the "real" Naples
Naples Travel Blog› entry 23 of 42 › view all entries
So I was quite sad to leave the great hostel I stayed at, but then I was going to stay with some family friends who are missionaries in Naples, and it was so fabulous to stay in a real house for a couple of days!
Lyndsay, Myk, Becky & Pip have stayed with us in Australia a few times, and when I told Mum I was in Naples, she reminded me that they were here. A couple of phone calls later & I found myself in a nice Italian apartment, being offered cups of tea. It was just so good to relax and not worry about sightseeing and have more in-depth conversations than just "so where are you from? How long have you been travelling? Where are you going next?..."
Everyone always says that Naples is a terrible, scary place, and it certainly was a lot grittier than other places I've been, but I hadn't experienced anything particularly bad. So it was interesting to chat with the McKenzies and hear some of their first-hand stories about the corruption and the problems within the city. It was also interesting to see the outer suburbs, which are even more grittier than the inner city - eg: heaps of trash just dumped along the roads.
I arrived Saturday and was presented with a lovely Italian lunch, then I lazed around & even took a bit of an afternoon nap! On Sunday I went to their church & it was quite interesting to have all this singing & sermons etc in Italian (although Steve, who works with them, did quietly translate the sermon for me).
Afterwards we all headed out to "the boys' house" for lunch. The core of the McKenzie's work in Naples is working with drug addicts, helping them get off drugs & get their lives back in order. So they have about 15-20 guys (I think) living out in this old villa - they have quite a set routine & they work & they all help to keep the house running etc. They all seemed very nice guys (though none really spoke English), and every Sunday they cook lunch for whoever turns up. There's actually a couple of Spanish guys in the house & this week they cooked a full-on paella for lunch - out in the back yard they'd built a little fire & propped the huge paella pan up on a circle of old roof tiles. It was a really really good lunch! And a very pleasant afternoon.
In the evening the McKenzie's neighbours/landlords came over - they seemed very lovely too, although they also didn't speak English - I sat in the corner catching up on emails & photos & whatever, and found it quite relaxing to let all the animated Italian conversation whirl around me. (Plus they brought a Ferrero Rocher cake with them, so really they're my new favourite people).
I really would have loved to stay a few more days and just chill out, but I'd already booked some accommodation for the rest of the week, and time is ticking away, so onwards and upwards…
THANK YOU McKenzies!!! You guys are awesome!