October, 1st to 9th, 2016
Saturday, October 1st
Time for this years week 40 expedition. A week in Naples. Bus to Billund at lunchtime. Then a flight to Paris. 4 hours of waiting here, before boarding another flight to Naples. At check-in they give me a new seat. 3C. That means a free upgrade to Business. I don’t complain. So trip to Naples is supercomfy with a great meal, free champagne and cognac to finish it up. Damn – it’s only a 2 hour flight.
Arriving in Naples at 11 pm. Get my luggage, and then a taxi to UNA-Hotel in the city centre. Check in to room 502. Excellent. Find out how wi-fi is working here. Here we go.
Sunday, October 2nd
Bad start on this trip. It’s raining in the morning. I take a look outside, but going out is not an option. Back to my book – and Netflix.
At 2 pm it’s cleared. Out into Naples. Centro Storico is todays target. It’s close to the hotel. I semi-follow a walk in my Lonely Planet guide. The walk has 24 sights. Mainly old churches and Piazza’s. The Piazza’s are ok – I drop the churches. Many small streets and alleys as well. This is the real Naples and Southern Italy. Lunch at a Trattoria. Excellent food an Italian arrogance. When the Naples football game starts on the TV at 3 it’s impossible to get a waiter to your table. When I finally succeed, they think they will get 5 Euro tip. Forget it. Then through more alleys and more old and worn buildings. Sometimes you wonder – why is it still standing.
At 6 I’m back at the Hotel. Time for a take-away pizza – and some more Netflix.
Monday, October 3rd
If Naples is old and worn, it’s nothing compared to Pompeji. I take the train out there from the morning. I get there pretty early. Before the tour-groups. That’s a good thing. There is a reason why Pompeji looks like it does. The reason is Vesuv. Back in 79 AD it dropped lava all over Pompeji and burying it and killing a lot of people. It was discovered beneath the lava in 1594, but excavation started around 1748. Not all is done yet. This is Italy - you know. I take in some of the stuff. It’s too huge to cover it all. When the tourgroups turn right I turn left. But I do see the main things anyway. I spend 3 hours out here, before the groups overwhelm me. Time to get back home by train. Time for siesta.
At 4 pm I am ready to tour no. 2. I’m heading up to the area called Vomero. First by Metro – then by Funicular. We are on a hill. Here you find Castel Sant’Elmo. It’s an old fort from 1349. Strategically a good place to build a fort. Great views of the city and the bay. In the horizon you can see Capri and Vesuv. It’s next to an old monestary – now museum – Certosa de San Martino. It’s an art-museum, so I don’t go there. Instead I walk back, find another Metro back to Grimaldi and my Hotel. A local Pizzeria – Fortuna – make sure I get my take-away fix for tonight. 4.50 Euro for a huge pizza. That’s cheap – and they are good.
Tuesday, October 4th
I was thinking of going to Positano on the Amalfi-coast today. But as the alarm-clock wakes me up early in the morning I decide – “not today”.
Instead I take 2 walks from my 2nd guidebook – Naples Unplugged. Trip 1 is a classical one. First Castel Nuevo. Despite the name it’s not very new. It’s from 1279. Some small exhibitions and a nice view of the harbour from the tower. Then the shopping centre Galleria Umberto I. An old school shopping centre. Much more interesting than the ones they build now. Then on to Piazza del Plebiscito and the old church San Francisco di Paola. From the distance, it looks fine. Getting closer you will see that it’s very old and need refurbishment. So is also with Palazzo Reale on the opposite side of the Piazza. But it is totally packed into scaffolding. A situation which will probably exist for some 3-400 years. Then on to the boring shopping street of Via Toledo to the station named after the street. Back on the Metro – back to Garibaldi.
Trip 2 is called Porta Capuana. That’s my local hood. First up the street with the fine name Via Carbonara. A few churches and Piazzas but mainly local life and laundry from the windows. Lot’s of people hanging out –doing nothing. This is Naples. Down through Via Duomo. Into the Duomo – the finest church in Naples. Is nice inside. Then up Corso Umberto I – a boring transportation road – to my Hotel.
Take away pizza from Fortuna. A little different. A Capricciosa tonight – no olives by the way.
Wednesday, October 5th
Well – now I have to do it. Getting up early and heading down to Molo Beverello. Most ferries leave from there. Weather is brilliant. Sunshine, not a clouc in sight and a little windy so you can feel you are sailing. I get on board a boat for Capri. That is also a famous tourist destination, but I only to there to change ship for another one that take me to Positano on the Amalfi-coast. The trip is great along the cliffs of the Amalfi-coast, small villages and deep blue sea.
