Naples…You Grew on me

Been a little slow on the blog front with starting back teaching, but as promised here is my account of solo travel in Naples.

I’d heard a lot of things about Naples before I arrived with regards to safety and cleanliness. Even after hearing these things I was excited. I quickly found that the contrast from Naples to my previous stay in Sorrento was huge….

First Impressions

Deciding to walk from the train station to my BnB with a backpack in 34 degree heat wasn’t my cleverest moment. I was met by a sudden sense of s**t what have I done?! Noisy, crazy traffic, people begging and asking for money for their bambino’s, graffiti and I couldn’t help but notice the amount of litter. Least to say it felt very grimy.

When I finally arrived at my BnB (in the heart of the historical centre) hot and sweaty and overwhelmed, the balcony view of my room took some getting used to🤔😂:

I went to bed that night unsure of what the following days may hold…

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

I woke up the next day and after reading my guide book, I was determined to give Naples a chance. However I was taking no chances with security, you know, just in case🙈

Money belt strapped on and tightly clutching my camera, decided to head down to the sea front to visit Castel dell’Ovo.

As I began to walk down to the front down Via Toledo, I began to feel guilty for having such bad first impressions. I also felt a buzz and excitement when I began to realise that Naples may actually be a wonderful place.

The buildings were just beautiful and it became clear that there was plenty to see and do. I walked right up to the top of the castle and I was awarded with an amazing view of Naples and Mt Vesuvius across the sea.

Another plus of being in Naples was how cheap the food and drink was. As it was the end of the trip, I began to feel a bit strapped for cash but I had some of the best food at amazing prices.

Fried arrancini pieces and a beer at Decuamo for €3.50

I had quite a few pizzas in Naples of course! With most of them costing around 4 or 5 euros. And yes, they are the best!

Other highlights

There is so much history in Naples it was impossible to see everything. My highlights were:

The catacombs of San Gennaro

  • Underground city tour
  • Fontanelle Cemetery, which holds about eight million bones and was first used during the plague:
  • Other highlights included the museum Cappella Sanservo, which holds one of the most famous sculptures in the world of the veiled Christ. No photos allowed though!
  • I was lucky enough to stay right next to the famous historical street San Gregorio Armeno. It is famous for its figurines, shops and workshops.
  • It is safe to say that I had an amazing trip, even after being a bit overwhelmed by the place at first. Naples is such an interesting, exciting and authentic city and I loved it… eventually! As a solo traveller I thought it best not to go out at night but I would love to go back with a travel buddy to experience it further.
  • I would definitely recommend Naples as a travel destination however, my verdict is out wether it’s the best for solo travel. Oh and another valuable tip… say no to the crisps if you are drinking outside, the pigeons are pretty cocky over there 😂😱
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    Choosing Your Destination: Solo Travel

    I have just returned from my first trip as a solo traveller, exploring Rome, Sorrento and Naples. I have well and truly, as they say, ‘caught the bug.’ When my finances allow, I plan on booking my next trip. This has got me reflecting: What kind of destination is best for a solo traveller?

    City?

    Rome was fantastic. I felt safe – great public transport and so much to do and see. Being on my own seemed irrelevant.

    I found the people to be so friendly and warm, including my BnB host Fedora at Tempo Lento (I would highly recommend it). I enjoyed conversations with locals in broken Italian and English, and sat for hours chatting with people in restaurants. One day, I was even sat next to two fellow female solo travellers, which made me realise more people do this than you first think!

    In short I felt like I blended in. Obviously when choosing a place, you have to consider safety and when I arrived in Naples, I felt quite vulnerable at first. However, it began to grow on me and with so much to do I really enjoyed myself. (I plan on blogging about Naples in a separate post)

    Beach?

    I expected to enjoy Sorrento and the Amalfi coast the most… so much so I allocated the most time to this part of my trip. On my first night, I was surprised at how out of place I felt. Some examples:

    • Coming across a beautiful sunset but as you would expect, being surrounding by lots of couples showing public displays of affection.
    • Taking three times as long to get served than anybody else. Hello I’m here!
    • I picked the wrong kind of restaurant on my first night. Romantic music, couples and families and I was put at the back near the kitchen door. You live and learn.
    • Strange, long, pitying looks from other tourists. I got really good at staring back.

    It wasn’t all bad though! I started to find more laid back restaurants and cafes (such as Frankie’s bar) , as well as friendly bars (thanks English Inn!). I even got talking to a few people which made it easier. Trips to the beach, Pompeii and Positano made the trip for me.

    Marina Grande Sorrento – a beautiful spot for a peaceful sunbathe and much quieter than the other spots.

    Great street performers outside the English Inn in Sorrento.

    So when choosing the destination next time, I am more likely to choose a major city. In a city, solo travel just feels right. You blend in, enjoy the sights and mostly, are distracted and occupied by the busyness of it all. Maybe I could choose a destination that combines both city and beach like Barcelona😊 Too bad my pot is empty for now…

    Things You Hear When You Travel Solo

    Welcome to my first blog post! I have just completed my first solo travel trip to Italy which was such a positive experience, as well as an eye opener!

    Here are some things I heard along the way, coupled with the things I wish I would have said…

    Table for just one?

    Erm yes… I don’t see anyone else standing with me. I honestly don’t mind! Just don’t sit me in a dark corner next to the kitchen door or bin.

    It’s always nicer to have a friend though isn’t it?

    Yes it is, but that kind of defeats the concept and freedom of solo travel doesn’t it?

    You on your own?! You crazy!

    I actually felt quite sane and ‘at one with myself’ before you said that. Thanks mate! Normal is overrated anyway.

    Why are you travelling by yourself?

    This question often came from people genuinely interested who would maybe want to try it for themselves, or people who couldn’t fathom why on Earth I had chosen to do this, especially as a female.

    It’s called ‘solo travel’ I’m doing it for the freedom, excitement, adventure, self discovery…. need I go on.

    So why should you do it?

    The previous question was my favourite as it surprised me how hard it was for me to answer. Eager, expectant eyes would often follow the question, as if to await some big confession. I began to realise there wasn’t really one single reason, just that I wanted to! So that’s what I began to answer with.

    Remember: it’s okay to not have a specific reason as to why you want to do something other than simply that…. that you just feel like it! This was a big deal for me as I’ve always been the type to explain myself to people. It’s amazing the feeling of freedom this gives you. Solo travel has taught me to be free and own my own story, not anyone else’s. Try it, you might learn something too!

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