Pizza, Mamma Mia & Volcanoe's Baby

Trip Start Oct 29, 2010
Trip End Nov 17, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Campania,
Friday, November 12, 2010

We arrived safe and sound into Napoli and our hotel was maybe 150 meters from the train station – awesome! We were expecting to be in or near a castle as their website showed one. A bit disappointed in that, but what can ya do.

Thought we'd look for a post office and get rid of the bag we packed up to send home. After asking around we found one about 500 meters away so decided to walk over to check out the hours and what the cost would be. We left the bag at the hotel cause it wasn’t far away. We discovered you can only mail stuff from the post office if it’s under 10kg’s so we were shit out of luck! Asked the lady at the front desk if should could phone DHL to see what the rates were. She phoned the Italian version and gave us the cost – waaaay too much! We’re gonna unpack the damn thing and haul it around instead.

That was our first adventure in Napoli. Got the run down on various areas to go and check out, so we decided to hoof it around and walked down the street a bit for a bite to eat. Had some soup and salad. We noticed there was a main lady in the restaurant and Everybody reported to her and she handled the cash. Thought that was pretty damn cool. She was like the Mafioso mamma. A lot of Italians were eating there so we knew it would be a good spot. It was...num, num!

Following lunch we decided to grab our jackets back at the hotel and go for another long haul on foot. We probably put another 12-14 km’s by foot again. Ended up down by the Napoli main sea port and there were a bunch of cruise ships in the harbour. There was also an amazing old castle that was huge. Decided to stop in to the royal palace and took a tour of the place. Holy crap this was a nice place. Lots of amazing art work, huge doors and marble marble marble everwhere. Amazing the work that went into this place. Afterwards we hoofed it onto a pedestrian only street filled with high end shopping. I window shopped, needless to say. Didn’t dare go into a store, especially after going into one for kids and the price of a pair of jeans was 95 Euro’s! Thank gawd we’re in the off season...

Our feet (mine and Gwen’s anyway) we’re getting super sore from all this walking, so we stopped at a restaurant (they don’t even open for cooking until 7:00pm) sat outside and decided to have a beer. Well one beer turned into two and the waiter fired up an outdoor patio heater/lantern. It put off some great heat. Now we contemplated hoofing it back, but considering we walked for about 4 hours, we thought nah, let’s grab a cab. It took the cab about 15 minutes to get back going well beyond the posted speed limit so we were grateful we opted for a ride back.

Now it was time for dinner and Napoli is infamous for its pizza, so we thought we’d see what was close to our hotel. Well if there wasn’t a pizzeria right beside our hotel. Decided to pop in and there was a birthday party just finishing up, so our timing was perfecto! We decided on a bottle of wine and noticed another mamma mia boss lady, who looked a lot more friendlier than that last lady (or less serious anyway). While we sipped our vino we had many funny little storied to go over and were entertained by others in the restaurant. If the wood burning oven pizza maker guy didn’t come over to say hello and wanted a photo with us by the oven to put up on the glass separating his cooking space from the restaurant. We also took the opportunity to get a photo with the mamma boss lady! She gave us free stuff too. Had many a laugh and an Italian man who came in wanted a photo with Sherry. He was  a bit enthralled, so she posed with him – he was a very happy guy.

Thought it was best to go for a night cap at the hotel so we could check our e-mail (free if ya spend 3 Euro), so had a night cap there. Came back to the room and couldn’t sleep cause the beds were Not comfortable. First not so great experience we’ve had to-date. Sleeping pill tomorrow night!

We were excited when we got up , except for the fact our free breaky was down at the bottom of the building and it’s 47 stairs from main floor to our room, so take on more stairs. Breaky was great as he made fresh coffee per cup.

Our ride came at 10:30 to bring us to Pompeii for our first tour. Holy crap, this is some place I tell ya. Our tour guide was just excellent, full of historical knowledge. Was discovered in late 1700’s and excavated ever since then. It held 20,000 people in it’s day 500 BC, and when Mt Versuvias blew her top in 79 AD, everyone died due to the toxic air. The community was buried 24 feet under ash from the eruption. Folks were discovered in the position they died, some holding their noses, others embracing one another, others cooking, etc.  It was a 3 tiered status society. Upper, middle and lower classes. The lower classes being towards the bottom where the sewage went out into the sea. They had stored identified, plumbing with lead pipes and terra cotta pipes, 42 main water fountains, spa’s, the whole nine yards. A justice system, gov’t system, public barter area – everything a community requires to function in the Roman era. Even managed to find a little piece of Pompeii and grabbed it up.

After the amazing tour, we went for a bite to eat and they offered us either pizza or pasta – we all elected for pizza and coke light! They give you a full pizza, flat bread and we managed to eat the whole damn thing. They don’t load her up and use a very thin crust, so it cooks very quickly in the wood burning ovens.

Next stop was Mt Versuvias. We drove about 1000 meters up the mountain, then walked the remaining 300 meters. The incline got steeper and steeper, the air was thin and the view was marvellous. There was a bit of cloud cover so we couldn’t see as much of the community (Sorrento) as we wanted to, but we saw enough. When we got to the top (after multiple rests along the way) it was pretty amazing. The cloud was inside the HUGE crater, so we couldn’t see the bottom, but the postcards they had for sale showed just how deep it was. If it spewed off 8 meters of lava rock to cover ALL of Pompeii you can only imagine the amount of the mountain that came from the crater. In 500 BC to 79 AD, the view from Pompeii had a full mountain top, but the view after 79 AD was not the same. The last eruption from this Mountain was in 1949 and it’s currently dormant, but still an active volcano. We were grateful there was no rumbling while we were hoofing it to the top and back.

Managed to doze off in the van, then when we got back to the hotel – Sherry & I. That’s what happens when you’ve had next to no sleep the night before. Gwen & Sherry are currently unpacking the bag we packaged up to ship home while I update the blog.  Next stop, we’ll do a little more walking (we’ve now figured we’re walking about 15 km’s each day on average) and find a place for some pasta and salad. The portions here are perfect, not overloaded like you see back in North America. That’s one of the reasons there are so few obese people in our travels! That and people walk a fair amount here. Plus they eat very little prepared food, it’s all fresh, fresh, fresh.
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