11 Aug #1 POMPEII // NAPLES // ITALY
Our first stop in Italy was Naples. We had the nicest tour guide, Massimo, aka taxi driver who took us first to the largest archeological site of the world, Pompeii, driving along castles, cliffs and Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii did not disappoint and was absolutely spectacular. Ever since I had Latin in school and the most enthusiastic Latin teacher, Pompeii has been on my bucket list. Unbelievable how much it teaches us how people had lived until the year 79 a. D. when the nearby volcano Vesuvius erupted and buried this town under 15 m of hot ashes. Would this town had been located closer to the volcano, the lava would have melted and destroyed the contents of the whole city.
After this impressive site and the super hot temperatures, we were ready to have „the real“ pizza and some cooling icecream and head over to Bella Napoli, the place where pizza and icecream have been invented – ha, my valuable insights from reading „Eat, pray, love“!
We first went to the Duomo, explored the streets of Naples, and then had dessert and some superlative Neapolitan coffee at Naples oldest coffee shop, the Caffè Gambrinus (holy moly, their cakes and pastries are really to die for) watching scooters beeping and weaving down the narrow streets to avoid whatever obstacle could be in their way. Scary.
I don’t know what I had expected or did I have to high expections, but somehow I found Naples quite busy, dirty, congested and dark. I believe this is just one of those cities where you definitely need some time to warm up to and let all the atmosphere sink in. That is impossible when you just have a day. But I know that there is definitely beauty underneath all that mess, and it will certainly take a while to peel back all the layers. Naples, I will be back some day!