Naples Ferry Port

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    • Day 37

      D37 Italy - Roma to Napoli

      August 10, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      Today went very quickly. Another travel day, we chucked our stuff into our packs and headed out for a final stroll of Rome. We passed the grandiose Colosseum as the sun increased in intensity. I grabbed my first cappuccino for the trip, as it was still well before noon; it was a good one. Then we visited a very small Vespa museum housed by the local company that monopolises the bike/Vespa/Fiat rental market. It housed about 20 vespas from different years including one that featured in Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

      The train to Napoli passed many century old olive groves, with their stumpy appearances, thick trunks and still producing mountains of fruit. There also looked to be mulberries being grown, plus fields of cherry tomatoes tucking their roots into long raised beds similar to how you might see strawberries grown in Victoria. Sunflower fields occasionally painted the view yellow, with ancient stone villages set atop hillsides peppering the countryside as we rolled through.

      After a much needed siesta (the heat and humidity is really draining us) we strolled into the old town of Napoli with the view of eating one of Italy’s famous pizzas. We passed through more cobblestone streets that felt like one giant valley of graffiti. Napoli really is rustic. It’s got a terrible perception of being incredibly dangerous, which I have no doubt it probably was at some point in its history. However, I simply see it as poorer than its famous northern sister cities, lacking government investment in its public spaces (it’s just filthy), and its historical influence also no doubt has an impact on its raw feeling. Personally I enjoyed being able to walk past and stare into little nonnas houses, wandering past children and dogs hanging out in the streets, and the exhilaration of turning around and seeing a scooter or small car hurtle towards you at a frightening pace. While we’re not here for long, it is what it is and I liked it. Perhaps our return in a weeks time will reveal greater insight.

      We made it to Sorbillo’s Pizzeria at 635pm and a sizeable queue had already formed. While we waited, we had a spritz and beer accompanied by some savoury biscuits and on opening at 7pm, we were in and seated! Luckily not the 1.5 hour wait I had expected from probably the most popular pizzeria in the world. It’s one of only 100 places listed in Napoli as providers of ‘authentic’ pizza, certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), the regulatory body that protects and ensures that the art of pizza-making and the ingredients used are in accordance with Neapolitan tradition. This art of pizza making is what yielded UNESCO status of being an ‘intangible cultural heritage’ for Italy. We most certainly have had a very positive Italian food experience thus far, and hope it continues as we head towards Ischia.

      As we left Sorbillos, we were treated with an Italian opera singer filling the alley ways as he sang from his balcony using a microphone. He had a little basket on a string to which he would pull people’s tips up in. Truly entrepreneurial if you ask me! And hilarious.
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    • Day 43

      D43 Italy - Praiano / Walk of the Gods

      August 16, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

      So quite a few months back I was at Nespresso Emporium buying more coffee pods, when I got chatting to the girl making my free coffee. The coffee was piping hot and I was the only one there, so had to engage in some small talk. It turned out that she was Italian, and after mentioning our pending trip to the Amalfi coast, suggested a hike for us to do - Il Sentiero degli Dei, or ‘The Walk of the Gods’. I drank my coffee, thanked her for the suggestion and thought little more of it.

      Now let’s fast forward to us arriving on the Amalfi coastline - I had booked us into pretty Praiano, knowing that it sat directly below the Walk of the Gods route, between its starting point in Bomerano (accessibly from near Amalfi) and and its end in Nocelle (a mere 1500 steps uphill from Positano). So naturally, we had to walk at least part of it...

      Rising early to beat the heat, we had decided to walk directly uphill, past a Basilica to a trail connection about a 1/3 of the way along from Bomerano. This shortened the walk slightly, but our entry point is when all the views west toward Positano and Capri become present. So we essentially got to see the best bits! We just had to first walk up stairs for an hour to reach the trail. After ten minutes of starting, and still in Praiano, we both needed to stop and have a breather. It seems the non stop travel is starting to wear us both down a bit - or perhaps it’s simply the extreme heat. Either way, once we got over our initial hurdle and became warmed up, the rest of the hike was a breeze.

      We tracked along the trail, high above the alluring azure waters of the Amalfi coast, curving in and out of rocky faces and diving cliff gullies. We passed stumpy tough and silvery oak trees, admired the spiked blue flowers of native Eryngium and savoured the smell of Rosmarinus and wild fennel as we brushed passed it with our dust covered walking shoes. It was a walk of beauty affording wonderful views of this historic coastline.

