Adventures in Naples

Naples Italy was part of our 2015 Croatia, Italy, Sicily and Malta Vacation.

From Split Croatia, we flew to Rome Italy and then grabbed the one hour fast train.  It was quick and when we got to Naples Central Station. We grabbed a taxi.  It was a real mess around the station. It was crowded and it looked like some Taxis were on strike or fighting – we couldn’t tell.  Luckily we got one to the hotel.

We stayed at a Best Western, Hotel Paradiso.  It had great views of the Gulf of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius.  However we found the hotel lacking.  We went to the roof top restaurant for a drink and snack.  We sat looking over the balcony at Mt Vesuvius.  We ordered a meat and cheese plate and a beer.  He brought the food but no forks or spoons.  Since he didn’t come back, I walked over to another table near the bar and got some napkins and silverware.  A guy yelled out “Hey, what are doing”. I said getting silverware.  “What for” he yelled louder.  I got immediately angry. I yelled back “because I don’t have any for the damn food I ordered” and I walked away.  I guess he thought I was trying to steal something since I was in shorts and flip flops.  However I was a guest at the hotel.  We left and decided not to go back up there.


Mount Vesuvius view from our room

The main reason we went to Naples was to go to Pompeii.  We also read that Herculaneum was another place we should see while we were near there.  Herculaneum was actually closer so decided to stop there first.  We took the train which was an an 45 minute ride. Overall the place was fairly small but was down below the walkway so it was easy to get some great pictures.

Herculaneum Visit Pictures

Next we went on to Pompeii by train.  It was about another 40 minutes in a hot train with only the windows open for air.  Luckily we took the train that was closer to the entrance.  If you take a different train, you would have to walk from the other side of the entrance.

When you see Pompeii on TV, it always seemed rather small. Probably because they zoom in on certain aspects.  Well after we walked in I was surprised at how vast it was.  We grabbed a map and started walking.  The sun was out and it was hot.  We made it to a large courtyard and could see Mt Vesuvius in the distance.  We toured along the many side streets.  One of the most spectacular sites was the roman bath/spa building.  It still had a lot of the art and colors on the walls.  Everyone said Herculaneum was better but in fact I think Pompeii was better.  So much more to see and was in better shape.  We walked all the way to the far end.  Glad we had water.  It was a great place to visit and we were not let down on the vacation.

Pompeii Pictures

It was a very large place and we spent a few hours there.  It was really hot and it looked like a lot of people were waiting for the hot train back to Naples.  We saw a bunch of taxis and private hire cars outside the train station.  We thought we might try to take one of those instead of the long hour and half train ride.  We started to negotiate a ride.  I think the guy started at $120 and I eventually got him down to $85 since I mentioned it was the end of day.  The driver turned on the meter and by the time we got to the hotel, the meter said $98 so I definitely got a deal for the ride.  We also got to the hotel about an hour or so earlier, in an air conditioned vehicle.  Worth every dollar.

One thing we promised ourselves we would do was to eat some local seafood, especially the sardines.  We watched a travel show before we went and they said the sardines tasted different and much better fresh in Naples.  We thought we would give it a try.  We took the funicular down the mountain from our hotel to the main street below at the harbor area.  We found a small local place to eat.  First thing we did was get a basket of fried sardines.  It was crunchy and salty.  A little sauce helped.  But we couldn’t eat them all.  I probably won’t do that again. I also ordered some fresh fish and Marcy got the fresh shrimp.  In Italy, they cook the whole fish and plop it on a plate. Same with the shrimp.  Obviously fresh.  It was okay but I like when it is de-boned first since I hate the idea of choking on a bone.

Fresh food in Naples

We had to check out of our hotel in the afternoon and head to the train station where we took the night train to Palermo Sicily.  This saved us a night in a hotel. I booked a first class double.  This means it would be a private sleeper with only us in the room, with a sink and electricity.  The beds are small and are stacked 3 high.  We hung out at the Naples central train station.  It was interesting watching all of the guys fighting for fares.  These are the guys who hound you when you arrive to give you a ride because they are not legal taxis. They just say, “Taxi sir”.  And then they take you to their car even though the official taxi line is outside the main entrance. Don’t take those cars. They end up charging you more than a real taxi.  We had to wait until 11PM for our train.  The last train of the night.