Simon absolutely wanted to go through Naples during our visit in Italy and we decided to spend a few days there, just before we went to Sorrento. We arrived very late in Naples and since it was raining the next morning, we decided to spend the morning at home and take advantage of our Internet connection. We have been very unlucky with Internet in Italy. If we had access to an Internet connection, it was either very bad ( it would be intermittent and we could not upload photos on the blog) or else we only had access in one area in the apartment. We have experienced the second situation in Naples. Since we had not published anything on the blog regarding Greece, we decided to catch up and publish everything we could. Consequently, it’s sitting on a plastic chair across the front door that we took care of this. Knowing that we wouldn’t have Internet access in Sorrento, we took the opportunity to apply for our Indian visas as well as to book our first night in Delhi.
National Archaeological Museum of Naples
On our first day in Naples we visited the Museum of Archeology. It’s in this place that are kept a multitude of classic sculptures, mosaics and frescoes from Pompeii and Herculaneum, every piece was very impressive. Since it was the first Sunday of the month, we benefited from a free entry to the Museum, but the museum also had been invaded by a crowd of visitors. Arghh! It wasn’t all that bad, we enjoyed our visit to the Museum and it prepared us for the magnitude of what we saw in Pompeii.
Many tourists avoid visiting Naples, but not us, we even take our children there. Our observation: Naples is ‘rough ‘! The two apartments we rented were a few blocks from each other, in the very heart of Naples. The streets were dirty, it was noisy (the horn being widely used as a means of communication) and it smelled bad. It’s in Naples that we could see some very authentic samples of the Italian life:
- The clotheslines between apartments
- Baskets hanging from a rope in order to deliver groceries on the sixth floor
- the Italian mamma who berates a passerby on the street
The woman from whom we rented the apartment even went out of her way to tell us that we should not wear anything of value, to remove watch and jewelry. She also added that it was not safe to stay out after dark. We thought that if she took the time to tell us, we should certainly listen?. So, it’s without any jewelry that we went exploring to see what Naples had to offer. We decided to explore a few pedestrian streets, which were lined with tables or merchants trying to sell their goods. It felt like visiting an outdoor “flea market”. There is something for every tastes, Hugo found an artist who made super cute houses from bark, mosses and other materials of the forest. We walked on the water’s edge and we walked back to our apartment neighbourhood in order to eat a pizza.
Everyone knows that pizza comes from Naples and we had no choice but to eat one before leaving this city. Since the restaurants were closed the day before (Sunday), we had no choice but to go there that day since we were leaving the next morning for Sorrento. We went at Da Michele a restaurant that offers two choices of pizza; marinara or margherita. The first consists a thin crust pizza with tomato sauce, garlic and oregano while the second is topped with tomato sauce, fresh basil and Buffalo mozzarella. It is accompanied by an Italian beer that we ate the “best” pizza in the world. We learned on the spot that it is where the heroine of Eat-Pray-Love ate her famous pizza.
From Naples, it is possible to take a city train to get to Sorrento. This means of transport is very popular and you really have to play elbow in order to enter. In Sorrento, we spent a few days in a charming bungalow located in a campground in the Bay of Naples. With a kitchenette, two bedrooms and a bathroom, it was supposed to allow us to relax in a beautiful environment while exploring Capri, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast. It’s unfortunately not exactly how it happened. We had rain and thunderstorms during our stay in Sorrento and we had to make some changes to our travel plans. We visited Pompeii and the boys advanced in the school notebooks… When there was a bit of sun between the rain, the boys took the opportunity to go swimming in the pool. Although there is no beach in Sorrento, there was a beach of pebbles at the campsite. The water was still warm for this time of year, but there were too many broken bottles to enjoy.
The city of Sorrento is a very popular tourist destination. If you like tourist shopping, this is a good place as there is several shops selling Limoncello, ceramic or even clothing with the Italian flag. Since this is not our Cup of tea, we opted for a simple walk on the coast and enjoyed the magnificent view of the Bay of Naples.
The Naples-Sorrento train passes through Pompeii, so it is very easy to access. As soon as we got off the train, there was a woman who was blocking the exit and that was directing us to a ticket office. We realized that it wasn’t the ticket office but was rather a ticket to sell guided tours. What a rip off! We got out of there quickly and we headed towards the true ticket office. We think that it is probably impossible to spend a full day in Pompeii and see all of what this lost city has on display. Buried under the ashes of the Vesuvius volcano, 2000 of the 20,000 residents died in this ecological disaster. Today, it is possible to walk in the ruins of this ancient Roman city and imagine what life could have been like 2000 years ago. We have seen several ruins now, but the ruins of Pompeii are definitely Karine’s favorite so far.
We are glad to have included Naples and Sorrento in our itinerary. It was instructive to see another side of Italy by visiting Naples and it was super pleasant to relax in Sorrento and enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery.