Naples 11th June, 2011.
We were up early Saturday morning to catch the train into Naples. Once there we decided on the hop on hop off tourist bus as the city is so large to do on foot. Unlike most European cities they do seem to run a small fleet of buses which all start at 10.00 and finish at 4.00 therefore once you were on the bus you didn’t jump off for fear of not getting back on. It gave us a great taster for the city showing us the old town, taking in the castles and churches, the very expensive shore line where lots of Neapolitans live in beautiful villas and apartments overlooking the bay and a ride to the top of the city which gave us a wonderful view of the city and across to Vesuvius.
Jim mentioned on the bus ride I wonder who that aircraft carrier belongs to. The two American boys in front looked up and said “It is the George Bush, Sir”. They were 1st year lawyers on internship for two months attached to the Navy and were very much looking forward to visiting it for a day the following week. The ship was obviously on show as the aircraft were on the deck and all the toys were out. Over the weekend we met several chaps from the carrier who the week before had been in Portsmouth. They all think the British are great and would return anytime to our shores.
We must have seen 20 weddings during our travels that day being photographed at all the famous sites. At one of the castles three brides were lined up for their photographs. It seems the bride and groom and a bridesmaid or two and the best man toured the city and were photographed in the places to be seen at. From the top of the bus you got a wonderful view of the dresses.
After 4 o’clock we had a great time wandering around the Galleria Umberto I which was built in 1887 and rebuilt after World War II. It is a very fashionable arcade of shops with a beautiful glass dome and many beautiful coloured windows. It has on the floor in the central the 12 zodiacs in mosaic. It was good for a coffee and ice-cream stop as it thundered and poured with rain non-stop for an hour.
It faces the oldest opera house, the Teatro San Carlo built for Charles of Bourbon in 1737. The Royal Palace Palazzo Reale is set in the square across from the opera house. The palace was where the G7 summit was held in 1993. We were lucky to see a bride arrive at the huge church opposite the Royal Palace and we watched the procession proceed into the beautifully decorated church. At the hotel across the road we watched them prepare a wedding cake which consisted of 8 big cakes with yellow and white decoration for one of the receptions.
We looked in several churches and marvelled at the decorated ceilings and the care taken to have everything shiny and well presented. As we wandered we found a restaurant in the old town to have traditional pizza and we were not disappointed. A good end to a long day and now we only had to find our train back to Torre Del Greco.
Three points I will mention are the new underground system is being added to at present and the roads are dug up everywhere which makes it quite difficult to view the town. Perhaps in 2 or 3 years time it will be easier to get around as it has so much to offer. One other is the piles of rubbish everywhere unlike anything we have experienced on our travels! Lastly, the graffiti everywhere even on church walls, statues, inside and outside buses and trains and it appears nothing is done about it.