By Bob Corbett
The general and good news is we’ve had two simply awesome days in Naples and tonight, late, will take a train to Palermo, Sicily, then a bus to the small village of Terrasini.
Somehow I LOST my two credit cards. How in the hell does someone do that? I can't imagine, but I did. Two days ago. I just checked both banks and nothing has been charged and I'm in the process of having the cards cancelled. Sally's cards can get us through the trip, so no harm is done as long as
-- no charges are made
-- the cards do get cancelled
[Later, back in St. Louis. We never found the cards and no attempts were ever Made to use either of them. I now have new cards. Very odd.]
And, we had two serious contacts with pickpockets on the Naples buses. Yesterday was really hard. We were standing, crammed like sardines in a bus. Three burly guys, all in the 50s got on and targeted Sally and me. We both do have travel vests and everything of value was in zippered inside pockets, so they were utterly frustrated not being able to get AT anything. They did steal a small pamphlet-sized book Sally had on Assisi, Italy, but that's no great loss. It was from the 1980s when I first visited there and was probably quite out of date.
Nothing else. Today was just bizarre. We were getting on an EMPTY bus at the bus depot. I kid you not. No passengers. We got on and again a different three burly guys in their 50s, not the same guys got on. They tried to force me into the middle of them when I was trying to click our day-long bus passes. But Sally was sitting down. I was clicking the bus tickets in the machine. But I just gave one guy a big shove into the other two and sat as well. They screamed at us, but then go off the bus in a hurry.
Despite those inconveniences (the lost cards) and those rather unsettling moments (the pickpockets), I simply adore this city. It is huge, dirty, loud, brawling, run-down and simply awesome. I love it. One of my favorite places to visit.
[Addendum from later in St. Louis. It turned out that several days later Sally found the Assisi pamphlet in a different place, so the pickpockets got absolutely nothing from us on either try. Our marvelous travel vests really saved it.]
Today we took a full hour's bus ride out to a village called Pozzuoli. It is a small sea-side town, seems to be a yacht club area and very lovely with a ruined, but well-maintained Roman Forum, I guess it's actually a Pozzuoli Forum isn't it? There are lots of small streets and it is so quiet it is shocking in comparison with Naples. We were just taking a long bus ride for the sightseeing. But, the bus was to stop for 10 minutes at this end-line and Sally said she'd walk over and see the forum, then I realized this is crazy, we should stay here a while. So I hurried off the bus to join her and we spent some lovely hours in this town. Then we selected a lovely little restaurant with outdoor tables about two blocks from the sea on a hill side with our table overlooking the sea.
What a stunning meal. I had the linguini seafood filled with mussels and clams so fresh they must have breakfasted with their families this morning. Sally, who isn't a seafood lover had a very nice plate of spaghetti Boulougnese. The waiter recommended the local wine and much against my better judgment we took it. Oh my goodness it was a lovely red, reminiscent of a fruity pinot noir and it was 5 Euro served to our table. Good grief, that's about $6.50 US. I can't buy a wine close to that quality at a store for that price in St. Louis. We finished our meal with a lovely fresh green salad with some of the most unusual and tasty greens I've every had. Nothing on them but olive oil and each of us with a 1/2 lemon to add. We are simply stuffed.
Back in Naples we went down onto the gigantic rocks (as large as dinning tables and squareish cubes. I say squareish since they are all sort of shapes and sizes. Walking on them is hard but we loved it and sat looking back on the curing bay of Naples, a stunning sight.
Tonight we take a train at 11 PM to Palermo, Sicily. We arrive there early in the morning and will immediately find a bus the forty or so miles to the sea-side village of Terrasini where the Sharamitaro family came from. It will be Saturday and offices won't be open, but Sally’s son Joe sent us a url for the Terrasini phone book and I copied the names and addresses of several Sharamitaros. We will go knocking on doors and see who we can meet.
This trip is only three days old and it is just awesome. I'm loving NEARLY every second. Could have done without the experience of the pickpockets, or at least one of the experiences (one would have been fun), and do regret the loss of the credit cards. Otherwise, onward. I can't wait to get back into Sicily it's been a very long time for me, I think nearly 10 years.
Bob Corbett firstname.lastname@example.org