Thursday, October 7, 2010

An uneasy peace!!

On Tuesday, Michael didn’t have to be at work until 1:00 so we decided to go out for a walk around Naples with plans to head to the Archaeology Museum to see some of the Pompeii relics. 

We had been given advice that we needed to be careful of what areas we walked in and also that we shouldn’t flash fancy jewelry or cameras.  With this in our mind, we started walking, both very uncomfortable with the surroundings.

We made it to the museum to find out that it was closed on Tuesdays so we decided to head to the Duomo instead.  As we walked, we ended up on increasingly smaller streets and became more uncomfortable being there.  We were told after the fact that it was fine to be there during the day, but just not at night.

We did see a couple of interesting things.  One was a house doorway that contained a HUGE (room size) nativity scene with 50+ characters in it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t feel comfortable taking a photo of it.  Apparently, there is an area of Naples where craftsmen carve these wonderful figures and I expect that this display was of some of those works.

We saw a group of men working on one of the cobblestone roads, using picks to remove the old stones and replace them with new ones.  It seemed incongruous that  there were such things as NEW cobblestones….in my mind they are all really OLD!!!

We laughed at the names that we saw and heard people say….there was Guido,  Luigi and Mo-Mo……REALLY!!

We had also been warned that drivers would not stop for pedestrians the way they did in Rome and that we needed to be sure to make eye contact with the driver before crossing.  We had previously had the “Roman Stare”…..now we have the “Naples Glare”!!!  It makes me feel like I am being rude, but it sure seems to work, although it doesn’t stop the motorcycles from driving on the sidewalks!!!!

We enjoyed some of the street scenes and did feel comfortable taking this photo, loving the wash hanging out on the lines….

_A050213 

The bottom line is that we never did find the Duomo and finally just decided to make our way back to the hotel.  My impression of Naples at this point was NOT good.  I felt that it was a dirty, un-fun city to be in.

When Michael left for work, I decided that I was not going to let Naples defeat me, so I went out again, this time planning to walk along one of the main shopping areas.

I was still uncomfortable with carrying my camera so I left it in my purse and would pull it out to take a photo, but this was too much hassle.  Eventually I started holding it in one hand and covering it with my purse.  Finally, I bought a couple of shirts and received a handled paper bag to hold the purchase, so I ended up putting my camera in that bag so that I could grab it out quickly, take a photo, and return it to the bag with a minimum of flourish.

I found a local supermarket and enjoyed walking inside to see how it differed from Rome.  The biggest difference was in the price.  In Rome we had paid .79 Euro for a candy bar where the same one sold for .32 Euro in Naples!!!  It looked to me that most things were equally priced.

I enjoyed watching the unauthorized vendors along the street.  They all have ingenious systems for displaying their wares, and equally ingenious ways for moving quickly when the local Carbinerie (police car)  shows up.  I was especially amused by the vendors who were using strollers and baby prams to display their goods.  They would place boards across the top of the pram and hang stuff all over the strollers and then simply push their store down the street.

I loved looking up the various side streets, each lined with 6 story apartment buildings….

_A050242 _A050235_A050238  And, at home when we move, we hire “Two Men and a Truck”.  Here it is “Four Men and a Climbing Ladder Thingie”.  I watched as four guys worked to unload a truck full of belongings and transport them to a fourth floor apartment.  No climbing stairs for these guys…..two would unload the boxes, chairs, etc from the truck and place them on the platform.  They would start the elevator and the platform would rise to the terrace of the apartment and two more men would pull them off of the platform and move them into the apartment.  It is not a completely fail-safe operation as I did see one small box drop from the platform and land on the street below…..

_A050240 I really wanted to wait and watch them send up the refrigerator but was afraid that it might be a dangerous thing to do!!!!   The ladder also had two more extensions that could have been used for moving into a SIXTH floor apartment!!

I came to a large piazza and found a mini St. Peter’s square…..

_A050225 ….although much of it was covered with graffiti…..

_A050221

There was also this cool door……the only part that opens is the little door outlined in white.  You can see the scale by the people walking past….

_A050241…it was so short that even Italians would have to stoop to get thru it!!!

So, by the time that Michael returned from working, I had made peace with Naples.  It is still not my favorite city, but I am at least comfortable to tour around in the next few days!!!

Michael and I were left by ourselves for dinner and neither of us wanted to eat as late as most Neapolitans do, so we went out about 5:00 looking for a restaurant.  We found one that was open but the kitchen was closed so they could only make pizza, so pizza it was…..

_A050246 I good day with a great ending……

1 comment:

Alane said...

Can't wait for you to show us your "Roman Stare/Naples Glare"! The mini-door in the huge doorway brought back memories of a shoe store in the town I grew up in; it had a regular door for adults and a miniature door which kids could enter through--very cool!

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