This entry is rather average compared to others, the jokes are dry and the photos are so-so. Naples simply does not deserve more.
This story begins with
JFK Skyscannerzelike all lately. I found very cheap flights to Bari and thought that the south of Italy, the beach, cheap neighborhoods and afternoon rounds flat is what I need. Especially that the flights were extremely good: on Friday after work, departure and return on Monday morning, just in time for a 9-day break. Due to the fact that the booking discriminates financially with people traveling alone, and Panda is just working, I wrote to my holiday distribution list of people who could join. In short, to almost all of your friends. Fortunately, every fourth of them agreed, so there were two of us.
It quickly turned out that Łukasz, who joined me, is at least the same cebulakiem and he proposed Naples, to which the flight was even cheaper. Looking at the map, it's the same as Bari, because after all Italy and the sea, just on the other side. What could go wrong? At the last moment, when I bought a ticket, something touched me and changed my 9-day trip, for a 4-day trip (Friday-Monday). I do not know how it happened, but if it was a supernatural force that watches over me, thank you very much!
You can talk and talk about it all, you can paint, but what you see exceeds all imagination. Shores, bays, Vesuvius, cities, suburbs, castles, villas! I forgive everyone who goes out of their mind in Naples
I think that since the eighteenth century a little has changed in this city, and although I agree with Goethe's quote, I think I understand it a little differently. Let's start with the most important one in each entry, namely:
Costs, or how much is cancer
We pay for three nights for two people $ 500
For flights for two people (departure on Friday morning, return on Monday straight to work), together with bicycles, we pay in total: 900zł
Street pizza, one-person (3-5 euro)
In stores a little more expensive, but decent (they are LIDLe!)
The whole trip calmly closed in a 3-digit amount.
Apartment with a concierge, but no toilet seat
We get the first shot in the face a moment after leaving the airport. We especially found the accommodation so close that one could get to it from the shoe, going with a bicycle case. We live in Camera in Villa, which is located 2.3 km from the exit from the port (as it turns out on the way back, MyTaxi taxi with suitcases is 28 euros). There is a good way to get there - if you like paving stones, barking dogs locked in cages, rubbish and squeezing through the brushwood (according to Google's pedestrian directions). "We've hit a bad neighborhood" is our first thought. At that time, we did not know that the whole city is pathology.
To encourage you to choose the same accommodation as us, I present a comprehensive list of all its pluses: it is cheap.
We land in an apartment, located in a few-family house (as all in the area), sharing it with the owner. Bicycles, like real hard-surfers, we keep in the garden secured only by the entrance gate to the estate. We ourselves are 3 castles further (entrance to the house, entrance to the apartment, entrance to the room).
The apartment is OK, although it does not have unnecessary luxuries such as a toilet seat, so you sit on this cold (or again I mistook the toilet with the bidet). There is a real private concierge - the owner of the apartment. I have to admit that I did not expect his sight when I opened my eyes for the first time in the morning - a nice gentleman stood over us asking if we would like coffee. That day we learned to close the room.
On the second day, the concierge loses his voice, from then on he communicates with us using the Google translator that reads everything on the phone. As Italy, of course, it does not do it in the way you would expect. He writes the message in Italian, and then starts reading the Italian message ... in Italian. Talking with Italy is a higher level of abstraction in general.
How many words do you need to ...
I have never met anyone who would have needed so many words to give so little information. Regardless of what Italy is trying to tell you, his statement looks as if by the way he attached to the speech a not very short history of the area, beginning somewhere near the outbreak of Vesuvius.
Such a situation: we buy a ticket for a suburban train - we ask for two normal and two for bicycles. The conversation looks like this:
- Due a Napoli con bici
- Thousand words NO BICI, a thousand words, NO BICI, a thousand words
- Bici no OK?
- one thousand words NO BICI, one thousand words, NO BICI, one thousand words (plus waving hands that absolutely must not be)
- Bici OK?
- BICI NO, a thousand words, OK.
The guest gives us tickets and we go through the gates and enter the train. The situation with the train is repeated at other stations.
