However, Naples is the home of the United States Sixth Fleet and the United States Naval Forces Europe — so it probably was there for American tourists.

Italian Navy Recruitment Poster
Italian Navy Recruitment Poster?

Leaving the port, we took one last look at Mount Vesuvius and the surrounding area. 

Mount Vesuvius - lit by a golden sunset
Mount Vesuvius - lit by a golden sunset

Of course, you can’t really judge a city by a few hours walk around the downtown core. However, in spite of its reputation, I would like to visit there again. From the glimpse we got in the short time we were there, it seemed a like vibrant city with much to offer the tourist. But, like most European cities it really doesn’t come alive until the evening and our ship sailed at 6:00pm — so we didn’t get to see the nightlife or visit a trattorias.

Next time!