Why are we blogging?

We thoroughly enjoyed the blogs from those on the World Cruise 2010. They were so useful and some were also very entertaining and so we we started our own, late 2010, ready for the 2011 cruise(s).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 43 - Naples, traffic, more traffic and yet more traffic - July 6th

Sleeping with the ranch-slider open obviously did us no harm, as apart from a bout of coughing (again – from me), we had a good night and thankfully, Paula was much, much better, so much so that she was out of bed and taking photographs as the ship backed into its berth.  Up for breakfast and it was almost deserted, so tinned peaches and prunes plus a slice of under ripe mango were round one.  We haven't really had mangoes yet so quite why they are out before being ripe is another mystery.  Strange, that as my usual brunch back home is almost always eggs, here, having the bowl of fruit early is enough first thing and totally changing my systems! The delicious doughnuts don't help...

We ambled off the ship after the main tours had already gone and passed through a pleasant modern terminal building that had several decent shops. Not market stalls, shops.  From our balcony we could see the open topped 'Hop On - Hop Off' bus, but this was just a shuttle a couple of hundred metres to the other side of the castle, (an easy walk) where we hopped on another bus for the "Blue Route". The 24 hour fare is €22 each and covers all routes operating on that day.  Today, it was Red, Blue and Purple only.  The Green route wasn't running.

Hint for future cruisers: The bus has an on board Visa terminal, but it wouldn't accept my chip & pin credit card!  "Have you got another card?" is not what you want to hear when you are carrying limited local cash.  The bus does NOT have air conditioning either.

We paid cash. The traffic around Naples is horrendous. Quite how most driver's of two wheelers survive is totally beyond me, as they roar between cars and buses with gay abandon, swerving from lane to lane and diving through what appear to be impossible gaps.  The bus drivers were just tremendous, manoeuvring between badly parked cars and trucks with virtually nothing to spare, seemingly oblivious to the two wheel brigade.  It is an impossible city in a large car and about 95% were small 2 door hatchbacks, mainly Fiats of course, but a fair sprinkling of Lancias and much to my surprise, loads of Peugeots too.  I even saw a couple of Rovers!  This is not a city to show off your large 4WD.

The Blue route was 45 minutes of stop start driving (mainly stop), around the north eastern sector of the inner city.  Once back at the terminus, the boards were changed from blue to red and we set off again for another 75 minutes on the same bus.  With the eight language commentary via earphones, I love this system, as it is 100% optional.  I opted to enjoy the drive and Paula took note of the commentary.  The Red route covers about 40% of the Blue route, plus an extension north.

What a shame that Naples with its fine buildings, hasn't got the graffiti under control.  When you see an historic building badly defaced, with each of about ten massive pillars disfigured by 1 metre high white letters, it is extremely sad, and much of this fine city is scarred.  Having been to Athens just a couple of days earlier, and seen the same, it really is sad that these local morons do not appreciate and respect their fine cities.   They have so much that Australia, NZ and America do not have – real history and many examples of really fine architecture.

Having survived the Red route, we hopped off, grabbed a can of cold drink from a street vendor for €1.50, sheltered at the castle for a few minutes, then hopped onto the next bus doing the Purple route, out west along the bay for a much longer (in distance) tour of 75 minutes.  It doesn't seem to matter where you are, someone will be carrying out road-works and reducing two or three lanes down to one.  I think it took us 15 mins at one such hold up – and we thought this route would be the one with the least hold ups!

This route twists and climbs along some fine streets and past some fine residential buildings, but it seems that many obviously do not have gardens or drying facilities, judging by the amount of laundry hanging over balconies.  You didn't need to look to know that the streets were cobbled either.

For future cruisers:  The last stop before the terminus on this route is the port, so that is where we hopped off.

A two minute walk through the modern terminal building (unless you decide to shop of course) and you are back at the ship.

We enjoyed the day and obviously, you can get on and off to suit but having been off colour and trying to pace ourselves for this leg, we didn't.  An interesting city but in many respects, as chaotic as India when it comes to moving around.  Would we want to return?  Probably not.

An early return naturally meant a quick trip to the buffet to satisfy the systems and re-hydrate, as we elect to stay out of the sun and the open top of the bus is not ideal for us, so we always stay inside, but the downside is that it can be a bit warm and the photo opportunities are much better from upstairs.

Our gang met as usual and opted for the outdoor eating experience again.  Sydneyite Garry (a keen blues fan – not the music, the team) lost his bet regarding some strange game they play in Australia with a misshapen ball, and as a penance, had to wear the opposition's colours of maroon, kindly provided by Arnold.  As Queensland have won this particular series for about the last 8 years, he was on fairly safe ground – and revelled in it.

Afterwards, the sailaway was delayed (yes, again) by an hour, presumably to do with Pilot and ferry traffic problems (again) though the ship's crew are more than capable of finding their own way out, but that is the system and they are stuck with it.  Paula and I headed for the theatre to watch the movie "Dagenham".  Most enjoyable – then to bed.

A big relief that Paula was much better, though not 100% by any means, at least we were able to sample Naples.  I the second last pic of the container ferry, ahead of it in the distance is Mt Vesuvius. Little did we know as young boys, on fireworks night, that our "Mt Vesuvius" firework was modelled on that volcano, that erupted in 79AD. 

For me, never having been to the Med before, each day is a taster and quite frankly, it takes a lot of beating, compared to arriving by air, hanging around airports for several hours and possible delays.  At most ports so far, we simply slot our cruise card into the ships reader when we get off, show it at gate security when we get back on, and pop it into the reader again.  No hassles.  I have even learned that putting my compact camera into a trouser pocket doesn't set off the alarm either.

Tomorrow, Rome...  All these port days inevitably mean the blogs will now be a bit late as we have to slot them in when we can and have shuffled through and selected from a couple of hundred pics, then reduced them in size. The internet tends to be clogged at times too.   Just a note regarding the pics.  Shooting through the coach windows is like shooting through a blue filter, so some colour correction has usually been applied.  The same applies to some early morning shots.


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