Tag: naples

Naples and the garbage

Posted by – 31/05/2008

In our way to Athens (and to the second part of our trip), we drove to Naples to take a plane. Long before this trip, we heard about the problem with garbage in Naples and, despite that, we decided to spend one night in Naples rather than driving there in the morning and risking miss the flight… besides we thought “this garbage problem cannot be so bad”. We couldn’t be more wrong!

The problem has become far worse than we’ve imagined. While we were there, CNN reported the worsening of the crisis and we’ve watched people burning piles of garbage that were accumulated on the streets just at the corner of the hotel we spent the night. It was so depressing!

I hope this crisis gets to an end soon. Although everybody we asked seem to agree that Naples is not a city worth spending some time in, I am still convinced that there are some good places to see there. It seems this problem with the garbage is lasting long enough to influence everything else: people serving you in restaurants, in train stations, in hotels, (and everywhere else) are stressed out to the point they scare people away.

It also seems that people reacts by worsening everything else… for instance, the McDonald’s we found at the train station is left in a state that we gave up eating there (chairs are torn, tables are not cleaned and the restrooms are in a sorry state).

By dinner time we were so depressed that we decided to stay in the hotel and have dinner there, barely waiting for the morning to come so we could carry on with our trip…. and we spent just one night there! now imagine people having to live there day after day…

Naples gulf and the Vesuvio

Posted by – 31/05/2008

While we were in Sorrento we decided to go north, around Naples gulf, up to Vesuvio and Pompei. We made the trip in two different days, so we could better appreciate what was there to see.

Pompei remains are certainly something worth seeing. The city was large and apparently well organized and the remains were somewhat more preserved than similar sites by means of the volcanic material that wrapped it. The most impressing, though, were the human bodies preserved in ashes we found there:

We observed the Vesuvio from Pompei and thought “how come they were unprepared?”. Most of the people seems to have been caught sleeping or hiding, but not running away. Then we found out that they were not killed by lava (though some covered the city afterwards), but by the pyroclastic cloud that came before the lava. Apparently the volcano had been blowing for one or two days before Pompei were affected, but then if blew a hot cloud of ashes and dust traveling at 80 km/h, leaving no chance for Pompei inhabitants to escape.

The ashes ended up preserving beautiful things, like this mosaic of a battle:

As usual, I went after some building of interest and look what I’ve found! They had a doctor’s office (actually a temple devoted to Aesculapium – god of Medicine – but the description in the booklet imply that people went there to get medical treatment).

The next day we went climbing Vesuvio. This is the second volcano I climb (the first were mount Fuji, in Tokyo), and I always am amazed to walk in the edge of them. Vesuvio has a path protected by wood limits that goes all around the cone. It’s hot near the cone, and there’s a noise always coming from the crater. People refer to it as “volcano humming”. It reminds everybody that Vesuvio is just asleep… not dead.

From up there we can see Pompei. What a pity it was a cloudy day so the pictures were not as good as it gets, but here is the best one I got when pointing my camera to Pompei:

See you next post… Ciao.


Posted by – 15/05/2008

Capri is one of the most famous islands in Europe. It’s said that many important and well-known people used to spend time in Capri. I’ve been told that most of the other rather unimportant people (like ourselves ;-)) just goes there in the morning and return in the evening, either from Sorrento or from Naples. I, instead, wanted to spend one night in Capri, and now I understand why people just go there for a quick visit… We got there taking a train from Rome to Naples (station Mergellina… that’s very important, for the port is just about 400 meters from the train station) and then a high-speed boat (slower boats can be taken from another port in Naples) to Capri.

First, let me put this straight: Capri is beautiful. It just is. The blue grotto, the most famous wanna-see touristic point in the island, really worth it. But if you’re planning to spend time on the island, make that longer than one night. That’s because everything takes more time than expected. And, take a good look at Google Maps before going… try to stay close to the harbor… everything else is too far!

Our hotel was a beautiful one, in Anacapri (Capri has two towns: Capri and Anacapri), but it was placed in the bottom of a long stair. That’s something that worth mentioning: they call every “path” via something, that includes roads, streets, stairs and paths. So beware or you’ll end up like us: dragging your luggage up and down stairs. Trust Google Maps!

The picture is from the Blue Grotto. It’s such a beautiful place! The water glows blue for the sun reflects the rock underneath the edges of the grotto. You can get there by bus (there’s one that departs from Bar Gruta Azzura) and after more stairs, you pay for the boat and the “trip” lasts for about 2 minutes, inside the grotto, with your boatman singing some italian song (Oh Sole Mio is the most frequent). Pay the man for the singing if you like it.

Everything in the island is reached by bus or on foot. We tried to reach a spot where it’s suppose to see the most beautiful sunset, but we’re tired before getting there, and the sun was covered anyway… After 30 minutes of walking up the hill, we gave up, and got back.

The restaurants are pretty expensive, but the people are really friendly. Everybody, except the people from our hotel, who told us to leave early in the morning for some group were coming… Too bad. If it were not for the blue grotto…

Capri has many other interesting thing to do, but, as I said, everything takes time… so if you plan to go there, either reserve more time (and maybe you’ll get the full attention from your hotel staff) or go for the quick trip with a predefined and managed tour.