Posted on 18-07-2007
Filed Under (Italy) by admin

Our next stay would be in Portici, just outside Naples, which we were planning to use as a hub to get to Capri & Pompei. Naples (Napoli) itself is known to be a pretty bad city, rich in mob crime. So, arriving there at just after 11:00, when the last train left, was awesome. We hadn’t planned on this at all, but the train we were going to take was an hour late, so we took a direct train instead, which was then late itself.

There was supposedly a late bus to Portici, so after leaving the train station we began searching for a bus station. But, only seconds later we were ambushed by taxi drivers looking for their next fare. One, in particular, took a liking to us. He was pressuring us more and more towards his car as we kept reiterating that we were looking only for a bus. Eventually he pointed, “Yes, yes, there, bus.”

We looked and saw a trashy bus stop, having no clue what bus to take or where to get tickets. We scoured the map posted but got nothing from it, and retreated to the sidewalk to rethink things. Out of no where came a guy who saw we were a bit confused and offered to help. He was wearing a teal button down shirt, that was unbuttoned. He spoke great English, but things seemed a bit sketchy. He saw we had a paper with the number of our hostel, so he took out his phone and tried calling them.

At about this time a small cart drove by with a bunch of guys in the same teal button down shirts, and I realized it was the uniform of staff at the train station. Just as I started feeling a bit better about things, since our guy seemed somewhat legit, the taxi driver (who, to be honest, didn’t even seem to be a legit taxi driver) came back around. He offered to take us to Portici (a 30 km drive) for 60 euro, which seemed crazy.

But, our guy, who I found out was from Missouri, said that was a pretty decent deal for a cab ride at this time of night… And even if there was a bus that would take us, it wouldn’t be very safe. But, I didn’t feel safe with this crazy taxi driver either so it was a bit of a toss up. We really just wanted to get the hell to Portici, though, so we got the driver down to 50 euro, and headed to his unmarked, black Fiat.

We threw our bags in the trunk and all packed in the back seat. He insisted that someone sit upfront with him, though, so I got out and nervously got in with him. He was tough to read… Was he offended we were afraid to sit next to him? Did he want us to be as comfortable as possible? Or did he want to chop us into bits? Time would tell.

Everytime we would tell him about Portici, he would ramble on about Via Liberta and some Piazza Maria. 20 minutes later, it made sense when he dropped us off at Piazza maria and poined towards Via Liberta, which met up with the road to our hostel. The ride itself was pretty intense, I assumed he was trying to break some sort of speed record or something, so when we hopped out of the car, I felt lucky to be alive on several accounts.

We made our way up to the hostel, checked-in, and quickly passed out; it felt great.

I woke up the next morning and took my fourth shower of the trip, which felt great… Actually, it was the only shower in my life that I felt I really needed. After going a few days without a shower, and then taking an all day bike tour, I’d really never felt so dirty in my life.

We only had a day and a half in the Napoli area, so during our previous lunch we asked Nicole, from the bike tour, which she thought needed a full day, and which would be ok for just half a day. She said Capri definitely needed a full day, so we decided that’s what we would do today.

We headed out at about 10, and found a supermarket where we picked up some bread, mozarella, and some sort of meat… The butcher didn’t speak English, so a woman helped us and the conversation went something like this:

“Uhhmm.. Turkey?”

“Uh.. Nooo… no turkey… ham?”


“Chicken? Pouls? You want pouls?”

“Sure, that would be great!”

“Nooo, we don’t have pouls.”


Eventually we went with something that was, “Like pouls.”, wondering what type of meat they would be selling that is not Turkey, but like chicken. Either way, it looked pretty decent, so I was excited to give it a try.

We then headed towards the train station, and hopped on a train to Sorrento, where we would take a ferry to Capri. As we got on the train, we asked a man hopping on, “Sorrento?”. He said, “Yes, yes.”, and stood somewhat close to us, looking towards the train cabin… The train was pretty full. After a few minutes of standing, he looked over to us and pointed to 3 seats left in the train cabin. “I not going far…Sorrento, long ride, please sit.” I don’t think I will ever get used to the random acts of generosity that seems so normal here.

We finally made it to the ferry, which was actually quite huge, and 30 minutes later stepped onto Capri. We made sandwiches on the ferry, and the meat turned out to be an interesting sausage-tasting meat. The mozzarella was incredible, and the sandwich overall was very good.

When we finally arrived it was around 2:00 pm… The last ferry left at 7:50, so we didn’t have a huge amount of time. We checked out the beach, which didn’t have sand, but instead had pretty large pebbles. It wasn’t the most comfortable thing ever, but we went for a swim which was felt great.

We then walked around and took the Funicolare, an angled train/elevated thing that is pulled by a cable, up Capri, towards the heart. Up top, things where much more high-end and pricy. We tried Limon Cello, the staple liquor of Capri, and the waiter conned us into an amazing fruit and gelatto dessert that ended up being well worth the 6 euro.

Exploring Capri a bit more, we passed by a very high-end party, and found some gardens and points overlooking Capri. It was, as most things have been so far, an amazing site.

We had to head out soon, to catch our ferry, but the truth is, I think we saw a lot of Capri and enjoyed it a lot. It’s been amazing to me how easy it is to get a good feel for a place in just a short amount of time.

A ferry took us back to Naples, not Sorrento, so getting to Portici was, again, a bit complex… But it was before 11 this time, so we found our way to the Circumvesuviana, the train service in Napoli, and made our way back to our hostel.

We checked out the club at our hostel, taught the bartender how to make some American drinks, but called it a night because the scene was a bit dull… And here I am, tapping away early in the morning. I think the hostel is shutting down for the night, so I should probably go, but tomorrow we see Pompei, and then head immediately to Greece.

Catch ya in a day or two!



lina and sami on 29 July, 2007 at 10:39 pm #

Too bad you missed Pompei, it is such an interesting city all buried by the volcano ashes and the dead people are still frozen in what they were doing. You will have to go back there sometime again.. We were in Pompei and Sorrento 2 years ago and we did the whole Amalfi coast which is beautiful. Sami and Lina

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