Napoli - Just as we left it!!


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Europe » Italy » Campania » Naples
October 15th 2011
Published: June 26th 2017
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Our first morning aboard ship. We decided to take breakfast in the restaurant, an alternative to the self-service buffet 'Le Bistrot' on deck 11. The reason for this decision was 2 fold. Firstly our cabin is on deck 7 and the restaurant is immediately below on deck 6!! Secondly, with having a waiter service breakfast, the portions are calorie controlled. Not because the food served is any healthier than the buffet but because you are given ‘normal'portions and not ‘its free so I'm having it' type portions you would give yourself at the buffet style breakfast.

For some reason, the waiters always start talking to us in German and, despite answering in English, they continue to reply in German and, as was the case this morning, showed us to a table with German guests sitting there. We just smiled and nodded politely. They did the same but in a German manner. I don't mean that the man stood up and clicked his heels but offered a ‘Guten morgen. Wie geht's?' and then continued talking to his wife before I could reply, ‘Ich geht's very well, Danke, mein Kampf!!!'

The ship was due to dock in Naples at 1pm. We had been in sight of land for some time before we ventured out on deck at 10:30. We were met by a bracing wind. Not what we expected after the pleasant weather of the past few days. We passed the island of Ischia and turned in to the Bay of Naples that is dominated by one of the most famous volcanoes on earth, Mount Vesuvius.

Naples gets its name from the Greek Neápolis meaning new city despite being founded in the 6th century BC making it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

Before going ashore, we took lunch once again in the resturant and once again in the company of German speakers. However, this time they were keen to practice their English. We learned that they were a couple from Salzburg. We talked at length about the cruise and how it was a shame that we were not scheduled to land in Egypt as per the original itinerary but Heraklion, Crete instead. This lead us on to talk about a Nile cruise Mr and Mrs ‘Salzburg' had been on last year. In turn they then spoke about the trip to Egypt that included a visit to El Allemein (I bet you can see where this is leading!!!), Next thing we knew they were apologising for the behaviour of Rommel but said that the outcome of the North African campaign was probably for the best. It was the fact that he used the wordProbably'!!! I felt like adding, ‘Oh yes! Lets see! What was the Austrian contribution to the Second World War again??!! We decided that it was ‘probably' for the best that we steered the conversation away from the road it was heading down and brought it back to Mozart and the Sound of Music. Roisin gave me a timely kick under the table as I was about to leave them with a parting remark: ‘Oh, by the way! Just remind me who were the von Trapp family escaping from??!!'

The MSC Lirica berthed at the Statione Marittima only a few hundred yards from Castel Nuovo. It was still quite windy when we left the vessel and were now glad that we hadn't booked on either tours to Mount Vesuvius or Pompeii. Both are very open to the elements and so we felt it would be difficult to appreciate their true amazementness (is that even a word??!!). Instead we had planned out a few sights to visit that neither of us had been to during our last time in this city.

Our first stop was to Napoli Duomo (the cathedral). Whilst still a striking building it is not at all how I expected the main church in Naples to appear. It is very clean and white looking but instead of dominating a Piazza like other Italian cathedrals we have visited (Milan and Florence to name but two), this was stuck up a side street as if it was an after thought!! The cathedral was closed so after a few photos to mark the occasion we headed down via Tribunali is search of the Basilica of san Lorenzo Maggiore. Despite the name, I assured Roisin that San Lorenzo had nothing to do with the making of a film or any kind of oil. (cooking, motor or otherwise!!!) There has been a basilica on the grounds since 533 AD. With the arrival of the Angevin, the basilica was destroyed and in its place was rebuilt in the French gothic style. This dates back to 1270 where it became a monestry for the Grey Friars.

The Chapter House, believe it or not, takes its name from the ‘Chap' or the Friar assembly who where nominated before taking up their most esteemed position.

The highlight of this attraction is the excavation of Roman ruins on which the basilica is built. The tour takes you to a world of ancent Rome where there is evidence of a Roman road and an array of shops such as bakery, laundry, winery that once animated it.

