An Italian, Greek and Turkish love affair

As you would know from reading my previous post, l left Certaldo and headed south to Napoli for a few days. I took Flixbus, which was very easy except something obviously had to go wrong in travel for me and the first bus l was on got a flat tire so l was eventually moved to a second bus. In Napoli, l stayed at a hostel called 6 small rooms. The hostel wasn’t quite in the old historical centre but l knew this so l wasn’t bothered because a short 20-minute walk and l was there. It is located down a back alley and at the top of 6 flights of stairs which is not fantastic especially when you need to take your bag all the way up. The hostel is nice and small but l was slightly let down a little by the staff and their attitude to the place because only one of them introduced themselves to me and that was because he was checking me in and for a small place with the rooms so close to a common area had a noise curfew of 12am meaning the staff would play loud music from reception which was easily heard from every room upstairs (there are rooms on the floor below), the fact thatthey were not being paid might have be why some lack of motivation existed however l didn’t let this bother me and made the most of it.

The next day for me was raining in the morning but it was the first Sunday of the month and in Napoli, that means all museums are free which lucky enough for me included Pompeii and Herculaneum. I chose not to do Mount Vesuvius after some quick google search as it was low cloud cover and while I read you can see the crater, you won’t get the views of the world below in. There is only one train line out to Pompeii and Herculaneum, so you won’t get lost but l highly suggest not getting a tour guide and just picking up a map guide yourself (l guess a good thing about my hostel, is they had some free for the guests to borrow). If you want to know more about the sites of Pompeii, another way is to walk around and stand next to a tour group for that section, but just don’t hang around for too long otherwise they will get suspicious. Herculaneum l picked up an audio guide for 8 euros which when traveling on a budget that is expensive however l justified it as l had free entry into the two sites, l could afford it. I actual though Herculaneum was a lot better than Pompeii, maybe because Pompeii was bigger and more spread out but Herculaneum has more preserved paintings and a lot less people. On a side note, when in Pompeii and you make it to the thermal baths, in the main room, you will look up and see a window up high, face it and cover the light with your hand, below the window you will see something but l will leave it as a mystery for you to discover yourself.

That night, once back at the hostel, l met another Australian in Lily from Perth and l convinced her we should go get some of the best pizza in the world as Napoli is where margarita pizza was born however due to our ‘fantastic’ hostel staff, we walked around all Sunday night to one of the top 4 places to find they were all closed and we when we got back we mentioned it to them and the response we got was “yeah, they are all closed on Sundays”, on the bonus side, l got free cardio training in after the 5km walk.

Monday morning came around and l took myself off to the Napoli underground walk which is a guided tour of Napoli’s old water tunnels and bomb bunkers used in world war 2. I highly suggest this tour and it only costs 10 euros with the guide (If you get Alex, he is fantastic) for an hour and a half and then the rest of the day consisted of being lazy after looking a little around the city and finally getting a pizza as they were open and yes, it was good however l like my pizza base a little harder than it was served but the topping was amazing and that taste l will never forget and then by the time l knew it,

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Pizzeria Da Michele – The place we went too

Tuesday was upon me and l was due to leave however l did manage to get a kayak tour of Napoli in before l left which was great however lily and l unfortunately didn’t get the proper tour as one of the main sites was closed due to an Italian TV show filming there. That night l headed up to Gaeta where l spent the next 5 nights with close family friends, some who l had not seen in 10 years.

Gaeta is the getaway town for all the families in Napoli when it comes to their annual holidays in August and for me is a must do if you want a break from the cities and get a feel for a small town on the Italian seaside. It has a nice walk up to the top and around one of the mountains next to town, Split Mountain which it is said that 7 cliffs split the moment Jesus was crucified and this was one of them (there is also a monastery there now too) and some of the best seafood in the world which l highly recommend their local dish of octopus pie but you might get in trouble if you don’t try their olives of buffalo mozzarella and if you do, don’t be like me and tell them they are just like any other, they won’t let you live it down. I also got a cheeky day trip to Rome in and saw Vatican City minus St Peters because the pope was holding a service and it was closed, the Spanish steps and the Colosseum.

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Gaeta from the mountain top

After Gaeta, l headed to back to Rome where l met up with some friends from home in Steve and Nate as we were leaving on a cruise ship to Sicily, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Athens, the Amalfi Coast and then back to Rome. In Sicily, we hired a car and drove to Taormina which had amazing sights from in the mountains to a cable car to the beach. Mykonos was a day on quad bikes for Nate and l as Steve woke up late so we went on and did our own thing. Kusadasi was the place to buy ‘genuine’ fake items and Nate and l headed to Virgin Mary’s final resting place out near Ephesus and Steve to ladies beach (it’s hard to drag him away from a beach). Santorini, Nate and l rode donkeys to the top while Steve took the cable car and then we all spent the day on quad bikes visiting Oia in our time. Athens, we went into town but the price of getting into the main areas scared us off a little so we walked around the markets and then in the Amalfi coast we hired another car and drove along the coast and back. Many new friends were made while we quad biked, rode donkeys, walked many kilometres and probably consumed one to many scotches. I have made a rough video of our time on the cruise. Once l reached back to Rome, l had one final day with the boys before l moved onto solo travel again.

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Santorini on quad bikes

In Rome, l stayed at The Yellow hostel, which l was told had a reputation for being a big party hostel and while l did sit outside and take it all in over a couple of beers, l had a great stay with perfect sleep every night. I have headed out of Italy now and it was a pleasure for the last 5 months but l need to see more of this world so if you don’t know where l am right now, head over to Instagram and follow me at theworldaccordingtoaginger to find out.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the video is on Youtube at https://youtu.be/XI9K-X6uphY

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