Ughh the bus

Naples Travel Blog

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Absynth, only recently approved for use in the US.
Today started with just one place to visit, Napoli Sotterranea.  This is an tour of the underground area of Napoli.  Without a long list of to-dos I slept in a bit and slowly walked to the tour entrance.  Once there I was quickly greated, and politely told that the tour didn't start for another 90 min.  It was 10:30 at this time.  I was on Via Tribunali which, based on the maps I've been using, should have been a large street.  I'm not sure how they decide which streets get on the map with bold names (or listings at all in some cases) but Via Tribunali was far from big. 

Just one car width in size and lacking a sidewalk, the trip there was a bit difficult and dangerous.  I actually passed the alley sized street several times before I found it.
  I 'froggered' my way, something I've become very comfortable with now, until I had found the tour.  Now that I had some time to kill I started to look around a little closer.  I was surprised to find the 'real' Italy here.  There were small shops selling pasta, cheese, vegetables, sausage, meat, coffee, fish, chicken.  All were small, most lacked a name, and all of them had clients.  Not tourists, but real italians.  I took the moment to buy an apple.  I did it in italian, but that didn't take much...I didn't understand how much it costs because the old man vender mumbled, so I just held out my hand and he took .5€.  I watched the italians come and go as I drank a cappuchino, which I had also ordered completly in italian, and observed them walk into their homes, which were just small non-descript doorways from this 'alley'  I keep calling it an alley, but it was actually a pretty busy road.
A side street, notice how narrow it is. was just really small.  I was amazed.

For me, discoveries like this are why I travel.  I don't travel just to see the sights and museums.  Museums actually bore me to tears because there's usually only one or two things worth seeing.  The exhibits are rarely marked very well and since I lack so much culture the art all starts to look the same.  I travel to try and experience a bit of what being in this place is like.  I feel like I have an idea now. 

As I passed the time I found schools and churches all busy, none on the map, and all off the beaten path. 

The tour time came.  It was great.  One of the best tours I've had in a while.  We climbed through narrow passages, saw wells...from the bottom up, and talked about the numerous uses this underground city has had.
Street Vender in Naples.

After the tour I began to twiddle my thumbs.  I wandered from small street to small street looking, seeing, enjoying, but finally it was time to do something.  It was 2:30 and I was getting a bit hungry.  Looking to my left I saw a sausage shop.  Again, no real name, just something like, Salumeria.  I went in. 

I read on a comment for hostels that no one in Naples speaks english.  That's not far from true.  I have tried hard to learn a bit of conversational italian and I feel like I made a lot of progress, but as I stood there wanting to by some bite size sausages I had found in a store the other day I was at a complete loss of words.
Street Vender in Naples.
  Everyone was nice.  As I described things in English/Spanish combination of phrases with lots of hand gestures they begin pointing out the complete opposite, or looked at be blankly.  Finally one nice woman  spoke just a touch of english.  From what she understood...I wanted a sandwich (panini).  I left with sausage panini and a bottle of water.  It was the best panini I had ever had.  The woman told me I had picked the perfect sausage too, salumi nepolitano, a local specialty.

While the sandwich is great I feel obligated to tell you what it was.  Sausage, in this case salumi nepolitano, on bread.  That's it.  I loved it, and it was better then the ham sandwich (ham on bread) I had at the train station not to long ago.
Side street, notice how narrow it is.
  It's not uncommon for them to put cheese on the sandwich, but I'm finding it's more of a special request. 

While I ate I headed back to the Piazza Garibaldi.  The main square next to the train station.  This is where most busses come and go from and to get to my next destination I had to catch a bus from there.  I was headed to the Museum Capodiamonte, a huge museum with lots or art.  Despite this location being a major stop, it was not easy to get to.  There wern't any metro stations and only a couple of busses seem to go near it. 

My guide gave me a couple of buses to choose from.  As I wandered around the large bus staging area I could only find one of them.  It said that it went to this location (remember, my experiences with buses have not been good, so I'm trying to be very careful).
Side street, notice how narrow it is.
  I got on...I rode...we got on the highway.  My map didn't say anything about a highway, but really this map is almost worse then the one I had in Venice.  At least this one had real streets...just not many...and most not labeled.  I figured that at the worst I would ride the bus in a circle and end up where I began, but as we went I was watching.  Sure enough, we were headed in the right direction.  I saw signs ponting to the museum, I saw bus stops I expected...sure enough things were working out.  And then...nothing.  All of a sudden we didn't make it to the stop I expected.  We hit all the other ones, just not this one. 

I rode the bus back to the station.
Side street, notice how narrow it is.
  Now it was 3:30 and I was getting a bit worried that even if I got to the museum I would have to turn around, but I stuck it out anyway.  I got back on the bus, this time I would get off at this one place I had in mind, the place where it seemed like we turned the wrong direction.

This second round wasn't so pleasent.  The first round had only a few people on it.  This round was busier.  I didn't thing much of it since I had a seat...and since I knew where we were headed I knew I had a while before I would give it up.  We made the first stop, and two of the smelliest people in the world got on....and sat next to me.  They stayed all the way until just a couple of stops before mine.

When the air cleared I realized that it was time and I jumped off the bus.  The museum was actually a bit hidden, and I discovered by looking at the other bus stops, that my guide and some of the other bus stop signs were wrong...thus my confusion.  At this point I wondered about getting a cab back, and then realized it might take me an hour to hail a cab being this far from the city center. 

The museum was nice.  That's my way of saying that I liked it, but I saw the whole thing in about 2 hours, when my guide said "You can never see it all in a day."

The bus ride back was better.  It came quickly, I found my stop easily, and I was headed back to my hostel.  I stopped at the grocery store (which is more like a 7-11 busting at the seams) and then a small place for a pizza which I carried back to the hostel and ate.

A couple of notes about the food.

First, it seems that all of the pasteries in Naples and Rome are made by the same company.  I just can't imagine that all of these small trattoria's have cooks which make things look exactly the same as each other. 

Second, the pizza here is okay.  I actually prefer some of the stuff we get at home.  As a food lover and travellor I understand that things will be different, but I have not been impressed by the pizza here.  Often it's a bit cold, and the toppings need help.  Canned mushrooms are a sin.

My trip to Napoli was good, well worth the effort, but I think there are better places to come.  Tomorrow, I'm off to Sorrento.
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Absynth, only recently approved fo…
Absynth, only recently approved f…
A side street, notice how narrow i…
A side street, notice how narrow …
Street Vender in Naples.
Street Vender in Naples.
Street Vender in Naples.
Street Vender in Naples.
Side street, notice how narrow it …
Side street, notice how narrow it…
Side street, notice how narrow it …
Side street, notice how narrow it…
Side street, notice how narrow it …
Side street, notice how narrow it…
Naples Sights & Attractions review
The Underground of Naples
This is a must see location in Naples. It can be a little tough to find but once there you will see italian culture at its peak right around the entr… read entire review
photo by: Joost1976