None of the itineraries had Naples but I decided to visit the city after someone’s fb/instagram that it has the best Pizzas. We booked a fast train from Rome to Naples which takes 2 hours and planned to return the same day.
Since the buses don’t start running before 6 am we had to book a cab through our host and it cost a bomb for a 15 mins journey- 25 Euros. If we had booked a local cab, am sure the rates would be much lower. Today we have to get more information on local cabs or night buses so we can take the bus to Termini and board the train for Milan tomorrow.
We reached Naples and had no idea how to get to our destination. We had planned to do as many of below three things there:
– Check out the underground tunnels
– Visit the volcanic crater
– Take a boat ride to Amalfi coast
Nobody at the Naples station was any help. Why don’t people here speak English? It is so strange to be in a country where people don’t speak the universal language. Finally, I connected to a wifi, googled the place and showed it at the info desk. She gave us directions to all 3 places but did mention it was impossible to do them in one day. We took the metro to Toledo station (2 stops away) and walked out into a street filled with stores. There were people playing the saxophone or just standing in costumes. It looked like fun. And then a smell caught me… I knew this fragrance… I missed this fragrance. Aah.. it was a Lush store… a store where I indulged once every few months… the store which made bath times so much nicer… a chain of stores which exited India more than a year back and left me heartbroken. I quickly went in and purchased my favourite products.
This is the toledo station. And the Naples metro is some 4 levels below the ground.
We walked down to a Church and couldn’t figure out how to get to the tunnels. Italy is very frustrating when it comes to directions. There are no sign boards and you could actually be right outside the site without even knowing it. We approached a guide who told us the tour starts in 2 hours. We headed down the street to kill time and came across the sea. I had no idea the sea was so close. The view and the weather was amazing and we just killed time with a breezer. There were people running, cycling, lounging around and yes… even sunbathing. There is no beach here but just some rocks like at Marine Drive. The crazy people had climbed down to the rocks and were sunbathing on them. Imagine that happening on Marine Drive.
What is with people’s obsession with the sun? I do understand that they don’t see it most of the year but how is getting tanned fun?
And it is better to be dark than be so fair that being out in the sun makes you go all red. It is not a good sight, at all. Wait, do I sound like am discriminating? Because am not. I don’t think there is any way I can talk about skin colour while being politically correct. Not trying to make fair people feel bad here.
The Greeks had built an underground water system 200 years before BC. During World War II this underground tank was converted into bomb shelters. Basically, there was a well built underground and every house had access to that well through a hole in their floor/wall. Imagine… water running under your house. We started the tour from under a house some 40 meters deep and went through many tunnels. The guide was quite good and our 2 hours were well spent.
We crossed many tunnels like these. Very uncomfortable. It reminded me of the book Domechild. Review here.
There is graffiti on the walls made by people living in the bomb shelters during World War II. This one has Hitler and Mussolini since they were allies during the war.
There was a guy who lived down here to ensure everything was running fine in the water tunnels. He used those grooves to climb up the 40 meters.
The bomb shelters didn’t just have electricity but also power backup.
That is me inside the tunnel.
Written on the wall in Italian – On this day 10th October 1943 I was saved from the tunnels… written when the war ended in Naples and the people could come out of the bomb shelters.
Going back up at the end of the tour.
And these are the houses from where we exited. They have a whole bunch of history below them.
At the end of the tour, the guides asked us to stand in silence and turned off all lights in the tunnels. It was eery and so different. All we could hear was the silence. Yes, silence has a sound. As a kid, Ms Angela taught me to meditate and I always find it difficult to shut off my mind. But during this moment I found it difficult to think. The silence overpowered everything and each thought was a struggle. It is common for tourists to come here and spend 30-40 mins in the silence. Apparently, they go into a trance and death like state. Totally believable.
There is more on Naples but now I need to rush so I will finish it in the next post tonight.