Positano is build almost like a pyramid – upside down. There are lots of tourist. I wonder how it would be in high season. Lot’s of restaurants, bars, café’s, souvenir-shops etc. There’s really not much to do in the 6 hours I’m out here. I walk around a little – take a walk to a nearby beach – have lunch, coffeebreak, icecream-break, coffee-break etc. Pretty nice to be honest. At 4.30 it’s back again. Same route – different direction. Very nice trip once again. In Naples 2 hours later and then back to the Hotel. You have a nice red face after a day like this on the sea with sun shining bright.
Thursday, October 6th
Once again – out into the miserable public transport in Naples. The platform at Garibaldi is packed with people, but it takes 15 minutes before a Metro shows up. I have yet not been able to get a seat on the Metro. This time is no exception. I get off at Municipal. There I have to catch a bus – R4. It takes 30 minutes before it arrives. Hello – we a talking a metropol with 4 mio. people. At noon I reach my target – The Church at San Gennaro.
I’m not here to see the church. That is also impossible, since they are holding a wedding. I am here to take a tour of the San Gennaro Catacombs. It’s a very nice one hour trip through the Catacombs under the church and under Naples. There are lots of burials. The poor ones was just put into the ground. The middle class laid on shelves – and the rich had their own little private chamber. Social status also counts in death. It’s very exiting. They let you out from the tour at the bottom of the Catacombs if you want. Then you can cross a parking lot for a hospital to reach the neighbourhood of La Sanità.
That is a great area. This is real Naples. No tourists like Centro Storico – only lots of local life, plenty of small shops, bakers, groceries etc. Lot’s of photo-ops as well. No one seems to be doing much. In most shops you will find people talking – and certainly no one seems to be in a hurry. You wonder how a society can work with a working-moral like this – but on the other hand – it doesn’t. I end up at the metrostation Cavour. But it’s close to Garibaldi, so I thing walking back is both faster and more convenient.
Trip 2 later today is cancelled due to bad weather. Instead I sit and watch out the window to the traffic madness in front of the railway station. There is football on RAI 1 too. Euro-qualification – Italy vs. Spain. Buffon looks like a clown and Spain is in front. At the end Italy cheat themselves to a penalty – 1-1.
Friday, October 7th
The weather forecast said all day rain – but it’s not here, so that’s good. Only a few showers. Some local kids have gathered in front of the Hotel. They are going for a demonstration. They are not many – but they are very loud.
I take the Metro downtown. Time for a few sights and a fine walk. First stop is Piazza Dante. Bookstores – and music in the background. The music conservatory is here. They are practising. Then on to Capella Sansevero. A famous sculpture Christo Velato is on display here. It represents Jesus in his death with a cloth above him. It looks very natural – it’s hard to see that it’s all made out of marble. The visit includes an audio-guide that keeps on talking, and talking, and talking. Finally I switch it off and leaves the place. I walk over to the Santa Chiara Church. It’s one of Naples more famous churches. Build by Robert of Anjou. His son Charles wasn’t happy with it – said it looked like a stable – and did a lot to make it look more artistic.
This part of Naples is the most touristic part. So I leave it behind, and head for some more alleys and backyards. In these streets you will find a lot of old Palazzo’s. This is University-area, and one of the Palazzo’s is the local School of Architecture. You will not be surprised to see a very strange backyard in a place like this. It’s easy to fine a good and cheap Pizzeria for late lunch as well. Then down to the Metrostation – heading home – enough for today.
Saturday, October 8th
Last day. Metro 1 to Municipal. Then a walk to first sight of the day Galleria Borbonico. It’s a 500 meter long tunnel build under Naples by King Ferdinand II in 1853, to have a secret way from his palace Palazzo Reale to the harbour and his soldiers. Just in case an uprise would occur. It didn’t, but Ferdinand died a few years after the tunnel was finished. And so did Naples as a kingdom – as Italy was born as Italy. During WW 2 it was used as bombshells. Lot’s of things from that period is still down here – old cars and Vespa’s included. The tour is 1 hour and it’s great.
We are exiting from the other end of the tunnel – close to Lungomare – a local Naples park. From there I head down to the bay and back to city center. This is where all fine hotels are located. Lot’s of wedding-photographing today. Probably a lot of weddings since Naples is not playing football today. I head over to a small peninsula Borgo Marinaro. There’s an old fort Castel dell’Ovo. Fine views from here across the bay to Vesuv. And nice reastaurants as well. Late lunch on one of them. Pizza. Then another long walk back to Municipal passing more sights in the area called Santa Lucia. Metro back to the hotel.
Om aftenen kan man høre Polen-Danmark på netradio i godt selskab med en pizzaslice fra Fortuna.
Sunday, October 9th
Heading home. Check out from excellent hotel at 7. Taxi to airport. At 9.25 Transavia take me to Amsterdam. Landing shortly before noon. 4½ hours of waiting. 4.45 to Billund. One hour flight. 6.30 bus to Aarhus – back home at 8.