It probably works here similarly to traffic rules and a few other aspects of life: if something is not allowed, but you want it very slowly. For example, driving at a red light, killing, selling drugs, littering etc.
Generally, any information that could be conveyed in a maximum of three universal words is enclosed here to the size of the description of nature in "Pan Tadeusz".
I am not surprised that a large part of the communication was replaced with a horn. The horn expresses more than a thousand words, so everyone here trumpets everyone.
Let's have it behind us: Naples is the worst city I've ever been in. It is worth noting that I am writing this from the perspective of a classic Polish cottage, who does not understand why people visit ruins, and most of the monuments do not make a special impression on me. I have the impression that this is one of those places you visit, because others visit them, but maybe my perspective is too limited. Especially that most of the things seen there are "reconstructed" anyway, because they have suffered a bit during the war.
Yes, the famous Pompeii lies next to Naples and it is very easy to know them: the number of Americans is growing here by basilion percent.
va fa Napoli!
You remember Joey from Friends? He is an Italian curse va fa Napoli! which means go to Naples or in a less blunt version: "go in ...". I understand him, so I will speak from today.
I imagine that Naples can be liked. If in the past you liked to spend holidays in Łódź Fabryczna or at the station in Katowice, and your dream "weekend in warm countries" is a visit to Marrakech, then here you will get the same, only more. Much more.
Is it safe? I do not know, people say no, but nothing unpleasant has happened to us. Maybe because we did not part with the bikes and in the evenings we blended in with the crowd at nearby pizzerias. Luke, however, returns without a bicycle meter, but it's probably because he turned over going through the felling of trees and fell out somewhere, but you know how it is. Maybe no one has stolen, but there is no counter and the disgust remains ;-)
What to do with a bike in Naples?
Get out of it by train.
Do not make the mistake of us, do not go to Naples with a bike - it does not make sense. If you have already done so, the option you have is only one - get on the nearest station to the train and wait half an hour. We, as befits a tough guy, try to get out of the city by bike. Although we live on the edge, this experience has permanently left a mark on my psyche. He joined the first bike ride without a stick at the back, the first visit at Babka Roundabout, the first time trial with a tall cone in the wind and the first start of a real mountain MTB race. Roads are bad, huge traffic, no rules. The first 30km is well over 1.5 hours of continuous battle. After this time, we want to quit cycling. We also reach one of the three planned places:
Three places to rule everyone
1. The guest did not come to Vesuvius and tells people how to live.
We do not enter the Vesuvius, there are many reasons. The driveway itself is 11.5 km with an average of 8%, but it is too close to this pathological city and is too obvious. The escape syndrome does not allow us to drive so close to these patches.
2. Amalfi sralfi ... or no, I do not know
We reach Amalfi on the first day by bike. A big mistake, don't make it. You can go to Amalfi by train (which is not allowed with the bike, but if you want it slowly). It's best to get off at Castellammare Di Stabia - it's a very pleasant line along the coast or go straight to Sorrento by another line (it's only 36 stations from central ;)). The most legitimate loop in my opinion looks like this:
We go to the Amalfi Coast twice. Our impressions from Friday and Sunday visit are extremely different. Let's start with the first one, during which we only wanted one - move to the asphalt leading to Gassów near Warsaw.
We move straight out of the house. We're going through narrow streets, crowded, noisy. The struggle for life begins at the first intersection. I wonder why the policewoman who stands on it does not manage this chaos. Do they cover her garbage? I am also wondering what is going on with the obscenely short pants she wears. It was only Łukasz who made me aware that THIS WAS NOT A POLICEMAN. Loudly says, "Maciek zobacz, civilized world."
This city is like from the descriptions in Rorschach's journals. Fallen, non-compliant, combining history with modern corruption. I rarely think that if there was a chance, I would get off my bike and get home immediately. Even the sand on the blue water-covered beaches (public ones) looks more like a dumpster than a place of rest. Before we get to Sorrento (one of the few pretty cities in the area, although incredibly crowded), we only have pain in our heads.
