Thanks Mom and Dad!
Hey again everybody- We are writing you from Greece, but this journal is about Naples. We got in to Athens today via a 3 hour train ride, 14 hour ferry ride, and 3 hour bus ride. And now we are a whole 10 hours ahead of all you West Coasters'. We'll fill you in about Greece soon enough, here's what happened to us over the past couple of days in Naples: Believe it or not we woke up at 6:30am to beat the line and heat to the entrance of the Vatican. After hours of trudging through some of the most beautiful and famous artwork in the world (and almost dying of heat stroke and fatigue in the process) we finally reached the Sistine Chappel. We ended up missing the popes service by a couple of hours but we still saw Saint Peter's Basilica, which is quite amazing. After our self-guided tour of Vatican City we went to catch a train to Naples, but first had to retrieve our lugage and had a little incident. The luggage hold area was very unorganized, chaotic, hot, and slow (much like the rest of Italy, except for the slow part). The attendents only brought out one of our bags and then proceeded to help others in line without getting our second bag causing us to miss our train due to the delay. After waiting a period of time for our bag, and it was made clear that the bag was not being retrieved, \nate asked another clerk for his assistance. The clerk was incapable of helping us, which caused Nate to make a scene in the baggage area. Every customer stopped talking and watched Nate proceed to yell at the clerk. We got our second bag very quickly after that. We got a ticket for the next train that ended up being delayed an hour and 50 minutes. On the ride to Naples the train makes frequent stops we almost delayed our trip further by getting off at the wrong stop, and when we arrived after dark a nice cab driver (or so he claimed) dropped us off in the wrong side of Naples charging us 30 euros (we thought he told us 13 euros originally, we learned the hard way "trienta" means 30 in Italian, he was obviously trying to confuse us though to rip us off. The cab ride should've been 5 euros max.) We gave the driver 19 euros and as he spead off we realized we were in the wrong part of town and ended up getting ripped off by a second taxi driver who actually took us to where we were meeting Gary and Gabriella. For those of you who don't know, Gary is a Blumenkrantz family friend and Gabriela is his little feisty Italian long term girlfriend/sugar mama. Although we were not able to stay at their apartment, they were the most wonderful hosts and informative tour guides. For instance, Gabriela taught us how to cross streets in Naples: just walk straight through raging traffic. Gary added: don't make any sudden movements. (It was a pretty funny sight to see little old Gabriela stop zooming city traffic, Naples has about a population of a million.) Along with all the good advice they supplied, Gary and Gabriela also did our laundry (washed, dried, and folded, ... we know, we tried to stop them), treated us to delicious Italian dinners all three nights we were in Naples (pizza, pasta, wine, and beer,... we know, we tried to pay), and got us a discount at Gabriela's cousin's (Mossimo's) San Bartolomeo Bed and Breakfast. Mossimo was just as generous and helpful and our two guides, making sure all our needs were taken care of by letting us use his internet, making breakfast whenever we wanted it, giving us his own bus tickets to get to the train station on time, and etc. The only time he was a little cross to us was when Nate brought left over pizza home (this is never done in Naples, the birhtplace of pizza), refrigerated the slice (Mossimo just could not understand this at all), and then preceeded to reheat it in a conventional oven rather than a proper wood burning pizza oven (which disgusted Mossimo), and on top of this Nate was eating it for breakfast the next morning. We practically had to call an ambulance for Mossimo who was in such shock and disbelief. Well that's the overview of Naples, check out our Pompeii and Capri journal entry to hear about our day trips. We appreciate all the emails and messages you guys have left. Keep in touch and we'll talk to you soon. Love, Nate and Kristina