Saturday, June 09, 2007

Off to Napoli we go!

Up bright and early on Sunday, May 20th, we headed for Milan's Centrale Stazione to board the train for Naples...or Napoli as it is known in Italy.

Centrale Stazione

The train station was completed in 1931 and was one of Benito Mussolini's favorite projects. He wanted it large and complex to represent the power of the fascist regime. The regime went down in flames but the station has endured.

We settled in for the six hour train ride. Meredith looked a little apprehensive about spending so much time on train.

By contrast, I enjoyed the chance to just sit still, knit, read, sleep and watch the gorgeous countryside roll by. We arrived in Naples in the early afternoon and headed for the hotel. I had booked a hotel near the train station to minimize the distance we would have to schlep our luggage. I soon realized that it was not exactly the best part of town. It was also very hot that day and we noticed towering piles of trash on every corner, as well as the pungent odor of decaying garbage. We picked our way through the mess and quickly found the hotel. The desk clerk was very cordial and apologized for the state of his city. We found out that the problem was that all of the landfills were full and the residents were blocking any attempts to open any new ones, a NIMBY situation (not in MY back yard!). They also don't believe in putting any recycling programs in place to cut down on the waste. It was truly a surreal sight, spilling garbage and litter underfoot everywhere. Since it was Sunday the shops and restaurants were closed and the only people out on the street seemed to be roving gangs of kids and shady characters sitting around playing cards, rolling dice and looking as if they were up to no good.

We had tickets to the Museum Archelogico so we set off to find it, keeping a close eye on our purses and avoiding eye contact with the locals. After a short walk (mostly uphill), we arrived more than a little wilted and "dewy" from the heat and humidity. The Museum had an amazing Egyptian collection and the collection we came to see, artifacts from Pompeii, our destination the next day. Here are some of the highlights from the museum:

Central Stairway

An Egyptian tombstone marker. I think this was the guy who invented "the wave."

They buried the mummies with cosmetics and spices, so they could impress the other mummies at inter-pyramid dinner parties.

Egyptian pyramid artifacts. They were companions for the afterlife. I would have preferred a dog...oh, wait, they provided those too!

A shrunken head from the Egyptian collection. I sure hope he was better looking in life, because he's not a real stunner in the afterlife.

Recipe for a mummy. "Start with one dead body..."

Do you suppose this was someone's post mortem portrait of their Uncle Achmed?

Someone got rowdy and started throwing the dinner plates so they had to piece this one back together. Those mummies can get pretty wild!

Rachel Ray would have REALLY bitched about having to use this kitchenware.

I don't even think Martha Stewart could have whipped up a gourmet meal with this stuff.

Model of Pompeii

Statuary recovered from Pompeii.

Roman era statues from Pompeii

Statues in the center courtyard of the museum. A wonderful respite from the smelly streets outside.

The central courtyard of the Museum.

A blurry picture of a Roman trophy from Pompeii. No flash was allowed in the museum so I needed to hold VERY VERY still to take these...not something I can do well.

We left the museum and walked around the center of the city for a bit. It had such a different energy than Milan, a rougher, earthier, more emotional feeling. We made our way back to the hotel and chose a restaurant a block away for dinner. It turned out to be a good choice, a down-to-earth family style place called Da Guiliani with amazing pizza that emerged from a unique tiled pizza oven that had obviously seen many years of service.

After dinner we went back to the hotel to rest up for an early train to Pompeii the next morning. The heat and the street noise made sleeping a little tough but a ceiling fan helped quite a bit.

Next post: Pompeii



Even with the garbage and street people = I would love to go there. I would have enjoyed that museum as well - Glad you made a great time of it! Anxiously awaiting the next installment! Sue

Busymom51 said...

Thanks for the comments, Sue! It's nice to know that someone is reading all of this drivel! :-)

Really hope to see you soon. SO glad to hear that you are feeling better!
Mary Ann

Anonymous said...

Kellie and I are reading and enjoying your posts, so keep them coming! -Karen M.

Busymom51 said...

Thanks, Karen and Kellie! Can't wait to hear about Argentina, Kellie!