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Norwegian Gem Mediterranean Cruise in November: Naples (the City of Dog Shit) – Entry 2

Wednesday -- Pompeii (Naples)

All the information I read before the trip stated that Naples would be a gritty, trashy-looking place. And that was spot on. Naples looked very ghetto in a lot of ways. All of the apartment building were run-down and old, and the trash was everywhere. This is also a city where people apparently love their dogs, but have no concept of picking up their shit. It was all over the sidewalks. All over the place.

We seemed to be two of the only people from the ship that decided to walk from the port to the train station, and thank God for cruiser Tom Ogg. It was only because of his step-by-step directions (with pictures) that we were able to easily find the place. (Tom Ogg has posted a plethora of information to the Internet – just google his name and your cruise port destination, and you’ll probably find something very useful).

On the way to the train station, the sidewalk stopped. Actually, it was closed for construction, and this forced us to walk right out on the main highway. Luckily, the traffic was so bad that we were walking faster than the cars, but then the cars would speed passed us from time-to-time, and we had no shoulder to walk on. Instead, we were pushed up against a fence, simply hoping that no cars would edge over too close in our direction. And then of course there were all the mopeds and motorcycles that cut in and out of traffic. We finally managed to cross the street and find an open sidewalk, but it was a bit hairy for a while.

Looking down the side streets was like looking into an Italian labyrinth. We felt pretty safe sticking to the main artery, all things considered, but just going off a block or two in any direction might be enough for us to be forever lost. Sometimes someone would stick their head out of an alley door and just stare. It made you wonder what was on their mind.

The train station reminded me a little bit of the Chicago’s, but maybe that’s because I don’t use public transportation that often…

Our mission today was to go to Pompeii. The cruise-sponsored tour would have cost us $95 per person, but train tickets were only 9 Euros round trip for both of us, and the entry fee was 11 Euros per person. In other words, we saved about $150 doing it on our own. The train ride itself only took 30 minutes, and the station was literally right outside the main gate to Pompeii.

If you’ve never been to Pompeii, you’ll have a difficult time imagining just how big it really is. We had thought about visiting Capri in the morning and Pompeii in the afternoon, but in the end, we stuck to just tackling Pompeii, and that was a very smart decision. All told, we ended up staying there 5 or 6 hours, and we didn’t even see probably 1/5 of it. We caught the major highlights, though, and we saw much more than our fellow cruisers that used the cruise-sponsored trip. The main coliseum in Pompeii, for example, is in the far back corner of the property, and I’m sure no group tours went all the way back to see it. Pity, too, because it was amazing.

I generally hate doing the same things that all the tourists do, but I went in to this cruise knowing that we’d be doing touristy things. So far, though, it hasn’t been a bad thing. Pompeii is a must-see. Just give yourself plenty of time, bring plenty of water, and don’t forget to use the bathroom before you enter!

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