We follow our Bardar off the walkway to Egg Castle, to the left and down onto what looks like a refurbished pier. It’s quiet here by the water and we’ve just walked halfway across Naples, so it’s definitely time for cocktails. We do a little scouting mission to see what strikes our fancy.
There are numerous bars and restaurants ranging from street fare to fancy along the water and through a couple of makeshift squares here by the boats. Very cool area we’ve stumbled upon, shouldn’t be too hard to find a gem.
Il Gatto Grigio
Some multi-hued lights on a somewhat modern and comfy looking patio grab our attention. Like moths we beeline straight to it and find some seats.
A hip looking server guy comes over and we order up the usual G&Ts. While these are being made he brings over a small wooden box which contains a significant portion of beer nuts, peanuts, and pretzels. “Wow. This is pretty sick.” “Ya, is this a freebie? There’s a lot going on here.”
We kick back with our drinks and snacks and start to relax. “Took some time to find the charm of this place, but this is super nice now.” “Being away from noisy traffic and garbage brings the anxiety levels down a few notches for sure.”
Ok, we may have given Naples a bad wrap to begin with. Or maybe we just needed to defrag from a long, early bus ride. But like anyone, you just need to take a bit of time to get to know and understand them. Having a cocktail helps too. This is definitely a lovely little nook off the Mediterranean Sea to chill with.
A couple of gins in and our original idea of ‘let’s stop here for a drink then find some food’ is turning into a more comfy ‘let’s get more drinks and just order food here’ (this is even after a snack box re-up). We inquire with Hip Server Guy and he says that they can make “Toast things” for us. “Toast things sounds perfect!”
And so toast things happen. And they look super simple at first but turn out much better than expected.
We scarf the toast things and another round and figure it’s about time to start heading back towards the center of the city again where the hostel is. Maybe there’s more to it than we first discovered.
Our meander back across town leads us through a large outdoor mall area. There is a massive concentration of people here. “A little like Belgrade, eh?” “Ya, I guess just leisurely walking the mall with your friends is the thing to do.” “Stay on the scene..” “Like a sex machine.” “Cool church nestled in here.” “Oh yeah.”
Piazza del Plebiscito
We happen upon a large central plaza area with two long columnades and statues around a domed church. There’s military guard here too. Several groups of people are hanging out in the main open space or on the steps. This place seems important.
This is the Piazza del Plebiscito, named after the referendum that brought Naples into the united kingdom of Italy. In the center is the Church of San Francesco di Paulo and just East is the Royal Palace. Interesting that there’s such a military presence around all of these monuments. Although there is an amazing amount of graffiti everywhere in the city, except here…
Piazza del Gesù Nuovo
We keep trucking back towards the hostel. Covered a lot of ground in Naples today actually, a good swath of the city. We find a slightly nicer area nearby Pizza Hostel that we’d missed previously. A square with a string of bars and outdoor patios along the interconnecting streets. “Check this shit out?” “Overdue for another drink anyways.”
A tall baroque spire is just off the square here. The Guglia dell’Immacolata. I like that there’s military guard here too, then a bunch of people hanging out inside the chained-off area, leaning against the monument chatting and chilling.
We do a quick recon of the available street side patios and settle into some seats by a place called the Trinity Café. There’s some light sax jazz playing and another hip server guy brings us some drink menus. I go with a negroni and MacKay orders something called a Japan Ice. “Another five shot drink thing. Try this nonsense.” “Whewf, that’ll do it.”
The interior of the place is nice and old timey but everyone is out on the streets like we are.
We break out the phones and start doing some research on things to do between Naples and Rome. “Tivoli looks kinda dope. Nice countryside, big castle, some gardens, Hadrian’s Villa. Could be a cool place to dip into.” “Ya that… dude…” “What’s up?” “There’s a fucking high speed train!” “Here in Naples?” “Ya man. Goes all the way North through the entire country.” “Pffffft… well that opens things up a bit, doesn’t it?”
This is exciting news. A new plan instantly starts forming, “So.. we go to Pompeii from here tomorrow, right? Come back… what if we just ditch our room tomorrow night and head straight to like.. fucking Florence or something?” “We could get up to Bologna to see your buddy too if you want.” “Oh shit. This is a way better plan.” “…and again, that’s why you hit the brain suds before planning anything.” “That’s just good adventure detecting.”
We’re pumped. Another new plan. Naples to Pompeii and back, Florence, Bologna, then multiple days in Rome. “I love it. Really enjoy the bailing on our shit room idea too.” “This calls for a celebratory 5 shot cocktail!”
Phones down, drinks up. We’re just finding our groove here in Naples but this is a sweet new plan. Not sure why we always get so excited to leave a place. I guess it’s the prospect of seeing even more shit, catching the vibe of another place, and figuring out what we can get into (and out of) in someplace new.
“Getting onwards of midnight, should we get lost on the way back to the hostel?” “Right. Probably need to head early to Pompeii.” “Yep. Let’s call it.”
We pay up and bolt. I snap a pic of the neighboring Church of Gesù Nuovo on the way out. Unique looking building. Five shot cocktails make you take blurry pics. This area was a good find. A very pretty and open central square in the otherwise narrow dark streets.
Alright now where do we ‘live’?
Hmmmm this way?
Back to Pizza Hostel and we’re actually surprised to find our ‘private’ dorm room is still unoccupied. “You want bunk A, B, C, D, the single, or E, F, G, or H?” “Don’t care.”
Time to conk out. Can’t wait to see what Pompeii has to offer tomorrow. You always hear so much about the place, ecstatic to see it in person.
I go brush my teeth before beddy-bye and get a good chuckle out of this sign in the bathroom.