Tackled the Italian rail again today and headed off to Napoli & Pompei. We were given a lift to Roccasecca train station so the entire trip to Napoli only took about 2.5 hours. Booked into the UNA hotel right next to the train station, very flash, but the square it overlooks is in repair so not a very good view. After dropping our bags we headed out to see the streets of Napoli. My first impression of the city is, that it's very dirty with rubbish every where, evidence of the poor is more visible with many laying on cardboard against walls and many buildings are very run down, it's also rare to see a car with no damage. There are many street venders selling their fake wares, and they are all Africans. Walked through the cathedral of San Gennaro which was spectacular and has the remains of a saint in the crypt, maybe the closed I will be to a saint!! many other church's are barricaded off and can't be entered. Almost every piazza is in disrepair and roped off having work done. We found a nice little family restaurant for tea and the food was beautiful, afterwards we wandered back through the streets to the hotel. We had been warned by many that Napoli is very unsafe, there was still many people out walking at night so we didn't feel too vulnerable, although there were four of us.
Aug 11 - up early today to see Pompei, only a short train ride from Napoli. Crowds were enormous, and many tour groups, we decided to buy a book and walk around by ourselves. Rob was a very good guide reading about each area, but Steve kept misplacing the map!! Pompei is enormous! You can really get feel as to what life might have been like, they certainly didn't do anything by half. The structures are amazing, and it is not difficult seeing the evidence between the wealthy and poor houses. I took 125 photos:-/ just couldn't stop!!
We walked for 4.5 hours, with only a short stop for lunch. Arrived back in Napoli about 16.30 and looked forward to a good foot massage, but I didn't get any takers!! so had a siesta instead. Headed out for dinner late, the boys managed some shopping, unfortunately nothing for me this time.
Aug 12 - on the train back to Arpino. Not sure about leaving Steve in charge of the itinerary:-), he worked out that we could catch the train from Napoli to Cassino and a bus from Cassino to Arpino so after we managed to get a bus ticket in Cassino we sat and waited at what we thought was the bus stop! Half an hour after the bus was meant to leave along came a driver only to discover we had been waiting at the arrival bus stop!! not the departure bus stop. With Rob's understanding of Italian (watching all those movies on SBS has paid off) we also discovered that bus services are reduced during August due to annual holidays, so with 5 minutes to spare we dashed back to the train and caught the last train back to Roccasecca, waited 20 minutes for the connecting bus, but not feeling very hopeful we finally phoned our old friend in Arpino for a lift and finally got in at 20.00 hrs. From now I think we will stick with the trains, at least they have to stop and go from a station and they are mostly on time. It was nice to get back to clean, quiet Arpino.