For the few of you that didn't know that, you do now.
"When you go to Naples you must order Pizza as it's the best in the World". This I was told a number of times and as a pizza lover back home in the UK, that was something I was a little sceptical about. After all, how many different ways are there to prepare and cook a pizza!? Would such high expectations yield another anti-climatic experience? We all know what that feeling is like, right...? For me, a memorable exception to that was Las Vegas with the #KingsOfEurope back in 2010. Las Vegas really is that good - especially if you go there for with the right people and for the right reasons :-) Oh, and hire a Mustang to get there! See Trip America 2010 for more details.
You may recall a couple of things from yesterday's post: one that I was treating myself to a B&B with a private room and bathroom. This cost me 75 euros for two nights (£55) - not bad at all when you consider I was paying 25 euros for one night in a hostel in both Rome and my recent Napoli hostel.
The second being that I wanted to visit one of the highest points in Napoli - Castel Sant' Elmo and I'm happy to say I was able to fulfil this point of interest and yes, it was very much worth it. My starting point was actually around the dock area I visited yesterday. I caught the bus to save some energy as I knew I would be out most of the day walking. During my ascent, I continued to see the better parts of Napoli. Even several hundred meters up past the dock there were branded shops and well dressed people. Again, a far cry from the Naples I saw previously. I took me no more than 45 minutes to reach the top and that was largely thanks to a tip I received from the B&B owner. This being to take a funicolare and so I did. This was another form of carriage transportation but instead of cruising horizontally, it went vertically! Guess that kinda makes sense consider I was looking to go up!
Anyhow by the time exited at top, it was time for pizza and a sneaky beer. (Hey, this was a Sunday not a school day so I was just doing what a lot of you back home would be doing).
And the verdict?
Yeah, it was nice. I think they use only Buffalo Mozzarella over here in terms of one of the differences? There was definitely that distinctive taste of it having been cooked in a stone/clay baked oven which is the flavour we don't get to sample back home too often. *Actually that's less true these days as static and portable wood fired ovens are becoming more and more popular for rent and purchase! You know it's a small world when I have a friend that runs this so if any of you have any venues coming up that you think this could make a nice edition to, see Encasta for more information. Alternatively get in contact with them for a quote and once they provide you with one, go back and mention that I am your referral as I would hope this would get you a small discount.
So did the Napoli-baked pizza blow my mind? No, sadly it didn't. The toppings of mushrooms and ham appeared to only have been centre-placed without too much thought or care but that's how they do it over here I guess. The price I did appreciate though. This being 7.50 euros for both an pizza and large beer (£5.50). The other thing I very much recall was how quick it took in total. From working the magic with the dough to it being in front of me (steaming hot), it tool less than 10 minutes, probably 8. Whoa!
So after this filling lunch, it was time to see Napoli from another new perspective. Now, I know these pictures from my simple compact camera are not going to do the view proper justice so before you browse super-quickly through them, please remember this statement: I think this is the best view of a city/sea I have EVER seen. This includes looking down at the Monaco Principality! It's because it was pretty much a 360 view! Well, once you walked around a little at the top. Infact, you might think one or two of these shots resemble that well know Monaco harbour view, I certainly thought it did a number of times from up here.
I stayed up here for a little while before making the trek down and over to where I was staying near Garibaldi/Central station. On route back I wondered past many a classic street where you just have to stop a take some photos:
Later I stumbled on a metro station dedicated to a very famous man of which unsurprisingly there was a statue of him. Please meet Dante, a very famous Italian poet of the middle ages. I also enjoyed watching these kids play some cricket (not much open grass in Naples so anywhere has to do, right) - they even had their own umpire. Classic.
Finally, I made it back to the square around 6pm and I splashed out on some Ray Bans. Oh yeh. Strange though, I always thought designer glasses were expensive and sold in super clean and sterile shops!? Oh well, I must be mistaken as I got mine from an African man on the street - think maybe he closed his shop down for the day? Also, he was selling them for 4 euros (£2.90)!!! naturally I wasn't in a hurry to inform him that he had accidentally priced these up and missed a couple of zeros on the end. My lucky day I guess? :-)
Lastly I stopped for supper and dined well, again. Here we have first and second course consisting of the best Carbonara I've ever had and some fried seafood. I also met some a couple of really nice ladies from London who had just done Sorrento and The Amalfi Coast for three nights. Lucky devils...
I'm glad my final memories of Napoli will be like this, not the scanky parts and the traffic. Ah, yes, the traffic...
In addition to my two big statement above, (basically the pizza being 'just ok' and the view of Napoli and its gulf being more of an incredible sight that Monte Carlo, I have a third to provide you. I have never before seen (or heard) traffic like I have in Napoli. I don't know if its to do with any roadworks nearby or that fact that I've come here on a Friday to a Sunday but either way, nothing has come close to this (that doesn't include rush hour in LA as that wouldn't be a fair comparison). Rome, Milan, Valencia, Madrid - none of them compare to here. Sheer madness and summit I won't forget in a hurry.
Here is a cool but chaotic view from my room on a Sunday evening at around 10pm! The horns are relentless I promise you!
Finally folks for your latest twist/surprise I'm heading to Napoli airport.....................except I won't be boarding a plane!