Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii, Herculeum, Mount Vesuvius, Salerno


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Europe » Italy » Campania » Naples
September 9th 2010
Published: September 24th 2010
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On arrival in Naples after the 2 hour train journey from Rome I was feeling particularly grumpy. Confused by the stupid ticketing system at the train station and being paranoid about getting fined after my experience in Florence I was getting more and more pissed off, but eventually got a metro ticket and validated the bugger. I soon realised I didn't even need a metro ticket because my interrail pass covered it for that day! Grrr always the way eh! And the ticket was now useless because I had validated it for that day so it would be no good for tomorrow or the day after. Oh well never mind. Had a bit of trouble finding the hostel but thanks to a Korean guy I found it eventually! Me and the hostel manager had words because he had not replied to ANY of my emails regarding my wanting to change my reservation. He told me I shouldn't have emailed, and I said well when you put TWO email addresses to contact you on, I expect to be able to communicate via those email addresses...not the best start. He also tried to tell me it was too late to go to Sorrento
one cool sculpture one cool sculpture one cool sculpture

at least I hope it's a sculpture
(it was about midday - not too late at all) but I was determined to get some use out of my interrail pass as nobody had checked it on the way from Rome to Naples! I did not like being spoken to like a child by this man, and off I went back to the train station to go to Sorrento.

Ok Sorrento isn't the best. Its got a great view of Mount Vesuvius but to be honest I felt like I was on a old people's home's day out the place was heaving with English and American tourists and tackiness, and the view, as I was to find out tomorrow, was the same as what I could see from Naples. I can see why people come here - its a pretty town but it lacks anything special and attractions, so an hour here was long enough for me. But I'm glad I came because it made my day busy and I heard from a guy in my Florence dorm that Sorrento was way better than Naples...I have learnt that you should never listen to other people and just do what you want. I almost cancelled my Naples hostel reservation and stayed in Sorrento because of his opinions but so glad I didn't!

The following day I went by myself up to Castel Sant'Elmo. It was quite a hike! I was sweating profusely by the time I made it to the top, and it was a very interesting walk through Mafia territory which the hostel manager warned us to stay away from (i like danger 😊) up a dirty stone weed and dog shit strewn stair case. The panoramic views from the top of the castel were stunning! Despite not being that much into art, I really enjoyed the art gallery in the Castle I loved the more modern artwork and the sculptures.

I then went back to the hostel where I found a lovely girl I met in the hostel called Jennie who was pissed off as the trains were on strike so she couldn't go to Caserta to the palace there, so we instead explored Naples together. We went on a route that took us to all the main sights. First was the Duomo which houses a vial of the blood of Saint Januarius which is brought out twice a year, when the dried blood
Caserta PalaceCaserta PalaceCaserta Palace

from a distance
usually liquefies. If the blood fails to liquefy, then legend has it that disaster will befall Naples. Next was the 'Christmas street where it is always Christmas every day of the year. It is easily one of the prettiest of Naples' streets. Next was Castel Nuovo which Jen went into free with her art card, but I didn't wanna pay so I just waited outside. Then we went to Piazza del Plebiscito which was so big! It's elegance and poverty blended with graffiti covering the central statue and the pillars of the church of San Francesco di Paola. We then walked towards the port, and onwards to Castel D'Oro which is the oldest castle in Naples and had fab views over the sea to Mount Vesuvius. My feet were throbbing by the end of the day, and me and 6 others from the hostel went for pizza.

The next day me, Jen, an aussie called Chris and a brazillian called Tatiana went to Herculeum, to the top of Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii (see pics) It was another beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky 😊

The next day I went to Caserta to see the royal palace there which is a UNESCO world heritage site, and quite rightly so! Another burning hot day the gardens were stunning, and the palace was just lovely. I liked how it's more off the tourist radar than other things around Naples. It's very popular with Italians for days out and there were a lot of them! It's a great place to go with your partner or have a picnic, or take your bike and ride around the grounds (which are huge - 8km squared). I saw a few joggers there and thought how lucky they were to have such beautiful surroundings to excerise in. Would have been great if I had a bike I could have spent all day there. The palace was used as a set in Mission Impossible 3, two Star Wars films and Angels and Demons.

On my final day in Naples, I decided to go to the Amalfi coast. However, I only made it as far as Salerno which is an uninspiring town on the coast, and lay on the tiny beach for a bit and bronzed. A little bit disappointed about not going to Amalfi, but Taormina in Sicily a few days later more
Fab artFab artFab art

in the gallery at the top of Castel Sant'Elmo
than made up for that, plus I heard off a local that Amalfi aint all that!

Back at the hostel, me and Jen waited for our 22:50 night train to Palermo.




Additional photos below
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Castel Sant'Elmo
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seen from Sorrento


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