Wednesday, 23 September 2009

First Night In Napoli

Wednesday 16th September

Managed to get up at 8am this morning with no problems which was fairly surprising considering the time that I went to bed last night. Having said that though I seem to need much less sleep these days than I used to even though I am so active both mentally and physically. I sorted all of my stuff out ready to leave and exchanged email addresses with a few people I had met so that we could add each other on Facebook. We also offered each other accomodation if we were ever in each other's cities. I am not sure how serious people are when they make these offers but I know I will keep to my word on it.

I went to catch the metro with a couple of Dutch guys I had been drinking with last night and we parted company at the Duomo where I got the next train to the main station in Milan. I arrived with about 15 minutes to spare which was good as I like to have time to spare when I arrive as there is nothing worse than having to rush around in a busy train station and you always end up hot and sweaty and feeling very uncomfortable. I managed to find the train pretty easily. The train wasn't too busy but I was sat with a couple of Italian people - my Italian is nowhere near good enough to have conversations with people yet so I decided to listen to an Italian course on my iPod.

Breakfast this morning had only been light - cereal, a bread roll, cappuccino and orange juice - so I decided to get some more to eat on the train as we would not be arriving into Napoli until after lunchtime. I bought a panini and a cappuccino and it was pretty expensive but at least I felt a little less hungry and a little more awake! It was a very different experience from a train in England. In England you have a little shop and you take everything back to your seat but here there was pretty much a whole carriage for the shop with an area to eat and drink.

Another big difference with the trains in Italy is that you can get off the train at every stop to have a smoke. There is a law in Italy that says you can't smoke in railway stations but nobody takes any notice of it and the police or rail staff never say anything to anyone. This was quite handy on a train journey that ended up taking 6 hours. I tried talking with an Italian bloke each time the train stopped and we went for a smoke. It was difficult to understand but we managed a little bit of chat. I find the only way to be able to learn a language quickly is to try and enter into conversation with people as much as possible. I feel comfortable enough on a one to one basis but it can be awkward if there are 4 people and the conversation is constantly broken up because you don't understand.

The weather has been overcast for most of today but the sun came out just as I arrived into Rome and I was very tempted to get off there and start my new life there and then. I resisted the temptation though and continued on towards Napoli. I really want to visit Pompei while I am in Napoli and I am also looking forward to going to Sorrento for a few days on the beach. The weather forecast is not great for Napoli today and tomorrow but apparently it will be a pretty sunny weekend!

When I arrived at Napoli the tourist information place had nobody there. I waited for about 15 minutes but nobody returned so I decided to get something to eat as I was bloody starving! The nearest place to eat was a McDonald's so I went there. As I sat down I realised there were a couple of American girls sat next to me so I asked them if they knew of any hostels in Napoli. They had a travel guide book but it wasn't really much help. I chatted with them (Jen and Steph) for about half an hour as there train was delayed before I headed back to the tourist information office.

This time there was someone there and he was pretty helpful. Not only did he tell me where the hostels were but he even called them for me to make sure that there was a room available. I thought that was really nice of him as most places just give you the information and let you find out for yourself. When I arrived at the hostel the guy there was also pretty friendly and called a hostel in Sorrento to reserve me a room for 3 nights after I leave Napoli. So far my experiences of Italian people, save the ones who laughed at my clothes in Milan, have been really good.

Not a lot happened in the evening really except for watching a football match (Inter Milan against Barcelona) and having a couple of drinks with some English guys (Sam and Ed) who I would be sharing a room with for the next couple of nights. They are currently cycling through Italy and will be finishing in Nice before catching a plance home. It's funny how a football match can kill conversation so easily. I decided to watch the match in the hostel rather than go to a bar as I had heard that Napoli has a bad reputation and there a couple of areas in particular you should avoid at night - I didn't want to get caught out in one of them!

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