Thursday March 5th 2020
Naples on the way to Rome
Sorry about losing yesterday, I did the tourist thing and walked my feet off and then had a big decision to make. Should I stay or should I go? In looking at the map of Italy all the interesting places were a five or six hour train ride, which kills a day each way pretty much. Soo there is two days lost, Be in Rome the night before because the plane leaves at Zero dark thirty (6 am). Get there at least 2 or 3 hours before, train to airport you get the idea. Since the virus outbreak here in Italy Delta has suspended their $300 flight change fee, so might as well just call it a day and head on home.
On the fast train to Rome now, get in around noon. I might have a little time to sight see prior to a 9 pm bed and 1am get up. It’s really a shame too. This morning is the most beautiful day I’ve seen in Naples. Bright sunny morn, no wind, too warm for even my hoodie. If I hadn’t been on hold to Delta Albania for 20 minutes to change the flight, I’d call back and change it again. Oh, well.
Yesterday morning I loafed around until a little after nine and then hit the cobblestones for a bank. I was down to my last 100 Euros and kind of freaking out. A weird feeling to have nearly $3K of useless US dollars in my jeans. The banks are like the missile silos that were there to rain nuclear death on those soulless Soviets. Press a button, the eye in the wall decides if you are a threat, one door opens and to enter a small room, and the door behind you closes. Locked in a purgatory of security. Not outside and not inside. After way too long the door you are facing opens and you enter the bank proper. Then you hear “No exchange” and need to repeat the process. The next bank the same. At least she told me I was pretty well stuck with walking to near the cruise ship where the money changers were. I hadn’t planned on needing to walk a Km to get cash, but so be it. With my luck they would be closed for lunch or Christmas or because it was the owner’s son’s friend’s birthday. Yippee, they were open. The rate was reasonable and the transaction was done in a flash.
The place I wanted to go was the church of San Genaro. He was a big deal here in Naples for some reason. I knew from the previous day’s tour that it was waaayyyy over there and waaayyy up there, and I wasn’t about to walk that. Caught a taxi and zoomed and zigged and honked and cursed our way up to the church.
Too much coffee. Find a coffee refund place. Across the street from the church was a coffee bar with a sign that said “Toilet for customers only”. I took care of things and had another cupa Joe. Then to the church. Every church I have been in is pretty much the same as every other church. Some are darker, some are sparklier. This one was the sparkly kind. I walked around, gawked, went down stairs to say hello to San Genaro’s bones. Then to the oldest known Christian mosaics in the Baptismal. The idea was that you were baptized and when you opened your eyes after being threatened with drowning, and looked up to could see what now awaited you in Heaven. It was pretty chewed up over the centuries, but really pretty cool too.
.50 to pee in the Church, I guess you could poop too, but pooping in a church somehow it doesn’t seem right.
Next door is the church’s museum. Talk about sparkly. It would make the city of Antwerp sink under the weight of the diamonds and rubies. One ruby was the size of my Apple Watch, maybe a little bigger. The pointy hat like the Pope sometimes wears must have weighed 10 pounds. This and they charge $.50 to pee.
I wave goodbye to San Genaro. and the guy at the coffee shop and started walking. I wasn’t afraid of getting too lost. I knew that ‘down’ would eventually lead me to water and from there I could find my way home. Past other churches and some subterranean places. The first one was closed for pest control, and the second one’s next English tour wasn’t until 2pm. So I kept walking. And walking. Dodging people, cars and those F-ing motorcycle/scooters. A hour or two later I was back at the place where I got the taxi to go up. Decisions, decisions. Heck with it ! Keep walking.
Back at the hotel, I kicked off my shoes and socks and lay on the bed. My feet were sore. I was tired. Not Rome tired, but still worn a little. Apple watch sez 6.3 miles and I believe it.
I went up to the bar after I could stand again, had a drink and ruminated whether to stay or not. Texted a couple friends for their thoughts and make a decision. Right or wrong.
This morning, jam things in a suitcase, stuff some carbs in my face and get a taxi. This taxi was also a fixed fare taxi. I got the price upfront, half of my special price for Americans arrival taxi. I gave the guy a US sized tip.