Due Settimana in Italia
An Apolitical Travelogue
by Eric S. Piotrowski
Day Ten: Trains, Traffic and Tomatoes
We woke up painfully early for the train to Napoli. We rode standing to the first stop (about ten minutes), then switched trains and took the seats we'd be in for the next eight hours. I was across from a very nice guy who looked like Ben Kingsley; he and I figured out a decent rhythm for our foor placement. Next to me was a younger woman with loud heavy metal music playing through her headphones. She also had a bag covered with pins for bands like Nirvana and The Sex Pistols.
Another guy in our car was traveling with some enormous thing wrapped in grey plastic bags. It took up half of the hallway outside, so he periodically got up and held it aside as people passed.
During the trip I ate only a croissant and a half-piece of leftover pizza, so I was pretty famished and crabby when we arrived. This is not a good condition on which to first lay eyes on Naples, as it is a huge, sprawling, crowded, noisy, chaotic metropolis. Our taxi ride on the way into town was impeded by some traffic brouhaha, but it seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary for the driver.
The driver didn't have any idea where the Hotel Cimarosa was, but we found it without too much trouble (despite the fact it's on the fifth floor of its building with only a blank first few floors and no signs to greet guests). The actual hotel was lovely, with a very big bed (especially compared to the quarters in Venice, which were a bit like sleeping in the Pei dorms again).
Once settled, we went out to find some dinner, but were greeted by empty restaurants and waiters who asked us to return in twenty minutes. Apparently always-open-during-business-hours diners are a luxury in that city. Eventually we found a place called Rossopomodoro and had a good meal.
No one in Naples speaks English. We should have gone to Salsiccia. (Kidding. It's actually good for me to occasionally visit a foreign land that doesn't accomodate us.)