I’m writing this post from Paris and this process of editing & uploading all the photos is making me miss Italy. To start with, I miss listening to people say “Allora”. I swear, type it in on Google translate and press the speaker button to hear how it’s said. It’s music to my ears. Sorry, I know I sound crazy.
Anyway, the map of Italy is shaped like a boot and as I make my way down, I’m actually humbled that there are more and more places that I need to visit! Take for example Naples (Napoli). On the outside, it’s a busy city. After all, it’s the third largest municipality after Rome & Milan. It reminds me so much of Manila and it also faces a body of water just like the Manila Bay. But, underneath it all (and yes, this time literally), Naples has 27 centuries worth of history starting from its Greek settlers!
Naples is also where pizza was invented and is also the home of the catacombs, Vesuvius, the towering volcano and the ruins of Pompei.
It’s such a shame that this is the city where my body decided to threaten me with a flu and where Ponggo who was supposed to join me from the Philippines, had a delayed flight because his plane from Hong Kong left late. Well, at least there’s another reason for us to come back to Naples. I was already daydreaming about how excited he would be to see the ruins of Pompei since he was insisting me to visit that place while I wanted to see Sicily.
I was also hoping to walk around the crater of Mount Vesuvius. That’s something Ponggo & I love doing when we’re in the Philippines. You see, these places used to be just a bunch of illustrations and words I see on that Encyclopedia for children called childcraft and it’s always awesome to see these things come alive! (Yes, I also just revealed my age. I belong to that generation. Hehehehe.)
Naples is also the gateway to other Italian islands such as Sicily and Sardinia and my oh my, the stories that everyone has from the people we’ve met on the train until those who are in the hostel’s reception area, they’re making us want to travel more & more.
One of the colors of the city flag is red that’s why you will see a lot of red buildings in Naples.
The bustling city scene and general vibe is not at all unfamiliar to me. But, before going here, I’ve been warned by several Italians and tourists alike to take care of my belongings when I’m in Naples. So far, I didn’t lose anything except for a bottle of soda which was sticking out of my gym bag. Haha. But, unlike my stay in Vicenza, Venice or Florence, I didn’t walk around with my camera here nor did I bring out my cellphone. I took the hop-on hop-off bus tour because I wanted to take pictures without having to worry about the thoughts that are flooding my head from everyone’s reminders. I think that just like Manila, the people are busy trying to survive and make the most of the current economic condition and that you just need to be more aware of your surroundings and belongings. As I got off one of the Metro stations, I can see an increased police visibility and there really is a huge effort to make the city more peaceful.
As I’ve said, each city in Italy has a different personality and character and has been shaped by history in a different way. Naples is unique in its own way.
Also, let’s not forget about the food. In all of my stay in Italy, Mergellina Hostel (Ostello AIG Mergellina) served the best dinner food. Just looking at the bell peppers here in this photo reminds me of our tasty side dish that came with our roast beef. I was lucky to have had the risotto with asparagus, spaghetti bolognese (and no folks, apparently “bolognese” does not rhyme with the word Japanese)! Hehehe. The chef was such a character that I actually wanted to interview him. Too bad we didn’t have enough time. He would prepare, serve and present his food with such passion and made sure that you enjoyed your dinner. He also chuckled when I decided to have orange juice with my pasta when I was supposed to enjoy it with wine. *Oops!*
I just had to take a photo of this man from the bus while he was speaking. I’d like to remind myself that this is one of the things that you will love about Italy. Not a lot of Italians speak English and I’m surprised that even if they do, they’re actually conscious if they’re not fluent. But, at the end of the day, they will make gestures, literally and figuratviely, to help you find your way.
Here’s an shot of a window from a buildling. As I’ve pointed out to my guide Marco in Milan, I’m actually amused and curious as to why all the windows have shutters instead of Venetian blinds. They look aesthetically pleasing though.
At the end of the day, I went back to my hostel in the Mergellina area very near this train station. At this point in the journey, I feel like I’m so used to figuring out Metro stations of different cities and be humble enough to ask strangers. I also learned that just like the iceberg, there’s always so much more to the city than meets the eye!
P.S. The Big Blog Exchange & Hostelling International has only asked us to blog thrice on our exchange partner’s blog but of course, I can’t summarize the amazing 10 days I had in Italy in three blog posts. You may follow the rest of my journey on my home blog, GooglyGooeys.com and Instagram account @googlygooeys.