Last weekend I went on a short trip to Naples. All I packed was my camera, some euros and my toiletries. Armed and ready to take as many pictures of crumbling ruins, and eat as much pizza as possible.
This was the first holiday I have ever taken alone. But when I saw the price of £60 direct filght, return to Italy, I was too excited to even care about going by myself.
I urge anyone who does want to travel and spots a bargain, to just go for it. I stayed in a very lovely hostel called La Controra, where the staff were so friendly and welcoming. There were also plenty of people by themselves also, who just wanted to chat in the very cool bar and cafe area.
Naples has a reputation for being shabby looking, with buildings falling apart and streets full of rubbish. It does have this, it’s true. But it’s somehow charming. The city itself is difficult to walk, as it seems to go uphill then downhill then uphill again, a lot. But the long narrow crowded streets, with balconies overspilling with washing, and scooters whizzing inbetween the corners, are part of the experience in Naples.
But as for actual sites, the city has 3 castles and one of the castles (Sant’Elmo) has the best view of the city of Naples.
The trip there is almost as fun. To get to the Castel Sant’Elmo, you need to take the furnicular to the last stop and then continuing walking uphill. Luckily, there is an elevator to the top of this old, medieval fortress. For EU students, the price to go up is €2.50, which is nothing for the spectacular view of Naples you receive in return.
Naples is on the coast and has a port where you can easily catch a cheap boat to the Amalfi coast or to Capri. Maybe next time I will see the beautiful Amalfi coast.
Italy has a lot of history and you cannot avoid it. After I went to Pompeii, I went to the National Archaeological Museum of Naples where they have moved all of the precious mosaics, frescoes, statues, and pottery found in Pompeii to.
No trip to Naples is complete without a visit to Pompeii, the Ancient city which was devastated by the eruption of nearby volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
The area allows tourists. (Usually for €11, but if you’re an EU student €5.50.) But some of it is still closed off and being excavated.
It is a real treat to wander the streets of the dead city. Visitors are allowed to go inside the houses, some with old fire ovens, pots, few with frescoes still on the walls. One particular house attracted a lot of attention: the brothel. The brothel still had beds made out of stone, as well as interesting frescoes above the doors.
But Pompeii had other things to offer. There were the remains of thermal baths, amphitheatres and temples.
One of the most interesting museums I went into was the contemporary art museum, MADRE. The museum was close to the Duomo (the huge Cathedral). But was very empty inside. Nevertheless, it had a very cool current display of German pop artist Thomas Bayrle’s work.
But it also had some exhibitions that stayed there all the time. Including a piece by Anish Kapoor. One very interesting artist traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2001 to find a hotel he stayed in before the Soviet invasion in 1979, using only a photograph he took at the time. He documented how much the city had changed since he had been. How difficult the buildings and the people were. How years of terror had shaped the city. Luckily he found his hotel in the end.
So, I hope I have inspired anyone thinking of holidaying alone to go and do it!