Saturday, May 20, 2006
I wish I could have found something charming about Naples, but the best thing about Naples was that I got to leave it. It was horrible, nasty, disgusting, foul, scary, hot, stinky...am I leaving anything out? I now know why Italians are so religious, they have a little bit of hell in their country. I walked out of the train station and was attacked by gypsies. We have gypsies in France, but they don't usually touch people. The gypsies in Naples held my hand and kept touching my things. Annoying!
Everything about Naples was horrifying except the food and the people. The food was overwhelming good and cheap. The pizzas were incredible and I had some of the most fantastic pasta dishes there.
Maybe I am not giving Naples a fair chance. Perhaps there are charming places in the city I didn't see, but all of my experiences were terrifying. First of all, I stayed in a hostel that was on the top floor of a 6 floor building. Needless to say, there was no elevator. Fine, I didn't expect any, but they had the most narrow, tiny stairs I have ever seen.
Second, I almost got fined 50 euros in the metro for not validating my ticket. The validating machine wasn't working and I was told by a metro official to just go ahead. When I got off at my stop, another metro official was waiting and tried to fine me 50 euros! I started crying, not just because of the fine but because of all the stress. They were real tears; I couldn't stop them, but it got me out of the ticket. Jerks!
The third thing and possibly the worst thing, happened the day I left. I had to be at the train station by 6. I was told repeatedly that the metro started at 5. This was a big, fat lie. I had to walk to the station, in the dark, in Naples. In case you didn't know, the Mafia started in Naples. It is not exactly the safest place in the world. On my way to the train station, two men stopped and tried to entice me into getting in their car. When I said no thanks, they pulled over and both got out. I was really nervous, but a bus came by and the guys got back into the car. Then, when I got closer to the station, I heard a lot of loud moaning. I just assumed it was one of the several thousand homeless people dying, but no, it was a working lady making her money. I must say, I never really wanted to see something like that, but the couple caught in the act didn't seem to mind my presence. There was no way around them, so I just ducked my head and carried on.
By the time I got to the train station, I was so happy I could hardly contain myself. That feeling lasted about an hour when the train was filled with people and I had to stand in the middle compartment for 8 hours. Obviously, my advice for future travelers would be to skip this area. Fortunately, there are many lovely areas around Naples were people don't engage in prostitution in the streets.