Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Nasty little Naples

We farewelled our nice hotel, the feisty Italian family that runs it, and the terrific island of Capri this morning.  Slipping back down the funicular to Marina Grande, we boarded a ferry, and sailed back to the Italian mainland.  This time to Naples.

For some strange reason, before I started this journey, I was under the impression Naples was a nice place.  Why did I think that?  It's a shocking place.  It's awful.  Naples is a mad, busy, port city that is dirty, sleazy and horrible.  There's rubbish on the streets, dodgy looking characters hanging without purpose in doorways, traffic that is reputedly second only to Cairo for madness, and graffiti all over the place.  After arriving, we dragged our luggage through the stifling hot streets from the port to our hotel.  At the hotel, we found their WiFi didn't work, and they had no maps left of Naples!  Jean had a shower, but the tap comes off if you're not careful.  There's a fridge in the room but it doesn't work very well.  This is supposed to be a three-star hotel.  Not happy.

After settling in, we went to the rail station and obtained a map, and had some lunch.  It was a silly map.  Most of the streets were not named.  We then went on a walking tour to some nearby 'attractions', negotiating the streets as best we could.  Some of the streets looked really dodgy.  None of the quaint, inviting little lanes here like you see in Orvieto, Capri, Florence, or Sorrento.  Here, the narrow lanes appear neglected, sleazy, and dirty, offering nothing but claustrophobia, and the desire to move on.  I was considering taking a photo, but Jean didn't want me to, lest some mugger leap out from a hiding place and steal our i-pad.

Jean has some material on Naples which suggests that the Piazza San Domenico Maggiore is 'one of the most beautiful squares in Naples'.  Are you kidding?  The square itself looked very ordinary.  We sat down in the Pasticceria Scaturchio, an historical pastry and coffee shop in the middle of the square.  It was really hot, so I thought for once I'd order an iced coffee.  Well, yes it arrived cold, but I never imagined for a second that it would come as an espresso in a tiny glass.  I had to give it to Jean, while I drank her hot caffe latte.

Soon, we found the Complesso Monumentale di Santa Chiara.  There is graffiti all over the outside of this church, and weeds coming up through the slabs lining one side.  This neglect looked awful, and a disgrace, frankly, that neither the authorities nor the Church clean it up.  We walked away.  Naples needs a Rudy Guiliani type of leader, one with zero tolerance of a broken window or any graffiti.  Clean Naples up!  Jean considered the possibility of Vesuvius erupting again, burying Naples in thick layers of molten lava.  41st century archeologists would not be impressed, I'm sure, with their excavation efforts.

We returned to the hotel early.  We're supposed to be here for two nights, and then go on to Rome.  Do we go to Rome early?  Take a day trip to another island?  Or just rest tomorrow in the hotel?

Complesso Monumentale di Santa Chiara

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