Already running late, in addition to being confused at the station, meant a frantic sprint to catch out train in time. However, like all things seemed to be in Italy, the service was running late-even later than us and the train sat at the platform for a further 20 minutes. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of appearance, and thought the train may contain little compartments like the trains in Harry Potter and Eurotrip (no "Ah mi scusi" like incidents for us!). But, perhaps, because this was not an overnight journey the train was set out like one of our city rail trains (the newer ones) but with less seating and tables between the seats. The train from Rome to Naples took a little under two hours.
As we waited for Lizzy to arrive we talked to the friendly people at information. They were super helpful and mapped out different things we could see (like visit some of the castles in the area).
We soon met with Lizzy and first on the agenda was checking Lizzy into the Hostel she would be staying at (she was to continue on her own solo journeys from there). This proved to be a much harder task than anticipated and we jumped on one tram but after awhile had a feeling we may be heading in the wrong direction so got off and caught a different tram going in the opposite direction. We did finally manage to find the place- Hostel of the Sun. I don’t know what the living conditions are like here but the staff are really friendly. The receptionist lady had a nice chat with us and had a lot of great advice for Lizzy about when and how to travel from Naples to other cities she was interested in. If I were to stay in Naples this would be the place I would pick (plus it seemed to have really good reviews).
|Lizzy and I posing with our 3 Euro umberellas|
Across the street from the hostel was a little café where we purchased Sfogliata, a sweet pastry that originated in Naples. Although we had been blessed with a mild winter and a shining sun for most of our trip, the weather that day was miserable so we huddled under our umberellas (Lizzy and I purchased two brightly coloured ones from some streets vendors for only 3 Euros!) and savoured our sweet treats. It was delicious- crispy pastry and an zesty orange cream filling.
Since we had lost our bearings a little we didn't end up following the route that the people at information had mapped out for us, instead we just freely explored heading in the general direction on the famous Sorbillo Gino Pizzeria. Naples has a lot of the stereotypical Italian alleyways with clotheslines spanning out between all the buildings. And, if not suburban, they were lined with stores whose merchandise would spill over to the streets. The majority of stores were selling touristy trinkets and nativity displays, which Naples is also famous for. We also noticed that everywhere had red chilli merchandise and had no idea what that meant- was Naples also famous for chilli? This question would be answered at the end of the day.
Now, for what we went to Naples for- the Pizza. We went to THE place and it was easy to spot by the crowd gathered outside waiting for a table. The place is called Soribillo Gino Pizzeria (Via dei Tribunali, 38 80138 Naples, Italy). We left our name with the door lady and waited to be called. It was quite annoying because of the rain we were all under the little shelter and were being harassed by people asking for money. They were very persistent and would just stand near us and keep asking, even when we had said no. In fact, it was a little scary because even when we moved down the street these two men kept following us and we ended up hiding out in a bakery and then sneaking back to the restaurant. Luckily, our name was called soon after and we were seated. The restaurant is nothing fancy and the patrons are all squished together. But you knew that meant the Pizza alone was enough to draw the crowds. And we were pleased to see the restaurant was filled mostly with local Italians, so not just a tourist trap. We were amazed at how cheap the pizzas were, I think averaging around 5 Euro. In Australia, a place as famous as this for a certain dish would for sure be out of our price range. But that’s the thing I find about travelling to other countries- its much more affordable to eat nice than it is back home. We each ordered a Pizza each, as was the go in Italy. And they are huge Pizzas, as you can see below. But, oh my, so delicious! Best pizza I have had, ever. Its really simple in its ingredients and doesn’t have a million toppings but it is so well made- the crust is not heavy and the sauce is more natural and full of flavour. I must admit, near the end of the Pizza I was so full that it was a total struggle to finish but I (cheered on by Liz and B) did manage- and felt like death afterwards! But totally worth it. I would go back to Naples again just for that Pizza. Ok, shall end the pizza love rant.
As we continued exploring we stumbled upon a lemon “factory”, factory was the word they used but more like a store with a kitchen in the back. What really caught our eye was the sign out front that said free tastings (who doesn’t love free!) . The store mostly sold Lemonchello, in really cute bottles which we stocked up on as gifts. They also sold various lemon sweets. While there we sampled the original lemonchello and a milky variety.
When searching for things to do in Naples I read about the Naples underground tour which you could do. I would highly recommend you do this if in Naples. Was really interesting and something different to the usual church and tower tours of other Italian cities. The tour led us around various parts of the Naples' underground and explained the history of it. The tour guide was full of interesting anecdotes, like the various uses the city thought of for underground in current time- such as creating underground canals! The only people I would not recommend this to is claustraphobics as it involved walking through a lot of tiny, tight and dark tunnels. Personally, I thought that all added to the fun of it. We asked our tour guide what was with all the chillis which caused him to laugh. They were actually not red chillis but horns, warn to ward off evil. He also told us that the ladybugs we may have also seen was thought to bring luck.
After the tour we headed back to the station and said a sad good-bye to Lizzy. We stopped by the station café and I tried my first Italian coffee. I don’t really like coffee and definitely chose the wrong drink, it ended up being a straight shot topped with whipped cream. It was actually amusing at the bar because a lot of the drinks were served with a water chaser. We also purchased some more Sfogliata for the journey home.
And that ended our day in Naples.