Naples, Italy: August 12th – 15th

Our final destination in the country of Italy was the small bay city of Naples. Despite being the third largest city in Italy, I didn’t know much about it other than the delicious food. I was excited to enjoy the last few days we had left together.

It took nearly three hours by train to go from Rome to Naples. The Metro line dropped us off in the area of our hostel, but we then faced the challenge of navigating the bumpy streets and sidewalks to get there. The route from the Metro station to our hostel lead us up a narrow alley, up a stairway of sorts of dark stone, past cracked-open doorways to happy homes, and under countless lines of clothing hanging to dry. It was not the ideal journey and it was certainly exhausting trying to lug our suitcases up such a trek, but looking back it’s very easy to laugh at how we much have looked. Three traveling stooges, for sure.

Finally reaching our hostel was like finding a lake in the center of a desert. It was easily the nicest and most accommodating hostel I’d ever seen, with free Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, flat screen TV and stereo system, a public washer and dryer, piano, outside patio equipped with a hammock… and that was everything outside of our nicely decorated rooms. I was so thankful that the boys had found this place at such a low price.

After updating our loved ones on our travels and current whereabouts, we made our way towards downtown to find a bite to eat. We stopped at a small restaurant, where I lusted over the pages of delicious entrees, all available for a few Euro. I decided on a dish that I wasn’t quite sure of, but thought I’d be adventurous. I was happily surprised when I was delivered a fried calzone, oozing with delicious goodness inside. Y U M!

Our first meal in Naples: deep-fried calzone with mozzarella, ricotta, tomato sauce and bacon bits. Yum!

On our way back to our hostel, we stopped along a bridge to view the rest of the city. It really was very beautiful; so colorful, like a mosaic beneath us.

Beautiful view of the bay in Naples.

The following afternoon, we took a train out to the city of Pompeii to explore the ruins of the ancient city. It’s really incredible to think of how old the remaining structures are… built in the 7th century BC! A massive eruption by the nearby Mount Vesuvius led to the ultimate destruction of the incredibly advanced city of Pompeii. The people of Pompeii, initially believed to have suffered from ash suffocation, were exposed to temperatures exceeding that of 480 degrees fahrenheit. The ash from the eruption rained down on the surrounding cities, including Pompeii, for six hours, covering the buildings and human remains in twelve different layers of tephra, 25 meters deep. These layers preserved much of what was left after the destruction, including dozens of citizens and prisoners bodies.

Today, you can tour the 163 acre remnants of the city. We spent hours there traveling through the narrow streets.

Me, being a tourist at the ruins of Pompeii.
Intricate floor and wall tilings and faded painted walls in an old building of Pompeii.
The city ruins of Pompeii.

It was yet another scorching hot day in Italy and we were fully exhausted by the time we returned to Naples. We grabbed some dinner on our way back to the hostel and we called it a night.

Pasta puttanesca after a long day of exploring.

Our last day in Naples was spent wandering around the city.

Extravagant interior of a shopping center in downtown Naples.

We decided to spend some time touring the Royal Palace of Naples. It was very extravagant and beautiful, with a view of the ocean from some windows.

Inside the Royal Palace of Naples.

Observing the city, I was surprised with the uncleanliness of it. My experience with Italy up to this point hadn’t been spotless by any means, but Naples took it to an entirely new level with overflowing garbage bins that hadn’t been emptied in months. Graffiti covered nearly every building, even the churches and museums. Horrible smells wafted through alleys and litter covered the sidewalks. I’m no neat-freak, but the state of the city was really difficult to ignore. I later discovered that the Camorra, a mafia-like criminal organization of the Campania region of Italy, has been controlling the garbage and waste of Naples since the 1990s. Just another reminder to be thankful of where I live, with an operating waste system..

Towering alleyways of Naples.

We grabbed lunch at a tiny restaurant tucked away in an alley, a bit of a ways from the palace. I dined on my first quatro staggio pizza and it was easily my favorite thing I’d eaten in Italy so far. Absolutely delectable. My mouth is watering thinking about it right now..

The most delicious quatro staggio pizza that I’ve ever tasted. Delicious.

We had a bit of a nap time back at the hostel before going out for our final dinner in Naples. It was the boys’ last night in Europe, so we partook in our own “Last Supper” by sharing wine and a few dishes, mostly revolving around seafood. It was a filling and delicious meal and a great way to end our time together.

Risotto alla pescadoro. Yum.

We checked out of our hostel by noon the following day and I had to say goodbye to the Wilson brothers. They were wonderful travel companions and I’m so grateful that they allowed me to explore with them. They were organized and calm in stressful situations, absolutely ideal for my over-anxious personality. We shared lots of awesome memories together and I knew that I’d miss them as I continued on with my travels, but I was excited and ready for the next steps!

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