Author: Host Ciao
Date of Trip: December 2012
I am in Rome, arrived yesterday but spent an hour on computer deleting four days’ worth of stuff because the computer at the hotel in Naples was broken. Yesterday in Rome I rested–really! Today I wore out my toes in the Vatican Gardens, a large part of the Vatican Museums and a few minutes in St. Peter’s. I’ll be back there again when it’s not full of chairs for Midnight Mass for Christmas so I’ll spend more time then. And I don’t suppose it will surprise too many people that I found a book or two or so that I don’t have and had to have even though I have no room in my Rome bookcase.
But back to Naples truly the bad and the good and a case of the best laid plans, etc. I arrived and found that I would have to stay in another hotel the first night because of a problem at the one I chose. Didn’t make me happy, but not much can be done. The next day I was back at the hotel I have stayed at before and prefer. It is near the train station so not a great neighborhood but it has a quite decent restaurant so no need to go out at night. Anyway with the moving and having to switch some times of doing my activities, I missed out on a museum, but still saw lots.
Naples is frankly an ugly city, but you can go through a door and find great beauty of many kinds: the Farnese sculptures and the mosaics from Pompeii and Herculaneum in the Archaeological Museum (not to mention the Gabinetto Secreto where much of the rescued erotic art from these towns is kept–of course, I went in); or you can walk into a marvel of baroque art in more than one church or even more simple decorations. And while a walk through the heart of the city, Spacanapoli, might cause you to wish the streets weren’t so narrow and so noisy and so crowded, but you would have to smile at a group of around 30, I would guess, second graders marching down the streets singing at the top of their lungs lead by a Pucinello with his hook nosed mask and his red and white clothes. I’m not sure how he connected with them, but they had come out of Santa Chiara a few minutes before and all of a sudden he was beating time on his flat drum and off they went. He stopped to do a hip bumping dance with a store clerk and proceeded to lead the kids down the narrow street while he once in a while would bop a passer-by on the head with his fake club. I missed that, but the woman next to me got and laughed with everyone else. And I have to mention Santa Chiara, a rather austere Franciscan church, but just go into the cloister! Beauty! The cloister has pillars and benches of majolica in greens and yellows, plants, scenes on the backs of benches, fountains and greenery–beauty off a plain street.
I would subtitle this “Adventures with the R2”. On my last day in Naples last week, my plan was to visit the Royal area of Naples–palace, civic museum and a large church. The desk man at the hotel told me the best way to do this was to take the R2 bus. So I set out for the bus stop nearby. Now I am as fond of my fellow man as the next person, maybe fonder, but after watching the way Neapolitans jam themselves on the bus and the doors barely closing, I was a bit leary of the R2. I watched three go by with not an inch of space. Finally one came by that didn’t look too bad and I headed to the back door. A youngish man took my arm and helped me on the bus. Once there more and more people pushed on. I was jammed against a seat railing. I was wearing my purse across my chest as one should in Naples, but couldn’t pull the bag (small too) around. When I finally did, I noticed the zipper was open. I did not leave it that way. I felt inside and found my two cameras. That’s all I was worried about. I carry my money clipped inside my slacks waist band.
Of course I suspected the kindly man and his friend. They got off the bus and when my stop came so did I. I reached into my pocket to get a kleenex and found my little leather coin purse. I do not carry it there. My conclusion was that the kindly thief had returned it. i wish I could understand enough Italian to know what he said when he opened it and found my rosary. Wasn’t exactly what he wanted.
But my R2 adventures continued later. I had visited the church and the Royal Palace and stopped in the Galleria (not as nice as Milan’s) and had two sfollgie pastries filled with cream and that description doesn’t do them justice, espresso and water–for lunch! Then I went climbing and wandering in the civic museum. And afterwards went to wait for the good old R2. First the electronic sign said 5 minutes, then 15, then nothing. So I figured traffic was holding it up (two places of work on new Metro line). I crossed the street to the stop heading back to the Royal area–the bus makes a circle there. Soon the sign did about the same thing. Then up came a message that the R2 and its cohorts were all stopped. I could just translate enough to see that all lines were interrupted. So I decided to take a taxi since the rank of quite a few was very near. The trip was uneventful except that the driver stopped to pick up a buddy who sat in front with him. We made it to about two blocks from the hotel where it seems like 10 lanes of traffic are all fighting for two lanes of space along with a few buses and trams. We crossed in front of a tram and continued to turn until we were heading right into the sleek side of a very modern machine. And we sat. Pretty soon the tram backed up and we continued to turn so now we were nose to nose, and I would bet on the tram. However, it backed up a bit more and soon we were leading a parade of cars heading toward the tram. It was so ridiculous, I started to laugh and then so did the driver and his friend. This backing and going went on for a couple of minutes and finally I indicated I would walk–about a block. So I paid and got out still laughing and headed to the hotel. By the time I got there the tram had backed up even more and who knows where the taxi went. And so the saga of the R2 ends.