      A few hours later, we reached the town of Nocelle where a middle aged man in the little piazza in front of the local church approached Kate. While I was in the loo, I’m told he said a few words in Italian then jiggled a set of keys in front of her as he gestured towards the church. As I came out of the bathroom I caught up as he unlocked the little church and we entered, with him poking our arms as a signal of ‘come, follow me’. We walked in, and he flicked on the lights from the main power board. It was a gorgous little church, very well kept. He pointed out paintings of St Francis of Assisi, Ave Maria, Jesus and a statue of seeming significance, embedded in an alcove in the wall behind a perspex screen. This he explained slowly to us in a mixture of Italian and pigeon English, was a statue of Madonna which had its centenary in 2010. It clearly took pride of place there in the middle of the church. Further hand gesturing saw us move into the vestry (or similar) where he showed us a book - it was about 10cm thick and included snippets of the church’s history over the past decade. This appeared to be a personal project of his, recording key events over the years of his involvement (we believe he is the priest, but can’t be sure! All we know is, his name is Pasqual). He gave us a printed copy of a photo of the Madonna statue with blue all around it. This he explained was in fact a ‘naturale’ photograph - they had taken the 1910 statue outside in 2010 to photograph it amongst the sea and sky. The photo is amazing, as the sun and sky merge in a haze at an indecipherable horizon. It looks photoshopped, but it’s not. It’s naturale. On the back of one of these cards was a prayer and on the other was a hymn, to which he proceeded to sing out loud an entire verse! It was a magical moment, and hilarious all at the same time.

      We left feeling humbled, with our photos of the Madonna, and a few little pewter pins with the Madonna and Jesus on each side.

      1500 steps (who’s counted them, I’m not sure...) later, we arrived at the main road about 1km from Positano. As the bus whooshed straight past us, we decided to walk into town, ducking in between cars and walking quickly over the bridges as all modes of transport approached us at frightening speeds.

      Positano was ‘good from far, but far from good’... in my opinion. Busy, overpopulated by people with more money than sense and full of tourists including the large groups following umbrellas and other devices. It was here we walked the main street, then took some time to call home. Technology has come a long way compared to my first European trip over a decade ago, when the internet was hard to come by and I collected rolls of film full of photos. Now, we’re up to 5000+ photos on one memory card and can video call home at any time. I wonder where we’ll be in another ten years time?

      We headed back to Praiano for a quiet afternoon of sunbathing, writing this journal, scrapbooking and other life admin. We drank a beer and a few premixed Aperol spritzes on the balcony before dinner, which we enjoyed at the Pizzeria I found last night. And what a dinner it was. Old Italian men serving and cooking, no fuss or a white coat in sight. A delicious eye fillet steak for me, cooked over coals directly from the wood fire pizza oven - just perfect after last nights epic fail. Katey ate some really nice spaghetti alla vongole, and capped off the meal with a limoncello. We left with happy bellies and content minds. Tomorrow, we begin the first of three travel days to reach our next major destination - Turkey.
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    • Day 44

      D44 Italy - Napoli

      August 17, 2019 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

      Well we’re back here again, and at the same mini hotel too. It’s comfortable and conveniently located near the old town. The bus stop to the airport is nearby too, handy for our early departure tomorrow morning.

      We left Praiano after a buffet breakfast at the ritzy pants hotel. I did my best to eat my moneys worth, although regretted that decision after the coffee had worked its magic and we wound our way along the curved roads in the bus towards Sorrento. I’ve never enjoyed bus trips, let alone those on curved roads. A good train journey will beat a bus every time. It’s like... do you prefer dogs or cats? City or country? Movie or park? Riding a train backwards or a bus? What’s your preference?!

      We arrived in Sorrento then jumped on the Circumvesuviana train to Napoli. 32 stops later, a metro ride, and here we are again at B&B Monserrato. We wandered through the streets, ate what we believe will be our last gelato in Italy (I stand by the fact I could still have one for breakfast at the airport), and then caught up on our writing before getting ready for dinner.

      Dinner was tantalisingly... underwhelming... we had planned to go to a lovely cheap trattoria that came on recommendation and coupled with excellent reviews, however they had closed for a few weeks. We then tripped north to another one of the 100 premium authentic pizzerias in Napoli, only to find that it too was closed. We weren’t having much luck so ducked into a nearby trattoria with a decent google rating above 4. It was ok; we both got a tasty yet unidentifiable part of beef with a big bone attached and plenty of fat, with a side of peppers, greens and some of the best deep fried potato chips I may have ever eaten - they were definitely the stand out part of the meal. Accompanied by a 3€ litre of red wine, the meal may not have been the blow-your-socks-off Italian feast we’d hoped for on our last night, but it was good value, and perhaps that’s something to reflect on as we compare the many amazing (and not so amazing) meals that we’ve eaten during our time in Italy. One thing’s for sure, we’ll be eating more authentic Italian style food when we get home.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Naples Port, Naples Ferry Port

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