Pompeii -> Naples -> Florence

Pompeii to Naples

We pop out of the Nocera Gate, walk the exact wrong direction and find ourselves in some square in central Pompeii. It is the Piazza Bortolo Longo. There’s an impressive cathedral on the North side so we wander over to take a look. It’s the Santuario della Beata Vergine Maria del Santo Rosario di Pompei, a Catholic cathedral built in the late 19th century.

We’re lost and our phones aren’t picking up our location for some reason (probably cursed by that damned Mystery Cult). We spot a train station and walk towards it. Nope. Not this one. We need to return our audio guides and get MacKay’s ID back before we leave Pompeii. So we walk all over town looking for the right Station. “How’d we get so lost?” “No idea.” 

We decide to fast track it and flag down a cab. We explain that we need to get to the North running station to Naples. “Ok. No problem.”

He takes off at full tilt and we instantly look at each other with the same expression. “This can’t be the right way, right?” “Nope. Doesn’t look familiar at all.”

The cabbie stops outside a tiny station that says Naples on it. “No, sorry, this is not the right station.” “Yes. Right station. See? Naples.” “No we need to find the one with the tours out front to drop these off.” We hold up our paperweights. “No. You get off here. This is Naples station.” “Maybe, but it’s not the right one. Please, could you take us to the other station?” Suddenly this Italian cabbie is insanely upset, “No. I did my job. You pay now!” “What the hell, man?” MacKay’s over it, “Fuck it let’s go.” We get out and slam the doors while he’s cursing us out in Italian.

“Well that’s fun. We just spent 10 bucks to get further away from where we need to be.” “Fuck sakes.” “Good news is the phone has service here.” So we look up directions back to the station and walk all the way back, which takes about twenty frustrating minutes. Those Bacchus beers are pretty much worn out now.

Thankfully, we stumble upon this super psyched naked dude outside a grocery store to cheer us up.

We go into the tour place to drop our audio guides and there are two cute, younger Italian girls in here now chatting away at a frantic pace.

We drop the audio guides on the counter and MacKay says, “James. James MacKay.” The girl behind the counter starts giggling and hands him his ID. She yells, “Mr. James!” and they both start laughing hysterically. We look at each other bewildered, what’s going on with these two?

“Ahh what’s going on?” “I’m practicing English for Halloween.” “Ohh.. What will you be for Halloween?” “I will be a LITTLE MONSTER!!” and they’re both doubled over, slapping thighs laughing. “Ok, thanks little monster. Nice meeting you.” MacKay retrieves his ID and we turn to leave.

The girls calm down with the giggle fest and just as we’re heading out the door the other one yells, “Hey!” and we both turn around. “I’m a PRINCESS! Ciao!” We can’t help but laugh at this silly, adorable nonsense and give them a smile and a wave as we leave.

We get some tickets back to Naples and take up waiting positions on the platform.

“Is pericollo Italian for peligrosso?” “Sounds about right. This sign looks mucho peligrosso! haha”

I point at the digital ETA sign, “Train is retardo.” “Par for the course. I hope our stuff is still in that unlocked hostel room when we get back.” “Oh right. There’ll probably be 8 people in our ‘private’ room.” “Ya, I’d take that bet.”

The train takes it’s sweet time to arrive. But we get on with a bit of daylight left and bid adieu to the fabulous Pompeii. “Some world class history right there.” “Glad we were able to fit that into our Eastern Europe trip.” Lol

We get back to shitty shitty Naples train station / garbage depot and hightail it through the familiar piles back to Pizza Hostel.

Of course, there’s a new girl checking into our ‘private’ room just as we’re getting there. We just wave as she exits the room and go in to pack up our shit. “That’s messed up but one hundred percent predictable.” “Whatevs, I’m glad we’re bailing on the room tonight. I think you’re going to love Florence. It is night and day compared to this mess.”

Naples to Florence

Aaaaand back down and out into the shit-strewn streets of Naples one last time. “Pretty much over the honking and trash.” “It’s like being in a chaotic Asian city but 5 times the price and only half the people are nice to you.” “Ooooff, kinda is.” 

“Ha, we should do that?” “Eat the rich? Just eat them?” “Yep.” “Maybe in a gorgonzola cream sauce.” “Ohhhhh that’ll make anything taste good. What the hell is this mystical place?” “Dunno, but we’re not going in with that stupidly huge bag of yours.”

We get to the train station and figure out the high speed rail situation on the computixanators. Leaves in 30 minutes. Bene. Just enough time to eat some bullshit cardbord pizza.

“This thing’s sweet.” “That actually makes a ton of sense here.”

Train arrives and we try to make sense of our tickets. “Hmmm we’re in base seats, whatever that means.” We ask a rando dude and he says, “Train 8, this is 11” “Ahh grazie!”

We get to car 11 and claim our seats. “Kind of a weird shape to them.” “Ya, what’s up with that?” “Go to the drinking car as soon as things start and get some beers?” “Sounds way more comfy.”

The bullet train blasts off and the windows blur out. We take leave of our seats and locate the drinking car. Empty. Perfetto. We go up to the bartender guy and see what’s on offer. “Recognize any of these?” “Nope. Birra Nazionale?” “Sure.” 

I don’t know anything about Birra Baladin, but this is decent. Kinda dry and medium hoppy and malty.

“Cheers, man.” <clink> “On to the next place then.”

It’s a good 3 hours up to Florence along the shin of the Italian boot and then across the defining calf muscle. The scenery slides by in hyper speed and we are happy to just pound these craft beers and rest up a bit. We walked all over Pompeii and Naples today basically and it’s nice to just sit and let the train do the work.

After we drink the train out of the Nazionale we move on to something called Nastra Assturro. Also not bad. We proceed to drink them out of those and move on to the Baladin Pop. 

Aaaand then we drink them out of those and we’re fine with going back to where the day all started: Peroni, Dionysus’ fave.

By the time the train is pulling into Florence we’ve got a good glean on and had ourselves a three hour giggle fest that those Pompeii tourism girls would’ve appreciated.

I booked a spot along the way called the Plus Hostel and it looks like it’s just a short walk on the mapowizzles.

We come out of the station and it is glorious. The atmosphere change from Naples to here is palpable in so many ways. “Ahh man. Feel that? Temperature’s perfect!” “Streets are clean. No traffic. Wide open fucking spaces!” “Haha. Ahh yeah, this is waaaaaay better!”

Back in Florence, so nice. Looking good, feeling good. Alright, let’s find this Plus Hostel place.

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