Via Tribunali is a narrow street that can become quite crowded like many of the streets in Naples. There are many motor bikes and scooters roaming the streets and it is easy to see why people get paranoid about approaching locals especially if the bike is carrying a passenger. A few hundred yards further on, we came across a church that seemed to translate as ‘the Church of Purgatory for lost souls'!! At the foot of the steps to the entrance were a couple of plinths with a skull and cross bones atop each one. Never one to give up a geat photo opportunity, I thought, ‘I wonder what one of the skulls will look like with my San Francisco baseball cap adorning its bonce!!' I re-read the notice and after being certain there was no curse attached to those mortals brandishing peaked heatwear decided to take the risk. In for a penny…and all that!!!

After another half mile or so, we arrived at Piazza Gesú, or as Homer would say (the cartoon character not the Greek philosopher!), Jeebus Square!!

Heading down via Toledo we crossed over Piazza Municipio and then to our ultimate destination, Piazza Trieste e Trento. We had almost come full circle. A route of about 3 miles. The reaon for aiming for this particular Square is the coffee and cake shop, Gambrinus. During our last trip to Naples in 2005, Roisin and I often frequented this establishment as our hotel, Plebiscito Due, was 2 doors away in a converted palace and thought it would be fun to revisit an old hunting ground.

After suitable refreshments, we strolled across Piazza Plebiscito and around behind Castel Nuovo before picking up the quayside once more and back to the ship for a well deserved rest.

The ship was due to set sail at 6pm but didn't actually get going until around 6:30. We watched the ship depart from the aft deck near our cabin. The sun had gone down by this time and so had the temperature. The only thing that had remained constant for the whole day was the wind.

As the ship picked up speed, there was a distinct listing of the ship by, ooh must have been at least 10 degrees, which by coincidence, must have also been the temperature at this time.

We took in our first show of this cruise in the Broadway Theatre. The show was introduced by the cruise director Alessandro or as the tannoy announce him earlier this day, ‘the Great Alessandro'. They made him sound like a novelty escape artist!! The show was entitled ‘Napoli Extravaganza'. It was a mixture of Soprano, Baritone and Tenors singing (I assume as it was all in Italian) about the trials and tribulations of Neapolitan Life. To be honest, it was a little depressing until the finale when they sang such classics as ‘O sole meo', ‘Funiculi, funicular' and who can forget that timeless classic, ‘Santa Lucia'!!

This evening there were people sat at our dinner table!! Mike and Myra. They live in Wavertree, Liverpool. The world is definitely getting smaller as they only live about 10km from us!! He supports LFC and she works in Asda!!! We found we have a lot in common. I also support LFC and Roisin shops at Asda!!

We were looking forward to the entertainment in the Lirica Lounge after dinner. It was a Beatles quiz. However, just as well we kept near the back of the room as the format went something like this: The entertainment team played a song by the Beatles most of the way through. As soon as you recognised the tune, you had to run down and sit in a chair at the front of the stage and after some small talk with the MC, you gave your answer then, if you were right, the song would be played once again and you had to dance with one of the entertainment team before getting your prize.

It was entertaining (as long as I remained entertained and not become part of the entertainment!) The highlight of the evening was when the 4th song began to blast out…'Yesterday…' A French (or Swiss) lady rushed down. Looking proud of herself she blurted, ‘Michelle!!! All the titles were ‘no brainers' unless you were French (or possibly Swiss!!)

Tomorrow is a day at sea before we arrive at the Cretan port of Heraklion. Hopefully a day will be spent on deck, if that wind ever abates!


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16th October 2011

that's an outstanding sight! lucky you don't want that effect in the front room back home..
17th October 2011

Chris, hilarious but informative as always - we've been chuckling away about Mr and Mrs Saltzburg. Looking forward to the next instalment - oh and we went on a cruise on Saturday but ours was on Windermere!
17th October 2011

Really enjoying the Blog and the fab photos so far Chris & Roisin. Looks like you're having a great time. What's the chances of sharing a table with a couple from Liverpool?! Us Scousers are every flippin' where!!! :0)
18th October 2011

I'm enjoying your blog. I think I will stick with Princess cruises and people who speak english!

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