Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've hung up my dress-for-success clothes, and pulled my domestic "genes" out of storage.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Naples & Pompeii - A Travel Journal: Our Italy Trip (Part 1)


Naples & Pompeii - A Travel Journal: Our Italy Trip (Part 1)

Ms. Toody's Travel Journal: The Amalfi Coast

Day 1: New York To Naples

Last-minute items packed? Check. Passports in purse? Check. Keurig unplugged? 
Just a sec...forgot to do that. OK!

It's time to leave for Italy!

I'm as giddy as a kiddie headed to Disneyworld. We're finally going back to Italy after ten years. The last trip was to Rome, Florence, Venice and Tuscany. This time, our destination is the Amalfi coast. We're flying Air France to Naples, with a connection in Paris. The flight's on time...so far, so good!

We stop in Paris just long enough to look in the souvenir shops, and ogle the colorful macaron displays. The Longchamp store is having a sale. I sniff it out like a bloodhound. Should I buy a tote bag? I'm sure it costs less here than it does 
at home. I think I'll wait till the return trip. 

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


The connection to Naples is just under two hours. We arrive at about noon, and find a cab quickly. We're incredulous at the seemingly nonexistent rules of the road. Cars and motorcycles turning every which way; lanes created wherever they want. Red light? No need to stop. We've never seen driving like this anywhere. Ever. NY cabbies drive like grandma, compared to this.

My expectations for Naples are low. I've done my reading -- pickpockets, Mafia, stuff like that. First impressions? Surly and gruff. This NY-savvy gal is a little nervous. Will we feel safe venturing out? Thank goodness we're here only for one night. I remind myself that I'm here only for the pizza.

We're staying at the Hotel Excelsior, down by the waterfront. Waterfront, as in Bay Of Naples. Surprisingly, it's quiet. It's a pedestrian-only area, and I breathe a sigh of relief, since I've read that crossing the streets in Naples is risky business. 

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

My need to explore overpowers any qualms I have. I'm chomping at the bit to head outside, but we're exhausted, and give in to a short nap. Afterwards, I scope out every inch of the hotel, even though we'll be checking out in the morning. But, we'll be back here again, at the end of our trip. The views from the hotel restaurant are extraordinary. 

In five seconds flat, I'm loving the little piece of Naples within my view, which includes a 12th century castle, and Mt. Vesuvius. Grinning!

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I leave my jewelry in the hotel, even though it's costume, just to be on the safe side. But, once outside, "surly" and "gritty" are quickly forgotten. 

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
La Fontana dell'Immacolatella

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Castel dell'Ovo

Naples is the birthplace of pizza, and I've spent weeks researching the best pizza places. There are two within walking distance of the hotel. This does mean we have to cross a street, and it is terrifying, with cars coming from everywhere, but I'll do anything for pizza. Looking like pitiful tourists, someone finally stops, and lets us cross. 

Both places are closed! Grrr! Can't figure out why. Monday? Holiday? We cross that street again, and head to the marina next to the castle. We choose a restaurant using the eeny-meeny-miny-moe method. I'm about to have a hissy fit that my first meal in Italy hasn't been vetted by Tripadvisor. Ristorante Ciro...and...we're the only ones here. 

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Can't beat the setting, though. Nice view of our hotel (on the right) across the marina. 

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The meal is mostly good. My pasta is a little disappointing, but Mr. Goo Shoes' is very good. Most importantly, the pizza is amazing, and the free Limoncello is delish! (I did take photos of every single thing I ate -- you can read about that here).

Salute! 

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We force ourselves to stay out a bit, and marvel at the how the sunset is painting Mt. Vesuvius pink. 

Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Via Partenope
Naples, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Mt. Vesuvius

But jetlag wins and we're off to bed.  I'm asleep. I'm awake. I'm texting with my sister at 3:00am. I'm asleep. The phone rings at 5:00am. It's Junior Goo Shoes, calling from camp. He forgot about the time difference.

Day 2: Pompeii and Sorrento
We are being picked up at 10am to go to Pompeii. The front desk sends us around the corner for breakfast at Bar Tourist. Seriously? Bar Tourist? I'm relieved to see that the place is filled with locals, go figure. I order caffĂ©, and get espresso. 
I know to ask for caffĂ© americano, I'm just rusty. 

Pompeii, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The driver leaves us at Pompeii. He's to return for us in two hours. We snap a picture of the license plate, since he's got our luggage in the trunk, and we're thinking it's 50/50 that we'll see it again. 


Friends told us to book a two-hour tour with a private guide. We didn't. I know us. It's not our thing. We rent headsets, instead, and ditch them 10 minutes later, since we can't figure them out. Clearly we are not getting all out of Pompeii that we should be. 

Pompeii, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Pompeii, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Pompeii, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It's incredible to see this preserved, ancient Roman city, that was literally stopped dead in tracks, when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E. I glance over at the sleeping volcano -- damn, it's close -- just to make sure it's not smoldering. Phew.

Pompeii, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Pompeii, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Pompeii, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We eavesdrop on some tour guides. "That was a store. That was a house". Pompeii is really cool, but it's really hot. After a half hour, we look at each other. We've seen enough rubble, and we take pictures just to prove that we were here.

We bolt, and head to the juice stand across the street. We laugh that we're having more fun sitting in the cafe, drinking frozen lemon/orange juice, than we did in Pompeii. (Please keep this between us, okay? I've got an image to preserve). Don't get me wrong, Pompeii is awesome, and it's not to be missed. But for us, the highlights were enough. It's like my feeling about museums  - show me the Mona Lisa, and let's go eat.

