The Azure Mediterranean
Trip Start Aug 08, 2006
36Trip End Oct 11, 2006
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Leaving the rolling hills of Umbria, Jana and I traveled down to the port town of Naples to see our friends again. The modern high speed Eurostar train took but 2 hours 30 minutes from Rome to this seaside town in southern Italy. While on the train, we met a young Optometrist from Sicily, who spoke of the beauty and "danger" of Naples. He related to us the extreme caution tourists had to take in order to survive the chaotic, carnivorous urbanized "jungle" of Italy's third largest metropolis.
However, it was all proven to be wrong. Maybe it was because of the joy of seeing all our friends again or the captivating beauty of the city on the azure Mediterranean, the charm of Naples was instantly contagious. Annalisa came to pick us up at Stazione Centrale, located in one of Naples' rough neighborhoods
We stayed with Annalisa and her roommate in one of Naples' attractive districts of Vomero, perched on the hillside overlooking Mt. Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples. In this neighborhood lined with narrow cobblestone streets, espresso bars, fashion boutiques, and pastel-colored Mediterranean houses, the quintessential image of Italy was very apparent. What was more special was how well we were taken care of by our hostess. She organized almost all of our daily social events and reunions with old friends.
At last, we also saw Luigi, Fabiana, Marco, Lucia, and Gabriella again. They took us around the bustling bars and lively social scenes of Naples where only locals were seen. One noticeable difference between the American and Italian social scenes was that the Italians liked to party on the street. In the bustling bar district of San Pasquale, most of the bars were relatively empty inside. Instead, almost everybody was standing shoulder to shoulder, drinking and chatting outside. The atmosphere felt like Carnival in Rio de Janeiro -- crowded, festive, dynamic, and energetic! We also had a chance to meet Marco's two very nice friends from Scotland, Ian and Sarala. Ian was doing his residency in Medicine in Scotland while Sarala was studying Anthropology in college. All together, we enjoyed some of Italy's best pizzas, pastas, coffee, wine, and la dolce vita that most tourists would never get a chance to experience.
One week in Naples was too short to fully catch up on old times. We would just have to get together more often.