Naples Part II

I had told you, I have much to tell about Naples. Here is Part II. I was so happy with my lovely B&B and was therefore full of happy energy. I set out to explore Naples. I walked all over the place. Until my feet hurt. I wanted to see the sea as soon as possible. Immediately. Like a little child who can’t wait to open his Christmas presents.

I need water. I have to see it, smell it, be in it, live it, be it. I walked down the street, Via Toledo, and there it was. So, I had arrived at the Duomo, had passed the theater/ opera house, and I had landed on this piazza where the grand blue sea was right below where stood, all in my eyes. I think I stared at it right there for half an hour if not longer.

Feeling comfortable that  my sea was right there, I felt ready to go back to the city and see more of it. After all I could walk back any time, and see my water again. What a relief. What a city. I don’t know if it is for everyone. Naples is grand; and sad… Have you read Istanbul? Orhan Pamuk’s book about my city. And his. There he talks about “hüzün”; which is an authentic Turkish word that is hard to translate. It means something close to “melancholy”. A unique sense of sadness. He says Istanbul has it. Because Istanbul mourns over its forgone grandiosity. Lost Konstantinople.

I don’t know if Napoli mourns. But is has exactly that kind of melancholy. It was grand. Now it is tired. It is like an aged lady, once a diva. And therefore I fell for her. She still has her noblety, beauty, classic beauty, and then some. Her old historical buildings are run down, but they shout at you that they have been once homes to the kings and queens. That princes and princesses were born to their hands. Such is Napoli.

I walked and walked until I could no more. I walked in the streets where I could see the bed sheets hanging in between the balconies, just like in those pictures famous for Napoli. It was windy, so that they were swinging in the air, in all colors, big, small, plain, with flowers, with dots…

It was afternoon, I had got hungry and had missed my sea. I decided to have late lunch early dinner somewhere, where I could see the water. I found one such place close to the pier. It was nice and peaceful, and they had not tried to pull me in shouting at me with their menu in English.

My waiter was from India. During he served me, he told me all his life story. That he had arrived there with the hopes of earning much and going back home. It quite didn’t happen. Now he was sharing a flat with many others, working to pay for his rent and missing home much. He didn’t really know what he should do. He was a very polite, kind and nonetheless positive person. He smiled all the time. And he did it genuinely. I sat there for a long time, had the delicious mozzarella di buffala native of Napoli (actually I think even Capri, but more on that in Part III), watched my sea and it’s endlessly calm blue waters until my eyes hurt. Then I walked back home. Home to my lovely B&B and to Chiara, whom I knew was waiting for me to tell her my today’s story.

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Naples:Part I

I dont know what is this with Naples. I mean the Naples in Italy. I had talked about cities affecting me instantly and that I feel connected in a special way. Naples is one of those, and then some. I have been wanting to write about it for a long time. Now that I actually set down to do that, I see that I will not be finished so quickly. I have much to tell. So, this is Part I. First time I went there was two years ago. I have always been curious about this city as I had heard and read so much about it. On how beautiful it is, but even more on how dangerous it is. Including the opinions of my Italian friends (northern Italian as you may guess). Anyway, two years ago I made up my mind that I was gonna go there.  And I did. That was it. I fell for it. Point of no return.

I flew to Rome, jumped on the fast train and continued to Naples straight on. By the time I had arrived, it was evening. Not so much more sunlight. When I came out of the metro station, the first thing I saw was garbage. All over the place. Lots of garbage. Just like it was described in the newspapers. The narrow street where I was, was so full of garbage that you could barely walk. I told myself Pinar you asked for it, so now you have it.

I tried to find the B&B that I had booked. It was supposed to be just around the corner, and it was supposed to be a typical Neapolitan house in a nice neighborhood. I calmed myself with the picture of a nice warm shower in my authentic room in a historical building. I kept walking and passed by a hospital. It looked strangely familiar and yet so so different. That hospital could be anywhere in Turkey, anywhere in Istanbul. Filled with people, not necessarily all patients. Not particularly clean either….I would not want to be a patient there, neither in its twin sister in Istanbul. But it was familiar. And yet so much different than all the hospitals I know in Germany, Switzerland, US, northern Italy…. There you would almost feel special to be a patient. Definitely privileged.

I walked more, passed a lot of lively food stalls, cafes, bars, little grocery stores and I finally found the number I was looking for. Great! It really looked like the authentic Neopolitan building I was hoping for. I rang the bell, and a nice friendly Neopolitan girl shouted all the way from the third floor. She told me she was going to throw down a rope. A rope? To pull me upstairs or what? No, she really wanted to pull my luggage upstairs as there was no lift. It worked out amazingly well. I myself took the stairs.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember her name. Chiara maybe? But we became friends. She run that lovely authentic, cosy, homelike B&B with her brother. She prepared the best of breakfasts every morning for me. She called here and there whenever I needed something. She gave me tips on what to do each and everyday. She noticed my taste and tailored her suggestions accordingly. She even called me on my phone to share additional useful information. She checked if everything was safe with me. She wanted to listen to how my day has been. For four days she has been a true friend to me.

Next morning when I went out to explore the immediate surroundings, I realized that last evening I had taken the back exit, i.e. the wrong exit, from the metro station. This B&B was indeed in the heart of the historical center of Napoli. So lively, so old,  a little run down and therefore so beautiful. It felt that much at home, while being that far away from all my homes.

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