Backpacking Diaries #2: Naples

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018.

Today I woke up around 8:00AM because my friend was getting ready to go to the Vatican City. She went downstairs to talk to the front desk about extending our stay one more night in Rome just so we could keep our backpacks in their lockers instead of lugging it around all day. Unfortunately our room was booked for tonight but they did have a mixed hostel room available, so we went ahead and booked that one. 

We moved all of our stuff (just my backpack and her backpack lol) to the other hostel room. It was smaller, fitting only 4 people instead of 6. There was a common bathroom across the hall instead of in our suite. I guess this is the dorm experience I never had but kinda always wanted! 

So my plan for today was… well actually, similar to the other days, I didn’t have much of a plan. I was thinking about sleeping in and maybe walking around Rome again. However, I’ve been exploring Rome the past two days and I was kind of ready for a change in scenery. 

So I spontaneously booked a train ticket on GoEuro to Naples, Italy by myself. The train would be leaving in about 30 minutes. I quickly jumped out of bed, brushed my teeth, changed my clothes, and headed over to the Rome Termini train station. Mind you I have never used the Italian metro system before.. 

Fortunately, the train station was a short 4 minute walk from my hostel. Once I arrived, I was a little nervous. Everything was in Italian (obviously) and I had no idea what to do from there. I tried, in my best broken Italian, asking a worker how to get to my train to Naples. I hope they found it endearing..

Anyway, I made my way down the stairs to my train. It was an express train I believe because the ride took only an hour or so. Soon enough, I was in Naples.

As I took my first step off of the train, excitement rushed over me. I did it. I figured it out all on my own. Not so scary. 

I had nothing planned for Naples. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet but this is kind of how I like to travel. No itinerary set, just figuring it out as I go. 

I walked out of the Napoli Centrale station and was greeted with the hustle & bustle of Naples. It was full of diversity, and not at all what I had expected. 

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To be honest, I had expected a beach town with a bunch of pizzerias everywhere for some reason. Instead, a lively city was waiting for me instead. So I guess I just had to jump right in and start my adventure. I walked through the city and at first I didn’t feel very comfortable. It seemed as if I was in the sketchier part of town. I was a little wary because there were a lot of men in the alleyways I had chosen. However, not once did anyone catcall or act inappropriately. I’ve come to realize that Italians are all very respectful and very friendly. Not once did I feel unsafe.

As I continue with this little alleyway, I stumbled upon a museum that had beautiful religious artwork. I took my time with each artwork, sculpture, and painting. It was simply breathtaking. 

I decided to go to the national archaeological museum afterwards because I’ve heard that Italy has quite the selection of museums. I was not disappointed. 

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You know, I never liked US history much, but Roman & Greek history/mythology, I’ve always been intrigued by. This museum was full of sculptures and artwork from that time. I spent a good 2.5 hours here, truly fascinated by it all.

I started to get hungry so I was in search of some pizza. Because when you go to Naples, you have to get pizza. They’re known for having the best pizza in the world!

I’m the type of person who likes to find the hole in the wall places. The hidden gems in the alleyways.. I feel like those places always have the best food.

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I found a tiny little pizzeria near the piazza Bellini. It was a cute little family owned business with the friendliest group of people. I ordered a pizza topped with bell peppers,a chocolate pastry, and a glass of water. The pizza was heavenly. The bread was incredibly soft, the pizza perfectly seasoned. It was so good that I forgot to take a picture. :( The pastry was very delicious as well. I finished every last bit of my meal. People were not joking when they said Naples has the best pizza. I really wanted to order more pizza but I was too full to eat anymore. The water they gave me was sparkling which was surprising. I’m not a big fan of bubbly drinks though so unfortunately I didn’t drink much of that.

After my decadent meal, I managed to find a little street full of vendors. I bought a little souvenir for my grandma. I buy her a magnet from every place that I visit. She loves it and it makes me happy seeing her smile when she gets to add a new one to her collection. 

I found a little gelateria on the corner of the street. I ordered the usual: straticella, chocolate, and cheesecake. (My diet starts when I’m back in California) ;)

 

As I walked down the streets of Naples, I couldn’t help but smile. I’m really here. In Italy. I’ve once dreamed about visiting Europe and here I was. The city was so lively. The people so friendly. The vibe so relaxed. I genuinely felt happy just taking it all in. 

I’m sitting on the train back to Rome as I write this blog post. This train wasn’t an express ride. It’s going to take about 3 hours to get back but it’s okay because I’m able to find some time to write!

My experience today taught me that I’m more independent than I give myself credit for. When I first impulsively bought my flight to Italy, I honestly wasn’t too scared. The only thing I had planned out was my flight. I didn’t even look into booking any hostels or tours or anything for that matter. Didn’t really know what to expect. I wasn’t scared because my thought process was that getting lost, feeling confused, and figuring it out is all a part of the fun. It forces you to be immersed in the new culture, to talk to the locals, and as a result, you learn so much about yourself. 

However I must admit, once I shared with others that I was about to travel Europe alone, people made me feel like I should be scared. Especially traveling alone as a female. They were projecting their fears onto me and it was working. I began to worry. I began to feel anxious. I was even thinking of maybe shortening my trip so I could come home early. 

I’m so glad I didn’t go through with shortening my trip. I’m so thankful that I decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone and explored a brand new city all by myself. People are a lot kinder than you think. There’s still a lot of incredible people out there, but of course if you do decide to embark on your own solo journey, be smart & be safe! 

Ciao for now,

Cindy

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