After a bit of a lie in on Wednesday morning (and some last minute packing by me…) our taxi arrived to take us to the station to start our journey to Naples! A short ride and train journey later, we arrived at London Gatwick airport and having already checked in, breezed through security into the magical duty free land of departures.
After the obligatory wander around the duty free shops (some lovely new make-up purchased by me) our hungry tummies led us to Wagamama. Mmmmmm. Prosecco and a Chicken Teriyaki Donburi for me, and a beer and Chicken Katsu Curry for Simon. YUM.
The flight was pretty uneventful, I even managed to fall asleep (not hard, 3 days post marathon, still exhausted!) and before I knew it we had landed in Naples. Off we went through passport control (a hilarious situation where a man in the queue for the electronic entry system ahead of us was trying to scan his passport on the camera…!!) and out into the craziness.
After almost getting conned by a couple of Italians for a very overpriced taxi, we hopped in the Naples equivalent of a black cab and were on our way.
The ride from the airport to our Air BnB was eye opening… tiny narrow streets, cars, taxis, scooters and pedestrians everywhere. No real system, drivers with a cigarette in one hand and a mobile phone in the other, yet somehow still managing to drive. It was madness!
After about 20 minutes we arrived at our home for the next few days. After eventually finding our way in we were shown to our little apartment, it was in the middle of a gorgeous garden, really tucked away and lovely 😊
We quickly dropped our bags off and headed back out the door to go and grab some food at the pizza restaurant next door (Ferdinand and Carolina). Although I’m coeliac, I’m not always 100% strict, so on this occasion I thought, ‘I’m in Naples, the home of pizza, sod it I’m trying one!’ And oh WOW it was amazing… the dough was so soft, the tomatoes so fresh and the splattering of mozzarella was perfect. So delicious!
After dinner we headed for a stroll around the surrounding area, we got rather lost and ended up walking for about an hour and a half… Of course this meant stumbling upon some gelato, which was just divine, before heading back for a relatively early night!
Thursday morning we set off to try and find the station. This meant walking for about an hour and getting lost down some tiny little side streets before finally stumbling upon the station.
The next task was finding tickets to get us to Pompeii… which proved challenging. We initially bought tickets for what we thought was the right train from the ticket area in the main station, before heading downstairs to get the Circumvesuviana train, where we found out the tickets we’d bought were not actually for that train. So we then had to buy some more tickets!
Eventually we boarded the train and managed to get seats, which meant we had a good view out of the window and caught our first glimpses of Mount Vesuvius! About 40 minutes later, we arrived at Pompeii. A quick lunch stop, then in we went.
Wow. It’s huge. Absolutely enormous. We walked for what felt like hours, up and down ancient Roman roads and meandered in and out of the remnants of Roman houses that had been destroyed by the volcano. It was absolutely amazing and hard to believe quite how old it really was!
After a few hours, we headed back to the train station and back to Naples. We stopped in a little café near the station for an espresso- when in Italy!
Luckily we’d pre-empted it and bought umbrellas the day before! Unfazed, we set off exploring again, and headed for Napoli Souterranea, where we ventured underground for a short while to see the remains of a Roman market that was now deep under the city. It was pretty cool!
I was desperate for a salad (bizarrely) and after trying a number of restaurants, none of which served salad, we resorted to McDonalds, which happened to be in a beautiful old building, where I got a grilled chicken salad… Not the best, but I was hungry and it did the job! The Maccy’s happened to have a little café bit too, so we got a (fancy) coffee and a macaron from there too!
Our next stop was the Archaeological Museum, which housed mosaics and statues from Pompeii and Herculaneum among other things. It was quite impressive again!
After a bit of downtime and some more cards we ventured to another restaurant recommended by our Air BnB host, Jamon, a small tapas restaurant a short walk away. I sampled my first Aperol Spritz, a classic European tipple, which was deeeeeelish, and we ordered a selection of cured meats, some cheese and some bruschetta (oops more gluten!). It was divine. We devoured it all fairly quickly, and even went back for more cheese. Sooooo good….
Saturday morning we got up reasonably early and wandered down to the port, where we caught a ferry across to the beautiful island of Capri. It was stunning, and the weather was incredible. Bright sunshine meant the sky and the sea were beautifully blue.
We wandered off up a hill in one direction, only to be met with a dead end!
We ventured back towards the port, and off in the other direction, this time following signs for Capri centre. Most people were getting on the funiculaire (cable car type thing) to take them up to Capri, we decided we could do with the walk… It was about a kilometre, but all up hill, I was rather warm by the time we got to the town!
While trying to find somewhere not too touristy for lunch, we stumbled upon a real find, a tiny restaurant that was empty when we arrived, down a little alley, but overlooking the sea. Cue another Aperol Spritz for me, a beer for Simon, and pizza for both of us… (well after the first one had been so amazing and I’d suffered no ill effects I thought why not!)
We continued our wander and meandered back down the hill to the port to get the ferry back over to Naples. Beautiful views of the Amalfi Coast and Vesuvius on the ferry back…
Saturday evening we sought out another restaurant recommended by our host, Tandem Ragu. All they served was ragu style dishes (basically meat in a tomato based sauce) with bread… We both went for cheesy bread to start with meatballs for main…. Yum! Followed by another espresso of course!
Sunday morning arrived, and we headed off for a last stroll around the city we had grown to really love. We wandered up towards Castel del Elmo, the highest point in Naples, and after the sweaty climb we were rewarded with fantastic views over the city, a great way to end our trip…
Before returning to the apartment to grab our bags and hop in a taxi, we managed to squeeze in one last pizza (of course!) before saying goodbye to Naples and returning home.
So what would I recommend?
· Try the pizza. You won’t be disappointed!!!
· Try the gelato… obviously!
· Capri, well worth the visit, it’s stunning.
· Pompeii, embrace the inner history nerd, thousands of years of history beneath your feet, you don’t get that every day.
· Wander into the random churches, you never know what you’re going to find.
· Jamon, the cheese was amazing!!
Back to reality and back into the last 9 weeks of Ironman training, the next trip we have planned is to Frankfurt… EEEEK!!!!