ahhh naples. we arrived so late on that first night - like, almost midnight (because delays that weren't delays but then were delays), so by the time we had checked in and found our rooms we were totally knackered and wanted nothing more than sleep. our first day was the first time that we really got to see naples, and as we ate our breakfast on the rooftop, in the shade of a 27 degree morning and looked out over the city, yeah, we were pretty pleased with ourselves.
our first port of call that day was pizzeria da michele, also known as the pizzeria from eat, pray, love. annalies had done quite her research when it came to making sure we only ate the best pizza while we were in naples - where pizza originated, so surely making it some of the best pizza in the world, so we were only more than happy to follow her lead. we drew a line at reading the 13-page document she'd put together for us on "how to spot a napolese pizza in ten steps" because no. ain't nobody got time for that.
things we learned about napolese pizza that day: 1. it's soupy in the centre, 2. you need to use a knife and for to eat it without mess, 3. the crust is the best bit. i mean, apparently there are seven other things you need to know, but they're the most important ones. probably also worth noting that this pizzeria doesn't ever not have a line. we waited about twenty minutes to be seated, and that was well before midday. when we left just after one, the line was heaving out the door. the fame from the film is certainly part of the reason that the place is always busy, but see those stickers on the door? it continuously wins awards for that pizza; it's a well sought-after place. if you're going to go, go early.
we spent the afternoon walking off the calories we'd consumed, by heading down to the port of naples and wandering along the waterfront. it was more than thirty two degrees at this point, with not a lot of shade so eventually we had to stop; we ended up at castel dell'ovo for some shade and a (few) drinks on the waterfront, giggling at the fact the castel is called "the castel of eggs", and at the made up stories we gave to the men working in the boatyard (it was probably heat stroke at this point).
it was here that i learned that the italian word for "selfie" is...err, "selfie". by late afternoon we headed back into the city, choosing to grab ice creams and sit in the local giardini del molosiglio where we abused the fact the sprinklers had been on all day, by jumping through them with the young kids, hoping to find a way to just cool the hell down. man alive, it was so hot. not long after that we made the slow journey back to the hotel where we rested up in the cool air conditioned rooms for an hour or two, before heading out later that night for dinner at a local restaurant. it was early to bed for us that night after our full day exploring in the sun, as the next would be our last in the city before we headed off to sorrento.
the following day we had a small lay in before our final breakfast on the roof and checked out - leaving our bags behind as we headed out for a quick wander of the back streets behind our hotel, and another pizza stop to fill us before our journey to sorrento. pizzeria di matteo was supposedly the second best pizza shop in naples, but bex and i both agreed it was better than the first. less soupy but still wet enough to need a knife and fork, and if it's even possible, tastier dough than the day before. annalies disagrees, naturally, but she's got the research on her side.
it was hotter than the day before - i didn't believe that could be possible, but we were dripping as we walked, and many granitas and ice creams were needed to keep us cool as we dragged our feet around the dusty city. we got lost in back streets (actually) and alleyways for a few hours, nabbing souvenirs and postcards as we went, knowing we probably wouldn't be back - unless it was as a transit trip again.
having been to rome and venice earlier in the year, i can say that naples was not a highlight of the italian cities. it seemed a lot busier than rome (even with all those tourists there), and it had a much seedier vibe about it. "designer knock offs" being sold off blankets on the side of the road, and "genuine italian leather" being hocked for a fiver on street corners. all a liiiittle shady, but i suppose it had its own character. thankfully, we were off to paradise, so we headed to the train station and bid arrivederci to naples for the week.
next stop: the amalfi coast!