But that does not matter, on this day we will have to cross the entire Amalfi coast, to Salerno, where we will return by train. One of the most beautiful shores of the world ... apparently. This is another point removed from the list of the best roads on the coasts on the side of the dangerousroads (unvisited list shrinks very quickly lately): https://www.dangerousroads.org/rankings23/4923-the-best-coastal-drives-in-the-world.html
Along the way, we find several more or less twisted streets, as in the photo below. Unfortunately, we also avoid the driveway to Monte Faito, where I counted on 35 successive serpentine maps.
See the results of the word Amalfi in Google Images (reduce the contrast of the monitor because you burned your eyes). What does Amalfi associate with us? Mainly with this view:
Because what about the fact that we have big cliffs, beautiful (let's say) towns and the vastness of the sea at the same time, since we also have a string of cars, scooters and buses. All nervous: buses can not get away, scooters go slower than bicycles, cars look for a parking space for tens of kilometers, and drivers of lofty Mercedes Vito and Viano sleep on the roadside, waiting for the elite tourists they brought here.
The piston and experience from several kilometers ago make it completely irrelevant whether it is nice here or not. We are so miserable that we just cringe behind buses. We pass DISTANCES Positano, Praiano and Amalfi. I do not know if they are not as impressive as I expected, or maybe my brain is no longer recording emotions. Or maybe just other coasts were much better: Big Sur in the States, GC-200 on Gran Canaria, Anaga Park in Tenerife, SH8 in Albania, Norway... long to exchange.
It all hurts a little. Two days later, instead of climbing into Vesuvius, we decide to give Amalfi one more chance - this time richer for one, very important information: NEAPOL IS TRAINED.
It's a hit and this time it's completely different. It's hard to say how it affected Sunday, and how much the fact that the weather does not spoil this day: the burning sun and downpours change. We also modify the route slightly by crossing the mountains as on the map above. On top of it is a monument to Fausto Coppi. We're moving clockwise, so the best drive of the day is for us the exit. Is this a good choice? It depends on your preferences.
One thing is certain - from this peak, San Michele, it is really strong. We are located some 700 meters vertically above sea level and the same in level. It makes us see mainly the towns, the coastline and the endless sea. To say that the streets are empty on this day would be a lie, but the movement, both at the descent and on the entire coast, is as it should be. In driving, it does not bother you, and what follows - it gets quite nice.
We go to the east by the coast until we circle the entire peninsula and land in the previously mentioned Sorento. The loop raises an important question for us: can this place be recommended to someone?
Well, I do not know. If I based my opinion on a Sunday ride, I would say it could be. Based on Friday, I would say ugly words to my lips. I am sure, however, that a visit here during the summer months is pure masochism.
The coast is really nice - being in Naples is worth going here (probably targeting very early morning or clearly out of season), but to pick this direction as the main destination of departure? I doubt it. If you are not a pervert of Italian architecture, there are many nicer places in Europe (in my opinion - Internet claim differently).
It should also be added that the most impressive views are those from roads located slightly higher than the main thoroughfare, and the exit from San Michele is one of the two biggest attractions of the trip, right next to:
3. Santuario Di Montevergine, or WTF ?!
I confess, I have never heard of the driveway to Santuario Di Montevergine. It's interesting, because it was one of the finishes at last year's Giro. In fact, this whole loop had one goal - to cross the hill. Departing from Naples to the east is not as dramatic as to the south, but you can easily go by suburban train to Cervinara and return on the other side of the mountain, e.g. from the station in Nola. The hardcore knights will be able to lengthen the loop confidently through the cool hills south and end in Salerno.
The hill we cover on this day consists of two completely different ramps. From the south is an infinite number of exposed serpentines, covered with perfect asphalt. In my opinion, on the scale of "how impressive it impresses me", the road is ranked somewhere near Stelvio. It looks like abstraction, the wet sleep of the road and the ill designer's idea. Including the fragment after skipping the Sanctuary, I counted 27 relapses placed on a relatively short distance. We beat him down, thanks to which we have a panorama of villages located in the valley all the time.
We drive up from the north and I admit honestly: it's quite hardcore!
