Pompeii or bust!
08.11.2015 - 08.11.2015 24 °C
Well, there's nothing like a fast train to get you somewhere fast... as long as it's on time! I made sure I got to the station in plenty of time this morning because I didn't want to risk a rush for the train. Turned out, it was 20 minutes late getting in from Milan, so I had plenty of time to twiddle my thumbs - and have a coffee & something to eat.
The beast - up to 300km/h. Vroooommm!!
Got a look at Mt Vesuvius before even getting to Naples. The countryside is a lot different around here, compared to Tuscany, that's for sure.
Got into Naples after 2 1/2 hours which is amazing considering it takes about 3 times that by bus. Nothing much to say about Naples - it looks dirty and new, all at the same time. And the train station is nothing to write home about - especially downstairs where you have to take the Circumvesuviana local train to Pompeii. It's grubby and full of graffiti, and doesn't feel safe. I'd hate to have to be there in the evening. Figuring out which station to get off isn't easy either, as the station signs are often illegible with graffiti, or not in the right place. But I did make it, thank goodness.
My hotel is about 500m from the station, which is great. Check out the view on the way:
I'm staying at Villa Franca, which is more of a guest house, but had fabulous reviews on Expedia. It's old and needs work, but the people are really lovely. I think I'm the only one staying here.
Dominic, the owner's father, greeted me. He speaks little or no English, but we managed to communicate, thanks to my rusty French and "poco Italiano". He got me a very welcome cold beer when I arrived (it was hot here today), then fed me lunch. Antipasti first: toasted crostone topped with fresh tomato, cured ham wrapped around toothpicks and grilled & a slice of a crustless quiche thing. Nom, nom! And then came the best damn spaghetti with ragu - the tastiest pasta meal I've had here. Then I just sat in the sun for a couple of hours - nodded off once or twice! It's quieter than Florence, could even hear birds singing, despite the train coming through every 30 mins - oh, and the hotel is right next to the tracks but the trains stop before bedtime thankfully!
You'll be wondering why I didn't rush off to see the ruins. I'm leaving that until tomorrow, when I have a full day to make the most of it all. I did head down the road for a bit of a walk to check things out, and could see some of the ruins from the road - could hardly contain my excitement!
Tomorrow morning I'm going to do the Busvia Vesuviano tour, which is in a 4x4 unimog-type vehicle that goes up Vesuvius to 300m from the top, and then you climb the rest of the way & check out the crater - and the view across the Bay of Naples. Then when it comes back I'll go into Pompeii ruins & while away the rest of the day there.