Thursday, June 2, 2016

See Naples and...

Like a previous trip I have been extremely remiss in not staying current on these posts.  However I did use that wonder App called Track My Tour (please tell Chris that I sent you if you check it out) which did a much better job.  Here is the link to this part of the trip -- Click here.


We'd talked about it for quite some time or rather I'd droned on about it, that we wanted to follow the European red clay tournaments from Monte Carlo in mid-April through to the French Open in the last week of May and first week of June.  However life does get in the way some times so we finally agreed on a cut down version which looks something like this:

  • 2 days in Naples
  • 6 days in Amalfy
  • 8 days in Rome for the Italian Open with a group of tennis guys from Bermuda and Canada
  • 7 days in Portugal, bottom left part on the western Amalfi Coast
  • 6 days in Paris for the French Open (just Viv and I)
  • 5 days in England
That's about 5 weeks.  Fantastic!

I confess to being a little anal in that I really do like to know the whats, wheres and hows of the places that we are going to visit but what the heck!!
I'd never been to Naples.  Viv had but on a cruise ship years ago so our collective knowledge was rather light however I'd started to read the book called Pompeii by Robert Harris and a book about the fall of the Roman Republic so was in the right mindset for Naples despite its more recent history (and there is a lot of it) is really, really old.

The route in took us over the Alps!! Just beautiful.

Naples or Napoli for the Italians was Neapolis for the 7th century BC Greeks who founded the city and Napule for the Romans who used the region as a holiday resort as well as enormous port city (according to Wikipedia anyway).  Home to 3 million people these days, Naples is quite simply a mess and mass of steaming humanity... crammed pack full of wonderful old stuff and really tiny roads.

This of course means road congestion.  

Of course there can be no reference to Naples without reference to Vesuvius which is right next door. It dominates all landscapes being so huge a double mountain, these days.  Formerly it was a single peak before that famous explosion in 79 AD blew it apart and submerged Pompeii, Herculaneum and I am sure a host of other unnamed and unremembered places.

Our first view of Vesuvius

We'd organised as much as possible a driver for all occasions as there had been so many of those warnings about tourists being stiffed over everything.  I found Daniele on the internet, Trip Advisor and the various online tourist guides.  His company could provide transport and tours of the entire region but also he was a sommelier and provided culinary events as well!  Simple choice really. Daniele's website is here.  Do check him out.  He is great.

It was one of Daniele's drivers who collected us from Naples Airport and took us to our downtown hotel.  It was in a maze of little side streets but importantly just up the hill from the central square and the old castle that was the feature of this part of the city.  Not Roman but still 600 years old!  Just a snip in time in fact.

The day we arrived was cloudless.  This is the view from the hotel terrace with of course Vesuvius in the background and the castle in the foreground.  Naples has always been a significant port town.

There really wasn't much time to do anything more than have dinner so we took a recommendation of a place called Il Garum from the check in guy and strolled down the street to enjoy it.

Different cities and countries have dinner at different times.  Spain before 10 pm is unheard of.  Here in Naples, it was 9.30 pm so as we arrived an hour earlier we had the place pretty much to ourselves.  And of course it showed us to be tourists as well.

Dinner was spectacular and looking back on it one of the top 3 meals of the entire trip.

Linguine alla colatura d'alici
Local fare is seafood even though pork, boar and porcini mushrooms are popular local dishes too.  But this one is the #1 -- anchovy juice cooked into home made pasta with olive oil and garlic.  This one was sensational!  It is also very traditional dating back at least to the Romans.  They called this sauce... wait for it... Garum.  Coincidence, eh?  I think not.

I just love the local in season little strawberries called Fragolini served with lemon juice, local of course, and a little sugar which is mostly unnecessary but when in Naples... 

I'd really missed the end of day Gelato and was not going to get off on the wrong foot!
And the night time view over the city ...

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