Strava says something close to 10% on this segment, only that the driveway is slightly longer and slightly less stable than it would seem. This is one of the worst types - there are serpentine but the slope often exceeding 15%, different surface conditions and the surrounding forest take away all hope. Along the way, it seems that we are breaking the law because we are entering the ban, but this is Italy - if we really want, we can. Karma gets us anyway, because passing through the felling just under way Łukasz first falls over and loses the counter (which is never found again), then he catches a slipper. Changing the inner tube on an off-road road, in the shade, at an altitude of over 1300m, in May is a dubious joy. Yes, the surface varies, but at no time would I call it a nuisance for a 25mm tire. I have the impression, however, that it is much better to ride it up than down. Views appear only in those short moments when you find a gap in the forest.
And what is happening at the congress is, as mentioned above, an abstract work of art. As usually happens in such places, the drone I manage to fire only for a moment. Apart from the fact that I forgot additional batteries, immediately after the start I am informed by reports of too strong wind to fly, too much interference and low temperature. Adding to this an infinitely long list of flying bans in Italy, I only have a moment to do it Golden shot. I can not do it, of course, because flying the drone is not as easy as I've always imagined - it does not cover the whole congress and I have to divide it into two photos. Then we are only 15km down with an average of 5%, a few serpentines to get out of the valley and a very long straight to Naples, which you can stop at any moment by reflection on the railway station.
The driveway to Santuario Di Montevergine is the only place in the area to which I could consider returning. I will gladly return there if one day I am within a radius of, say, 150km.
Scampia, Secondigliano - pathology with panache
This entry would be incomplete if I did not go to probably the most known (and most infamous) neighborhood in Naples. Scampia, because we talk about it, is recognized much better lately, thanks to the loud and quite good Italian series: Gomorra. Residents reportedly protested against showing their city as it was done in the series - unfortunately, in my opinion, the city in it was shown too lightly. You can read a lot about the district on the internet - in short it is (or rather was) a mainstay of the local mafia, and consequently - a district of poverty, drug addiction, pathology and many deeds that strongly contribute to the unhappy history of this city.
Before visiting this type of place I have serious resistance, because if you do not look at it, it is a manifestation of poverty-tourism, which I despise a bit. You are going to watch how bad people are and how hard they live. In the depths of my soul, I explain to myself that I'm mainly interested in architecture and blocks of flats. Besides, the settlements are supposedly going to be liquidated (whatever that means), so this is the last moment. Just in case, I go on a Sunday morning, when all normal (and abnormal, I hope too) people are still asleep.
What is Scampia?
Well, it's bad, even very bad. Falling blocks, partially destined for demolition, dirt and rubbish, battered cars, scattered scooters - the landscape resembles that known from Chernobyl films, but seeing on the laundry laundry quickly realizes that people still live here. Subtitles appearing on all buildings no Gomorra they suggest that more people have probably been going to this place lately - perhaps because of the show.
The landscape is unpleasant, but not as shocking as one would expect. Of course, the visit here to the average inhabitant of rich regions can be quite an experience, but as a man growing up in Silesia in the 90's these are not views that I would not have expected. It's a bit more run down and a bit more fancy as far as the layout of the Jastrzębie blocks is concerned. Here, everything is more and more on a larger scale. Pathology with panache.
I did not get it.
After sharing my not very positive insights from Naples, a lot of people wrote to me that I did not understand this city and that they were loves or hates. Yes, I have seen such statements on the internet. After a while, however, it turns out that everyone is going for a bike to Naplesthey really live at a proper distance from him. This was not an entry about the Campania in which Naples is located, but about the city that we decided to take as a starting point. As such - Naples does not work. It does not work well for us as a city worth visiting for a weekend.
It's the perfect place to come back from. When I was leaving the airport, I thought so it's so beautiful hereand it was Racławicka.
Sure, maybe I do not understand, maybe I have not tried enough, but having so many great cities in Europe, I really prefer to choose those that are not dirty, dangerous and crowded ... and if they are (like Tirana) then at least it is easy to escape from them.