Pompeii, Italy | Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The driver returns. We're tempted to ask him to open the trunk but we don't. 

Next stop: Sorrento! Let the real vacation begin!

To Be Continued...

RESOURCES:
Hotel Excelsior Naples
Ristorante Ciro 
Bar Tourist
Rick Steve's Naples and Pompeii (TV episode)




25 comments:

  1. Can't wait for your next post. I know the fun is about to begin!

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    1. It most certainly is, Lynne! The best is yet to come!

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  2. Can't wait for your next post. I know the fun is about to begin!

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  3. When we were in Rome, I felt the same way...how much rubble can you look at before it's enough?

    I found the food in Italy somewhat disappointing. I had MUCH better pizza in NY! I'm thinking the food the rest of your trio was pretty awesome though, but I guess I'll have to wait and find out ;).

    I'm really interested in reading about the rest of your trip, as I imagine if/when we return we will follow in your foot steps.

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  4. The Longchamps are cheaper in Paris - was just there in April. Remember to make it a better deal you have to spend 150 euro to get the VAT back. We did a guided tour of Pompeii and I totally didn't listen. Can't wait for the next post of your trip!

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  5. Oh Wow - it all looks like a dream - taking notes over here!

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  6. Oh how fun! Your pictures are wonderful. Feels like I'm there with you. So neat to see Pompeii today. I've seen the movie about it. So, I can't imagine setting foot on the actual grounds. I would've worried about the volcano too. I would probably be like you too and not want to study every little detail everywhere we went. The highlights would probably tide me over. Afterall, you only have so much time in a day to see it all!

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  7. Guess I am the odd one out. I loved Pompeii but we did have an excellent private guide and I do think that helped. We stayed in Sorrento and loved it. Your trip sounds much like one we took several years ago so will be eager to relive our trip through your pictures.

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  8. I remember the same feeling....one ruin looks like the other after awhile!! Now, Sorrento, can't wait to see it again!

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  9. We've been to Naples a few times on cruise stops and have yet to visit Pompeii. Afraid I'd be disappointed after the ruins we've seen in Greece (but then, I keep saying, "Next time" so who knows). I laughed about your reaction to the traffic as I had the same response. We just picked a pizza place that said since the 1930's we figured if it had been there that long it must be good -- and it was fabulous. Look forward to your next report!

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  10. Loved reading and look forward to the next. Just did a similar trip in May. Private guide makes Pompeii more interesting - we don't typically do it and we LOVED our guide. The pizza at the place across the street was suprisingly good!

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  11. i feel like i'm experiencing this in real time. let's get to the next spot! i'm like you,i have a boyfriend who isn't as into museums as me, so it's hit the highlights and let's go.
    b

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  12. Thanks for sharing that amazing trip... I've lived in the bad suburbs of Paris, so I wasn't even afraid to watch your pictures!

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  13. So much fun! I would have been excited at the airport too. Naples looks like a good place to explore. I have been to Pompeii but stayed in Sorrento. The area is so great that I want to go back.

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  14. Ahhhh I miss Italy!! Finally home from our own crazy adventure. We'll see how long it takes me to get a post up. I completely feel like doing NADA. lol
    Can't wait until your next post!

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  15. I loved Pompeii, probably because i had taught it for years. I was a little underwhelmed initially also by Naples but it grew on me. Now Sorrento was beautiful and you will get offered a lot of free samples of limoncello. Be warned, it sneaks up on you.

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  16. I loved seeing these pictures and reading your travel journal and even reading the comments of people who have been to Italy! And that you actually admitted "show me the Mona Lisa and where's the food"!

    High five here!

    I remember loving all the Frances Mayes' books of their travels around Italy but she was far more fond of ancient Etruscan sculpture than I would have been. I much preferred all her accounts of meals and the restoration of her house.

    I can't wait to visit the Amalfi Coast with you. I have a vintage black and white postcard of the view of some of it from the terrace of the "Hotel Cappuccini" that I put in a beautiful sterling silver frame that I pick up over and over and imagine being there.

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  17. Ha ha, Love your style. I was too chicken to go to Naples at all so we went by train to Salerno, the other side of the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento. Did love Sorrento though :) Luckily when we visited Pompeii it wasn't too hot and we just did it by ourselves, no headset either. We entered through one entry and out another. I had quite a few disappointing pasta dishes in Italy!

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  18. Amy, You crack me up, but in fact, even I was a little anxious when first walking around Naples. Like I find everywhere that the media has tried to influence me, it was all for naught and we found Naples endearing. I think the trick to places like Pompei is to go early, early before it's too hot and the busloads of tourists descend. I can't wait until your next installment!

    Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration!

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  19. Thanks so much for this awesome your with you! The photos are amazing and looking forward to read more about your vacation!

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  20. Dear Amy, Simply beautiful!!! xo Catherine

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  21. Such a beautiful trip! Thanks for sharing with Home Sweet Home!

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  22. After living in Malaysia, the driving in Italy didn't faze us at all. It almost seemed orderly. We skipped Naples and just did Pompeii from Sorrento as I'd heard all the same crazy Naples stories as you apparently have. Free Limoncello can't be beat, though. And that photo of the boats is fantastic. We downloaded the Rick Steves audiotour of Pompeii onto our iPhones and Nintendo DS (which made it look like our kids were gaming at Pompeii). It was fantastic and free.

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  23. Loved reading this - came across your post from Sweet Pea blog. I traveled that same area years ago and you brought back so many memories!
    Shelley

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  24. You tour places like I do. Seen it, check. Now let's find a place to eat and people watch. I love the history but love food and gawking even more. Your pics are gorgeous, Amy.

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