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Naples - Italy - 2024

Pompeii & Napoli (Naples), Campagna, is today laundry day and we didn’t get the memo?

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We take a 2 hour (45 euros) taxi to Colombo, wait for 3 hours and catch an Air Arabia flight to Abu Dhabi. We have a marathon wait at the airport of 10 hours then board our WizzAir flight to Fiumicino Airport in Rome, arrive at 10pm and then wait for a 4am FlixBus to take us Naples. Arriving in Naples, we leave our backpacks at a self-service left luggage (booked online in advance) and take a local train to see the historical site of Pompeii. After a 30 minute ride, we arrive and get our 20 euro per person tickets. Pompeii is a vast archaeological site. Once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city it was buried under metres of ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. We wander around the site but we feel it lacks a bit of interpretation (maybe to encourage visitors to pay for a guide?). Also, a lot of the most relevant artefacts seemed to now belong to the Archaeological Museum, so, be aware that you will be paying only to visit the actual site which is still a big deal, don’t get me wrong. We then take the train back to Naples, get our backpacks and almost 36 hours later, check in at a simple but nice and very well located Hotel Alloggio del Conte (40 euros, great value for money!!).

With Pompeii done, we can now focus on Naples and its iconic street food for the next few days. Deliriously tired, we find the strength to drag ourselves out for a pizza at Passiona Mij Pizzaria just around the corner, hands-down one of the best pizzas we’ve ever had, and we’ve been around the pizza block a few times… We also try the frittatine (deep fried pasta with bechamel sauce) and have a delicious half bottle of white. We grab another bottle from the supermarket and head home after almost 48 hours non-stop and a 5 and a half hour jet-lag to catch up with.

We wake up the next morning and go for a “cornetto & capuccino”, a popular Italian breakfast for 3 euros, then we find another place, Tarantino Bar, that sells the same combo for 1.50 each, and the guy is so friendly we become instant regulars and regularly raise our morning sugar levels through the roof. Lovely to be greeted with a smile and a Ciao Bella in the morning, don’t even mind I haven’t had my first coffee yet. We walk around the Old Town sightseeing for hours and feel like saying “Napoli, where have you been all my life?” We fall in love with this incredible city almost on the spot. Street food, urban art (the Old Town is an open-air art gallery), fabulous architecture, great atmosphere, more locals than tourists, a meatball filled baguette for lunch, whats not to love? The entire city smells of fresh laundry, its incredible to see all the washing hanging on the lines outside the windows, it’s so colourful and it smells great. It’s like it’s proudly sponsored by the Napoli Tourism Board. We feel like this is the real deal, the real Italy everyone is always looking for. We walk along the Lungomare, this incredibly beautiful promenade along the ocean with Mt Vesuvius in the background across the bay until we reach Cibi Cotti Nonna Anna Restaurant. A very traditional simple restaurant inside a local market serving typical Napolitan fare, al dente pasta with delicious sauce and a great bottle of red for 16 euros for both of us. Too full to walk back, we catch the Metro to go for a siesta then in the evening we go back to Passiona Mij for more delicious pizza, one pizza each for about 4-5 euros, of course, always. Paul is pretty fluent in Italian (he lived in Italy about 30 years ago …) and I’ve been learning Italian for the last 10 months. We are both keen on practising some Italian only to realise that they speak Napolitano, their own language (not a dialect), so they understand Italian but reply in Napolitano and we have very little idea what is being said, but we definitely have some fun trying.

After another “cornetto & capuccino” breakfast, we head to the majestic Galleria Humberto and walk around the amazing Quartiere Espagnole and the incredibly vibrant Centro Historico, finishing with a delicious cuoppo along the way (deep fried awesome bites served in a paper cone), another example of iconic Napoli street food. Then we head to the Cantina del Gallo restaurant, a very traditional place where we have polpette pasta and a grilled sausage meal with a litre of the most delicious local chilled red wine, totally worth the walk off the beaten path. The walk back through Rione Sanitá suburb is almost magic and we feel we are on cloud 9. It’s incredibly vibrant and coulourful with a wonderful atmosphere. It’s our last night and we go for a pizza portafoglio (a folded pizza) and a beer at Il Tutino (open since 1935), 2 euros for a pizza and 1.50 for a beer? We are in heaven!!! Our time in this wonderful, legendary, pleasant, real city is coming to an end and of course 4 days was not nearly enough, so we both definitely feel like its an arrivederci instead of a ciao, bella Napoli. We wake up at 3 in the morning, walk to the bus station, catch a bus back to Rome Fiumicino Airport, bus transfer to Rome Ciampino Airport then a Ryanair flight to Lisbon followed by a quick metro ride and then a FlixBus trip to Coimbra where our neighbour who is a taxi driver, comes to pick us up. Then suddenly we're home again, it's great to be back!!! Well it's been a hell of a ride and we ended the trip how we started - in Italy - it just seemed a fitting way to round it all off. So.... after 5 months, 11 countries and countless amazing adventures, we’re back home.

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Posted by Pauluiza 08:51 Archived in Italy

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