02.10.2010 - 04.10.2010 24 °C
We arrived in Naples at 10:00 on Friday night from Rome and made our way to our hotel (Piazza Bellini which was down the street from the Archaeological Museum). Mind you we had quite the adventure on the train getting to Naples. We were on a Regional Train from Assisi to Rome which makes several stops along the way. Our ticket does not indicate the various stops, it just states Assisi – Rome. Our ticket indicated we were 2 hours away from Rome, so we put on the headphones and settled in to watch a movie (Star Trek). When we got close to the 2 hours, the train buzzer rang which indicates the announcement of the next station. We heard Roma (something). We thought it was Roma Termini. So we packed up to get off the train. When we arrived at the station, it was a small terminal with limited train tracks. I said to Darwin that I did not think we were at the right station. There were not alot of tracks and no one else was getting off. So last minute we jumped back on the train and hoped we made the right decision. If we did not, we would not make the connection to Naples. Five minutes later we heard the buzzer again and it indicated we were arriving at Rome Termini. So we did indeed make the right decision. It was tense for a few minutes and a good lesson learned – know the different stops along your route so you know when to get off the train. What we also learned was just like a subway, the train line advertised, is the end of a line. So Rome Termini is the last stop on the route. So we should have known to stay on the train until the end of the line. When we switched trains to Naples, we discovered the same thing – did Naples have more than one train station. So we listened for the announcement to indicate we were at the end of the line, so we knew it was time to get off.
We made it to our room and decided not to go out for the night, but stayed in, downloaded some photos and went to bed reasonably early.
Got up and enjoyed breakfast at our boutique hotel (highly recommended for price and location to Museum). We walked around the block for an hour and then met Dwayne back at our hotel. It was weird meeting him in Italy.... and it was like hey Dude how ya doing.... Off to the Museum we went. Inside is a spectacular collection of Roman Statuary...from Julius Caesar to Homer and Aphrodite to Hercules. Original works on display that have been taken from Pompeii and other historic sites to preserve their conditions. We were in awe for three hours touring around.
One exhibit that was not open was the erotic frescos that depicted “pictoral menus” that were on display at the brothels in Pompeii.
We left the Museum and walked along Via di Toledo and arrived at Pallazo Reale, one of the old areas of Napoli. Here we found the opera house and Royal Palace. We had Drinks at Grimbalis and watched three different wedding photographers in the square. The architecture of this area was beautiful but Naples really is a dirty city. Darwin quite enjoyed the City and actually rated it higher than Venice but Dwayne and I both had it on our list of Cities not to return to.
Then it was off to find Pizzaria da Michele (Eat Pray Love). The line up was at least 1 hour to get an original Marguerita Pizza. We walked inside and I thought we had one of 5 tables but the waiter asked me for my number and then kicked me out to let someone else take our place. I would have loved to have my first Italian pizza in this place, but timing did not work. So we walked to another recommendation from our hotel. We could not find this location either, so ended up ordering a quick take out pizza. It was disappointing but we could still claim that we had marguerite pizza in Napoli. As we walked back to our hotel, we finally found the other restaurant the hotel recommended as the best pizza in Napoli but it too was lined up.
Off it was to the train station so we could meet our driver. He then took us to the airport so we could meet Kim, Kevin and Lori. We had a quick drink at the outside bar and then proceeded to make our way to Piano di Sorrento. This was about an hour and half drive. We stopped at a local supermacardo (grocery store) and stalked up on wine, beer and some snacks for the villa. By the time we reached our villa, it was 7:30 (dark). Our driver had to drive down a steep road, get a car moved out of the way and then we finally reached our destination. We took a tour of the place in the dark and was amazed at our location. The villa had to be at least 1000 ft long, stretching into the Amalfi Coast caves. It was unbelievable but it was so dark we could not really get the concept of the villa. We had a few drinks and then off to bed.
We awoke the next morning and explored our villa. Wow and unbelievable was all we could say. We could not believe this place went on forever... we had the main house, pool area, private reading places, bar, thinking place and even our own gardens and chicken coop. We pick up fresh chicken eggs (5) and some lemons every morning and bring back to our kitchen.
We ordered a vehicle for the week, but it did not arrive, so we enjoyed our pool for the afternoon and kicked back for a day of relaxation. Venchenzio (owner of villa) arrived to give us an overview of tours we could book. We asked if there was a possibility of going to a local restaurant for dinner. He made a call and indicated that Luigi would pick us up at 8:00 in two trips and take us to his family restaurant (Il Panorama). We arrived at this little restaurant with a great view. We had a cocktail outside and then went in for a great meal. We asked Luigi if we could order several dishes and split amongst the four of us (Darwin and Dwayne did NOT want to share with us). So we had the following:
Proschuitto, mozzarella, melon
spaghetilli with porcini mushrooms
veal with mushrooms
It was AMAZING. The family was so nice. Maria, the daughter ended up picking us up. The other daughter was our bartender. Christina, the wife was our cook for night. We also got served a couple local treats – a beef dish that was the cheek of the cow(not my favourite) and french fries that had chilli pepper powder on them. They were hot but quite good.
So then we had to try a lemon cake and chocolate desert with lemoncello. Yep, it too was delicious. Frozen lemoncello was YUMMY. Can you believe the owner of the restaurant arranges to pick us up and take us to his restaurant. Where would you find this in Canada!
Up early and off to Pompeii. We had a great driver – Salvatore who spoke fluent English. He used to live in NYC but has returned to his home town of Sorrento and is now a guide, cooking school tour, wedding planner, boat charterer etc....one stop shopping for the Amalfi coast with him. Our actual guide at Pompeii was also good. We spent two hours wandering the ruins. What a magnificent place. To see an actual town still partially in tact was quite amazing.
Darwin was in his glory figuring out the architectural design of the area, including their water system. The rest of us enjoyed the brothel. For a town of 20,000 there were 84 restaurants (fast food style like McDonald`s) and 23 brothels. Sailors arriving to this area would not know how to get to the brothel, so they needed a sign. Since there were no street signs back then, here`s what they did....... a large stone penis is situated on the main entrance street and it`s positioned in the direction of the brothels. Sailors would look for this advertisement and then follow the direction of the penis.....I`m not kidding. So our modern day GPS existed back then....but it was called Giant Penis System...
Back to our villa for some afternoon sun. Darwin cooked up some fabulous clay pot chickens in our outdoor pizza oven. They were DELICIOUS. For a group who was not that hungry, the two chickens did not last very long. He stuffed them with small tomatoes and basil. Some more cocktails in our bar and it was a fairly early night for a change. We are off to a mozzarella tasting in the morning.