Sunday, April 24, 2011


Colors of Napoli
Harbour in Naples at sundown

There were times, more specifically when walking along the shore - in the breeze coming from the Tyrrhenian Sea, when Naples looked so peaceful, very calming – was it because it was a Sunday?

At other times Naples looked like a pretty doll whacked and tossed in a bin by its insolent owner. Garbage, not having been collected for months, was everywhere and in overwhelming proportions (none of that is included in these pictures – we like pretty pictures :D ).

We had originally planned to spend this day in Florence but had rather spontaneously jumped on the route to Naples. We are so driven by whim. It is nice to come to a place without any preconceived notions and create impressions solely based on personal experiences. Although, when I got friendly suggestions about keeping my camera, which was around my neck (tourist-style), out of sight from muggers, I felt foolish, specially because we were not sticking to tourist trails, many streets were deserted because it was Easter Sunday, and we looked nothing like the locals :D Nothing happened though. On the contrary, we couldn’t imagine meeting more agreeable people.

In the morning, on the small alleys between Rettifilo and Via Nuova Marina, we watched a local church group, all dressed in white, sing Easter songs. The group collected donations and walked to Piazza del Mercato. There we left them and continued along Via Marina. We also got to see this peculiar style of trade - women in balconies lowered buckets, which vendors on the street filled with their wares - meat/ bread/ milk. Coins that were showered in payment were casually picked up by the vendors. Reminded me of when once back in India I forgot a book in a taxi and the driver called to give me his address and let me pick it up the following day. Standing in her balcony, his wife let down a blue bucket from which I collected my then half read book - The Amulet of Samarkand. Neat, i thought!

We stopped at Santa Maria la Nova where Easter mass had just started - everybody was nicely dressed and the mood was festive. From there we headed west and found our way up to Corso Vittorio Emanuele - recommended for a nice workout and great view. It was so nice to see colorful clothes swaying in the wind hanging on clothes lines stretched between buildings – a sight also common in India except that clothes lines are seldom tied across buildings but instead in balconies or back yards :D I think clothes dry best in the sun, better than in a tumble dryer.

Our afternoon passed in a park on Via Fransesco Caracciolo reading a book and taking pictures of bugs. Naples (well most of Italy really) seems to be particularly keen on afternoon naps. When the city woke up we gorged on pizza and spaghetti on Via Nazario. In the evening we watched street football and street cricket, watched street performances on Piazza Plebiscito - the grandest square in Naples, and got fascinated by the grandness of Gallerie Umberto I.

At the end of our cheapest day in Italy - a day of aimless wandering - we sipped caramel tea chatting with the night shift receptionist at Hotel Esedra, who was super friendly and had perfected her British accent, about the lovely city.

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