Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Euro Trip : Napoli (redeeming features)

One of Napolis redeeming features is it's food, and specifically La Brace, which is just around the corner from the hotel. I did read that you would have to go out of your way to find bad food, or simply stop at the first McDonalds you see from the termini. Regardless, La Brace came through for us on our first Sunday night in Napoli, and after having eaten at a couple of places were the menu changes when you sit down, or not everything is available (no pizza at a pizzeria!), it has saved us again after a full day of wandering the Italian country side.

So, the wandering...

Well, first we rewind one day. Yesterday was an organized tour of old Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius. Very nice, quite safe, except for those high winds at the top of the mountain. All in all, a no risk day.

However, today was the "choose your own adventure" day, in which there was a general plan to visit some Greek ruins and the Amalfi Coast. So, we took a train down to Salerno, courtesy of our Eurorail pass. Then jumped on a bus heading out to Paestum, the location of some Greek ruins. It was already a bit cloudy, but after we jumped on the bus, it started pissing down. Oh well, there's no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing (that's a mantra useful on most occasions, except hurricanes). The rain toned down a bit, by the time we hit Paestum, but rain coats and brollies were handy.

After a wander through the museo and the ruins, and a quick bite to eat at a pizzeria with no pizza, we decided the rain was too much to make the bus ride to the Amalfi worth it. Besides, we had to make it back to Salerno first!

We learned two things, which ended up being one thing, before our journey back to Salerno was done.

The first was that train tickets are not always available from the train station. We didn't initially plan to return via train, but it was an option one trying to board one bus didn't quite go to plan. "Back" was the word, and we thought that meant "catch the bus from the other side of the road". Turns out, not so much, but we decided to try for the train station instead, where a sign welcomed us to buy tickets from a bar, a tobacconist or some other corner shop.

After one more bus going passed was able to confirm that we were standing on the right side of the road all along, we were finally informed by the next bus driver that we could not buy bus tickets on the bus. He was good enough to stop at the next available and open bar, for us to buy our tickets, and waited for us to run back. Our first bus out to Paestum must have been with a different operator that did take payment on the bus.

Bus tickets seem to be purchased for journey time, rather than the journey itself. Luckily, they're fairly cheap, with 140 minutes of travel, only costing €3.

By the time we got back to Salerno, any attempt to make it to Amalfi would have us arriving after dark. A bit of a pity, since the rain had cleared up quite a lot, and the sun was in full shine while we sat outside the train station, waiting for the next bus to Salerno.

Tomorrow, Florence.

Apologies to Facebook commanders commenters. I'm doing everything via iPhone, at  the moment (and burning through the souls of innocent kittens while doing so, apparently), and the Facebook app doesn't let me view comments on notes. Maybe I'll pull my finger out and look up the  comments via Safari.

Updated for formatting - 25/11/2010

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