This is true…. when your standing in a long queue people will automatically turn around to ensure there are more people behind them than in front. Everybody wants to be ahead of the pack.
The queue for entrance to the Archeological Museum in Naples which holds all the Pompeii artefacts is close to 45 mins long. It’s a 28 degree day, you might say the sun is hot. I’ve shooed Peter to the shady spots whilst I hold our position on the queue and I’m able to observe the strategy of those in front of me and those behind.
Some have given up waiting and have walked away whilst others crane their necks to ensure they are not trying to jump the queue. The English fellow behind me is searching the internet on his phone trying work out a way to jump the queue or as they say ‘skip the line’. The shade seekers are holding up the queue hogging the shade for as long as they can whilst the rest hold their position and suffer the sun. Then there are the the group of people who appear to be, though not necessarily the majority, and they are the smokers. Less than a metre behind another they will happily light up, draw and exhale ….. right over the person in front of them. It’s disgusting and that’s coming from a die hard reformed smoker.
And I’m standing here knowing already the treasures within and will happily wait.
Naples is a hustling, bustling city. We arrived yesterday from Palermo by plane and staying in the same BnB Emilie and I stayed in in 2017 when we did our volcano tour of Southern Italy. It’s not that it’s the best BnB in the world, but we are in the heart of Naples, close by the central train station. I’ve previously stated how Italians measure distance by some obscure method and i say that because when I ask our host how far the museum is from the accommodation he said “too far, an hour by walking”. It’s only 28 minutes away! I have to laugh that after 12 years of visiting Italy, the locals still can’t tell distance when giving directions, though the thing they can do is recall that Australia too far! ????????????????????????
Shall we talk about the traffic in Napoli? It is continual movement of disorderly orderly vehicles. Cars, motorcycles and the type of not vehicular traffic, but human traffic. It’s chaos without road rage, but in the end everyone gets to where they want to be. No marked lanes, perhaps there were long ago, but no longer visible; potholes no problem; parking lanes? What parking lanes? double, triple ranked, Ok! We’ve seen more than one car kiss, the drivers got out of their cars, looked at the point of contact, greeted each other then re-alighted their respective vehicles and drove away. When did Australian drivers, cyclists and pedestrians become so angry. What does it profit a man or woman to rage at the driver attempting to break into traffic, or failing to use an indicator or change lanes?
The principle of crossing the road stems from biblical times, though using pedestrian crossings where road markings have long been worn away, don’t wait for the traffic to stop, one must do as Moses did. In order for the waters of the Red Sea to part he had to put his toes in the water. So too pedestrians must step onto the roadway before cars will stop….. but not motorcyclists. Then it becomes a duck and weave. You move forward, the cars move forward, the bikes move forward……forward and remember to look the other way or the next ambulance you hear will be the one that will take you to the hospital.
Motorcyclists could in the near future out number the cars. Pre-pubescent children ride motorcycles, not on the main roads of course, but in the back lanes and alleyways, and not solo but with a pillion, another young person. Two adults, one with a child in front of them, parents with child between them, this is not a ‘developing world’ thing. But I can’t talk, I remember being sub 6 years old riding with my Dad or Mum on the Vespa, in fact I think it was me standing in front, my parent then my brother behind them. I miss those halcyon days! Naples returned to me a memory I had almost lost.
The Sounds of Naples
Any of you who know me well will remember me saying I strongly disliked Naples. I take it back! It’s dirty, plastic and rubbish litter the streetS, the roads are horrendous, I’ve already mentioned the traffic, always awareness of one’s surrounding is paramount, but I love the sound of Naples. At all hours loud voices echo down the alleys, the sound of fish sellers setting up for the day 5 floors below can be heard in the mornings and at night, a scolding mother or wife, the cry of a child or voices of children mimicking the volume of their parent’s voices carry up to us. I love it! It represents Italy to me. Somewhere there is singing, somewhere church bells, the traffic, the car horns, I love it all.
Yes, come to Naples but choose a different BnB. We encountered a couple from the US on our last night who where staying two floors below who said their place was wonderful. Always good to check out what else is around.
While you’re here check out Spaccanapoli. It’s the street that divides the straight and narrow main street that traverses the old, historic center of the city of Naples. The name is a popular usage and means, literally, “Naples splitter”. The name is derived from the fact that it is very long and from above it seems to divide that part of the city.
It’s full of artisans, religious icons, nativity sets (they are quite amazing if you’re in the market for one), silly superstitious stuff, and lots and lots of people sedately promenading the length of the street. Old buildings on one side and much older on the other. So glad I didn’t miss it a second time.
Tomorrow it’s a short flight to Sardinia, we’ll see you there.
Ciao for now.