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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon
< Barcelona, Spain - 2012 | Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012 >

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Naples, Italy - 2012

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 16/08/2012 19:44:58
Updated by Joel Dixon at 04/03/2019 03:28:46

Are you planning on visiting Naples in the future? If so, make sure you cover off the Vesuvius ruins and archaeology museum because you are not going to want to return. Naples is a hole, plain and simple. The people are criminals and / or assholes (ok, so not all - just a high percentage of them), the city is dirty and falling apart and the roads are death traps. I've loved every European city I've visited on this trip - until now. Of course, I handled it with my usual humour and aplomb - plus being able to call people "knob jockeys" and "sausage nipples" without a fear of being understood helped.

It may be my own fault - I only had one full day in Naples so I booked a hotel right in the city near the train station (although no matter how far I walked I never seemed to leave the ghetto vibe). It also doesn't explain the behaviour of the people. As I destroyed my already battered feet climbing Mount Vesuvius I decided to catch a cab to the archaeology museum instead of the walk. The taxi driver did the usual "flat rate" scam which I was expecting and accepted (due to an inability to say no) - but when we arrived he truly outdid all other taxi jerks. He parked next to a closed back entrance of the museum and told me it was closed, hoping that I'd ask him to drive me back. I tried to pay the fare and he stayed still and told me it was closed again - confident his scam would work. Absolute asshole, trying to ruin my afternoon (and perception of Naples) for a quick buck.

Italian males (or at least those in Naples) are creepy as fuck as well, I had started to notice that they were extremely brazen when checking out women making no attempt to hide it. Then I was sitting down having a nice lunch outside a semi-classy restaurant when two very attractive blonde women walked past. It was like a noiseless bomb had been detonated, thunder without sound, as every male within a three-mile radius found a new reason to live. One of the waiters came over to my table and pretended to collect my plate so he could get a bit closer, all the other waiters stood up and jostled for the best gaping position, unrelated male passers-by were now brought together with a shared purpose of sleaziness and I swear someone started clapping. They all had a quick chat once the women had passed (presumably about the girls mental abilities and capacity for kindness) and they were back to lazily slumping and smoking. I know I've been caught involuntarily gazing at a beautiful women before but this went way beyond appreciation and settled squarely into creepy town.

Naples was also the first city that I actually felt in danger. Only two vehicles ever stopped for me at a pedestrian crossing - the rest sailed through, one very nearly hitting me on my first night. Even just walking around in the middle of the day had me checking my wallet and keeping my head on a swivel waiting for my eventual mugger (who fortunately never came for me - I presume he was run over at a pedestrian crossing). I am so happy to be on a train out of there - but slightly dreading that the rest of Italy might be worse.

It wasn't all bad - I had one of the best pizza's I've ever devoured on my first night, followed by some delicious gelato. I also had some pasta forno that took me back (there was a period of 8+ months when I was eating riso fauno for 6 meals each week) - followed by even more gelato. I also found a pretty cool part of the city where some old dudes were sitting around playing scopa, joking and swearing (presumably) at each other's play. I also ticked off a very long-standing item on the list - Vesuvian ruins.

I couldn't finish it - I woke up in a cold sweat later that night full of regret

Apparently they give their desserts hats over here. You can see the tell-tale blurry photo of an excited Joel

I took a train out to Ercolano and a shuttle bus half way up the volcano. The rest of the climb was actually somewhat difficult but took no more than 25 minutes. I was pretty happy to be on top of the most dangerous volcano in the world (the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted in the last 100 years) and I managed to find some steam venting out of one part of the crater. I was just walking around when I heard some dude speaking on his phone, and it took me a second to realise how incredible that actually was. He was on the top of an active volcano having a chat to his Italian buddy. So I took it a step further and called a few people back in Australia to marvel at the wonders of technology.

I don't know why I keep getting myself in the photos, I should just ask someone else to be my body double

It's about to blow!

After getting myself back down the mountain I made my way to the Ercolano ruins. I was originally going to go to the Pompeii ruins (where a lot of artefacts had been uncovered) but a friend correctly advised me that Ercolano has much better formed ruins (thanks Glenn). It was pretty cool seeing mosaics and sculptures dated from before 79 AD, while also a little embarrassing that the ancient ruins were better decorated than my room back home.

You can tell how basic civilization was back then - they have a Wack-a-Mole game but I couldn't find any of the superior Skeeball machines on offer

The houses were actually really interesting to walk though - trying to imagine how people lived back then

When eventually arriving at the National Archaeological Museum I was extremely impressed. I had assumed that an archaeology museum would be filled with tiny trinkets that had been found buried deep within the ground - but there were some very classy and gigantic sculptures that had been excavated from Pompeii and elsewhere. The size and detail on these statues far exceeded my expectations and had me staring for ages (but it's fine, the statues couldn't tell I was checking them out). There was also some interesting Egypt stuff believe it or not (Naples has the third largest Egyptian collection in the world) and a sealed section (the Secret Cabinet - basically ancient porno).

It's a shame he wasn't more headstrong.

I kept my shirt on - otherwise you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two equally chiselled torsos

Back to the hotel (after another gelato - ice cream dinner for the win) for an early sleep in preparation for Rome.

This is the 6th in the EuroJoel - 2012 series
City 1 - Lisbon, Portugal - 2012City 2 - Porto, Portugal - 2012City 3 - Madrid and Toledo, Spain - 2012City 4 - Valencia, Spain - 2012City 5 - Barcelona, Spain - 2012City 6 - Naples, Italy - 2012City 7 - Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012City 8 - Florence and Pisa, Italy - 2012City 9 - Milan and Bologna, Italy - 2012City 10 - Venice, Italy - 2012City 11 - Prague, Czech Republic - 2012City 12 - Dresden, Germany - 2012City 13 - Berlin, Germany - 2012City 14 - Legoland, Denmark, 2012City 15 - Edinburgh, Scotland - 2012City 16 - Nice and Monte Carlo, France - 2012City 17 - Lyon, France - 2012City 18 - Dijon, France - 2012City 19 - Provins, France - 2012City 20 - Paris, France - 2012City 21 - Ireland - 2012City 22 - London, England - 2012City 23 - Killarney - Ireland, 2012City 24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - 2012City 25 - Brussels and Bruges, Belgium - 2012City 26 - Warsaw, Poland - 2012City 27 - Krakow, Poland - 2012City 28 - Vienna, Austria - 2012City 29 - Budapest, Hungary - 2012City 30 - Bucharest, Romania - 2012City 31 - Nile Cruise, Egypt - 2012City 32 - Cairo, Egypt - 2012 Back to Top

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