Cart and I were invited to a friend’s wedding in Capri in mid-July. We’ve previously been there before via a long road trip through Sorrento. But this time round, Cart wanted to take the train all the way to Napoli, spend the night there, and then take the ferry the next day.
The day when we departed, was such a busy day – deciding what to bring along, to pack and I hated leaving the house messy so I had to do a quick tidying up, breakfast, and then we had to send our friend Jerrick spent his one week vacation with us, to the airport.
That’s Jerrick by the way, posing with Cart’s car which was in the extremely rare clean state, that I HAD to take a picture of it.
Cart decided to go and find some new shoes for the wedding. I took the opportunity to ask him to get new ones for myself too, since I was on the lookout for a pair of walking shoes. And I found this.
t’s a sketchers biker sightsee model and it was on sale and I think it’s one of the best walking shoe that I’ve ever worn because I can walk in these for hours and not feel pain.
Cart decided to also search for a jacket to wear for the wedding and we went to a couple of shops but I was balking at the thought of spending over 200 euro (even after sale) for an item that would only be used only once and I was secretly happy when all of the shops didn’t stock in Cart’s size.
So we went over to crash at Cart’s parent’s place to gather our thoughts for a bit (they lived relatively near the train station) before we said our goodbyes to each other.
As always, the termini train station was bustling with activity each time I was there. People coming, people going. Most of them lugging around their trolleys.
Cart went into one of newspaper stands to get a ticket and he bought for us a regional train ticket.
I was surprised at how cheap it was. It was cheaper than taking a train from the now defunct Keppel station in Singapore to Kuala Lumpur even. Before looking at the trenitalia website, I’ve always assumed that the cheapest ticket would cost at least 20 euro.
However the catch was, between the three trains – Frecciarossa, Intercity and Regionali, the regionali was the slowest version of all. It took us about 2 and a half hours to reach Napoli because it stops at each station along the way, as compared to Frecciarossa, which goes there directly and takes less than half the time.
Nevertheless, this wasn’t such a big issue for me because this way, I was able to appreciate the scenery at a slower pace. I looked out of the window as the sceneries changed, going past the metropolitan Rome, then slowly to the suburbs and then the vast farm areas and then the mountains.
Cart, being a seasoned train-traveller, rather than looking outside the window, amused himself by playing angry birds which happened to decide to update itself on that very day. Look at how pleased Cart looks, showing off his latest download.
At length, I saw the scenery change again, from mountains, to farms to suburbs and finally urban and finally we’ve reached the Napoli Centrale train station! So exciting!
Even though the train station looked exactly the same as the one in termini, the vibe and feel was different though. I think living in Rome after 2 and a half years has discerned me to different dialects. Napoli accent is completely different to Roman ones! I had to sharpen my ears to try to understand the conversations going around me.
Cart and I looked for our hotel which was just a few minutes walking distance from the train station and during our walk, it was sad to see that Napoli still had their garbage issues still going on.
Nevertheless, I fell in love with how charming Napoli was. Like, when we reached the traffic light, there were so many people on scooters. I think there were at least 20 with the cars behind them all honking. Neapolitans drivers honk all the time. Even when the light is green. Cart tells me that they were not honking to be rude, but letting other people know, “Hey, I’m coming! Becareful!”
Speaking of Napoli, before he left, Jerrick asked me if “Va fa Napoli” was a bad word as he watched this scene from Friends where Joey said it like it was a bad word.
Possibly it started an Italian curse, vaffanculo (no, I’m not going to translate this for you) but then changed their mind in the end.
Another thing which was interesting to see that a lot of people on scooters did not wear helmets at all! I thought that this was an anomaly, but practically one in two riders that I spotted out did not wear helmets. Possibly to show off their nice hair styles.
One lady in particular with long hair behind her, untied. Being an experienced rider myself, I did not envy her having to comb her tangly hair at the end of her ride.
Another aspect of Napoli which I thought was extremely charming was how very kind the people there were. Yeah, Central Napoli was known to be a seedy place with plenty of snatch-thieves, nevertheless whenever Cart and I paused for a while to look for directions, there will always be someone who will come over to help. Without us even asking. I find that extremely refreshing.
Soon, we reached our hotel, and checked into the Mercure Napoli Garibaldi and rested a while after our long train journey.
When we went into our room, it looked pretty spartan but still sufficient. I didn’t like how the bed was creaky at the slightest touch and that the carpet were in dire need of a good shampooing. I didn’t dare to walk barefooted here.
The important thing was that everything was functioning just fine. The TV was functioning, the shower and sink were functioning, the electricity was functioning and we had a safe place to spend the night.
It was decent enough. I mean, what would you expect for 49 euro? A five star hotel? Moreover, it was pretty close to the train station, so the pros outweighs the cons.
Plus they had really nice toiletries.
But I don’t really recommend this hotel for visitors staying for 3 or more days.
It was nearly 10 pm when we stepped out of the hotel to get some dinner. We were adviced by the helpful receptionist downstairs to go to the Pizzeria da Michele, which according to her is a very famous pizzeria.
Pizza! Of course! Us being in Napoli, the birthplace of pizza.
According to my friend Elaine who has been to Napoli some years back, Da Michele used to have only one kind – the Margherita. There are two kinds now with the addition of the Marinara. It was amazing to have a pizzeria serve only two kinds.
So we headed there but never did we expect to see so many waiting people.
It was past 10 pm, way past regular dinner time. We went inside anyway, and I looked around the nondescript small area with plain tables and furnishings but completely full of people eating with gusto. We asked the server inside to ask how long would he estimate for an empty table. He replied … “45 minutes”
We weren’t willing to wait that long, so we went across the road to Pizzeria Trianon, which according to the hotel receptionist, was just as good. It was a simple and rustic looking place, nevertheless it was very cozy.
And then I looked at the menu and was really amused. Pizza alla Romana!
In Rome, a pizza with tomato, mozzarella, anchovies and basil leaves is called the Pizza Napoletana. However in Napoli, it’s called a Pizza Romana instead! I had to order this.
And so, while waiting for our pizza to be done, I went to watch the pizzaioli as they made the pizza.
And after some minutes, our pizza was done! Here is Cart’s Pizza Margherita DOP pizza which uses only regional ingredients.
And here was my pizza! It was really, really really good. As much I love my Roman style pizza, this one was really wonderful with the soft chewy pizza, moist but not soaking sauce and fresh toppings.
It was so good that I couldn’t help but to grin after eating it. I missed Napoli style pizza for at least a good one week after we left.
And look at how happy Cart looked like. We were both very happy people at the end of our dinner.
And after our wonderful pizza, we went back to the hotel to sleep before heading to the port in the morning! To end this post, I’ll put up this picture of a confused shop.
Next : A wedding in Capri