Monday, May 5, 2014

Italy: Naples, Pompeii, and Milan

Everything in Italy was pretty much all downhill after LDL abandoned Cadet Squad in Rome. She flew back to Dundee on our Friday in Rome due to final projects. Kylie and I dried the tears and moved on down the coast of Italy to Naples, bikinis in hand, in search of a proper beach. After some confusion we located our hostel where we had double room (thankfully) that locked from the inside. We kept that sucker locked at all times. Common areas were the only ones with Wifi, the church bells outside rang for more than an hour, the shower stalls were translucent on three sides, I found a bug in our bed just as we were about to go to sleep, and the lighting in our room can only be described as mood lighting. There was no other option. 
We were hoping not to spend very much time at the hostel, because we had the beach mission in mind. We changed into our swimsuits immediately, covered them with actual clothes, and walked down the street in the direction of the water. Before we had gone far we were accosted by a man in a car asking us where we were going. We ignored him and continued. It took us forever to finally find the beach and at that point the stares were getting out of hand and we were both fed up with the general creepiness of Naples. 
The stretch of beach we finally did find was less than desirable, but we made the best of it and soaked up the sun, nestled into a dip in the rocks safe from the stares of bold Italian men. The coastline was gorgeous, all blue against shrouded grey mountains. We stayed until the tide started coming in furiously, spraying us with cold droplets. We turned back toward the hostel, determined to find food before we returned so we would not have to venture outside again. We REALLY didn't like Naples. I kid you not when I say we honestly could NOT find food. In Rome, there was pizza everywhere. In Naples, Kylie found an okay burger and I got crackers from the grocery store. Dinner was served. 
Back at the hostel, I showered and went downstairs to enjoy the Wifi for a little bit. The lady at the front desk asked me to explain an English business email to her because she wasn't sure if it was spam or not. Gold star tourist award, plz. 
After getting our fill of Wifi, we locked ourselves upstairs at 8 PM and didn't leave again until 9 AM. At least we caught up on sleep??
We hightailed it out of Naples, hell-bent on Pompeii. MUCH IMPROVEMENT SUCH TOURISTY. We breathed a huge sigh of relief upon our arrival. We had no idea which way to go to find the ruins, but we picked a direction and made a giant circle before we finally located the correct area. 
It's a place I had always wanted to see and it was extremely peaceful after our stressful day in Naples previously. We lay in the grass in a field for nearly an hour. I craned my neck trying to figure out which giant mountain was Vesuvius, the culprit of such disaster. 
On our way out of the ruins, we found a man selling frozen lemonade and caved to the sweet and sour temptation. I craved that lemonade many days after inhaling it. We discussed our plans for the next few days and knew we needed to find Wifi to look at train times and book hostels. We vowed not to eat lunch until we found a restaurant with free Wifi, generally not too hard a task. 
I stopped to peruse a menu and the hostess came out to persuade us to come in. I immediately asked, "do you have Wifi? We need Wifi. We can't eat here without Wifi." Might as well get straight to the point. She hurried inside to check and beckoned us after her. After we were seated she personally delivered the Wifi password to our table. The pizza in Pompeii was heavenly after the crackers I subsisted on in Naples. After lunch we reluctantly headed back to the Naples train station to catch our train to Milan. And here's where our trip really fell apart. Okay, maybe I'm dramatic. Our plan was to take a slower overnight train to Milan from Naples. This way we didn't need to find a hostel in Milan and would get some rest before exploring the city. Unfortunately, due to train strikes in Italy, the only train available to us was a fast train, arriving in Milan just after 11 PM. We were stuck in the Milan station overnight, unshowered, hungry, desperate for a bathroom, and exhausted. Milan was the lowest of this series of low points. I arrived in Milan in a tank top and my trusty jean shorts. We headed straight to the Burger King and had the doors close in our face. We tried the bathroom and found it locked. We found a bench and dared anyone to come close to us with death stares. I started to shiver and ended up wearing most of the clothes in my backpack before the long night was over. Oh, and, of course, there was no Wifi. Around 5 AM we ventured downstairs, hoping the bathroom was finally open, but instead a strange man touched Kylie's face and I slapped his hand away with a series of no's. I'm fairly sure he asked me if she was my girlfriend so I just glared at him and said yes. McDonald's finally opened and we jumped at the chance to eat. A homeless man came up to us in line, demanding money, and yelling at us in Italian when we refused. He even hung around the counter while we ordered. After that experience we decided the next train out of Milan wouldn't be such a bad thing...and found the ticket office immediately. The train to Interlaken, Switzerland left in four hours and we jumped at the chance to get out of Italy. I wasn't feeling like A Very Lucky Girl anymore. And I would've traded all of my postcards for a shower. 

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