By mid-winter, the imperative is clear: get somewhere sunny. The UK skies are too much for me, I feel like my brain is broken: fat, useless, old.
Why Naples? It certainly wasn’t because of the Amalfi Coast, or Pompeii, or even Vesuvius. Once upon a time I watched a documentary and they described Naples as the city where you go to hire an assassin. It’s where they tried (and succeeded?) to kill Caravaggio. It’s where the stiletto knife was invented. That’s enough drama and gore to convince me!
I then discovered that it was waayy cheaper to fly into Rome and get the train down to Naples than fly direct. The flight to Rome was £74 and the train to Naples was €9 each way. I’d been to Rome as a child so I figured it could be fun.
I went for only six days in total (I had things to do back home): 2 in Rome and 4 in Naples. I spent a grand total of €310 (excluding flights and hostel deposit). I got a tan. I did not get a heat rash. This is a major success.
Day One: a holiday whirlwind.
I flew with Ryanair (praise be to Ryanair) on an early flight that got into Rome around midday. It costs €3.90 to get the bus into town from Fuimicino airport: it’s cheaper to get the return but I didn’t want to commit to a certain time. Turns out I forgot we were in Italy and it is basically an open return, but the difference is only a few euros.
I stayed in a hostel near the station. It was nice and clean, although they charged me tax despite my Italian YHA membership which got my gander. It was also quite expensive, €25 a night, but that’s Rome for you! At first the atmosphere was not good, but that all improved later on…
I’d pre-booked a tour of the Colosseum, which cost €18.50 from here. You have to buy an entry ticket (€7.50 + €2 booking fee) plus the tour ticket (€5). It felt a little pricy to me but the €7.50 entry also gets you into the Palatine Hill and the Forum, which is quite good really. (Thank you to Alexandra for helping me get this right!)
I don’t need a tour: I’m a bit of a history buff and know quite a lot about it already. However, the big change from when I went as a kid was that they have restored and opened the basement and top level… and you can’t go without a tour. The tour was in the early evening, so I got there nice and early (with some church-themed sightseeing along the way) and did some tourist watching.
I almost missed the tour, in the end: turns out they meet down by the ticket hall, around to the left. Nonetheless it was great, a bit slow, but I got to see everything I wanted. I regularly recommend it to my friends, because the views from the top are just so great. I think the guide expected to get a tip but nobody else did so I slunk quietly away…
After the tour, I considered going straight on into the forum (it was all included in my €11 ticket) but since it was valid for 48-hours I decided to go the next day. Instead, I wandered back to the hostel.
What happened next is a little fuzzy. I made friends with a South African in my room, and we hit up the common room together. There was free Sangria and crisps but she wasn’t keen so I had to shake her off… Returning to the free booze (free booze!) I made friends with some other people. Once they took the booze away we went to the hostel’s other location, where they were having some sort of party. There were tokens, there were mojitos, there was a raffle, and our little group won two bottles of wine. By this point it was 3am so we smashed the wine and tripped back to our hostel. I then lost them and passed out in my bunk.
The only problem was, I had booked a tour of the Vatican museum for 9am the next day…
Until next time x