A last minute trip, planned on Saturday started on Wednesday. Louise and I flew to Naples at the beginning of September. The webmaster decided not to accompany us. He stayed at home with his dogs.
Louise was more interested in the fashion, shopping and sun bathing although by September it was already starting to get a bit cool, which thankfully helped me keep the sun worshiping to a minimum although visiting the cultural and historic highlights was somewhat stressful. She trudged around and her eyes were open but the only clue she could see was the fact she didn't collide with anything. She moaned all day at Pompeii and was uncooperative the day we hired the bicycles. She enjoyed our visit to the Catacombs but that, it turned out was because she fancied the guide.
Our hotel was out of town, the Villa Luisa in Pozzuoli, a two stage train journey from Naples.
We had been warned of pick pockets and thefts and tried to remain vigilant but often we were tired and sleepy on the train journey back to the hotel after a day out. The lowlight of the trip was when I was robbed, probably at Naples main station as we made our way back from Pompeii. Looking back we think it was the classic distraction technique, but by the time we realised it was too late. Fortunately the insurance covered most of our losses and nothing serious was taken. Our passports were safely locked away in the hotel safe as was my driving license. Credit and debit cards were easy enough to cancel and we could manage with Louise's debit card until we got home.
This was my second holiday trip to Italy and the second time I'd been robbed. The first was in 1985 in Milan when Andy and I were on a road trip from the Netherlands through Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany. That time the car window was smashed and our radio and a few other items stolen. I've never been robbed anywhere else, but maybe it's just a co-incidence and nothing to do with Italy.
One of the highlights of the trip was a meal at a family run restaurant somewhere on the road round Lake Lucrino. We had walked from our hotel and were looking for somewhere different to eat. We had found ourselves walking around the lake as it was going dark. There was little light and it we were beginning to feel a little unsafe when we came across a restaurant. As we stopped to look for a menu and price list the proprietor approach and before we knew what was happening we were inside, sitting at a little table surrounded by several loud and happy Neapolitan families celebrating a birthday party.
No one spoke English and our Italian didn't stretch much past the pleasantries. But our iPhone translator came to the rescue. We soon found that there was a set menu. The chef decided what we would eat. I panicked at this as I needed gluten free food, but via the translator I got my message across and the chef came to see me. No problem at all. I could have a special menu all for myself including the gluten free pasta. And not to worry about not speaking Italian, the waiter reassured us. Even his own brother couldn't speak it. He was a real Neapolitan and spoke only the local language.
We have never eaten so much. Course after course kept coming. We tried to say "no more, we are full". We know the waiter knew what we meant but it went unheeded. The food kept coming and we felt obliged to eat it. Then we learned that the restaurant only took cash. More panic. How many Euro did we have? What if we didn't have enough - would Louise be able to run to a bank ATM while I sat and waited. Surely so much food would be more than we could pay for with our limited cash? But no. It must be the best value for money food we have eaten anywhere. And it was friendly and fun. Just as though we had been guests in someones home.