Thursday, August 25, 2011

Naples, Pompeii and Scooter Gone Wrong

Naples is not like northern Italy.  When I got there I felt like I was in not just another country, but in another continent.  It had a very third world feel to it.  When I walked out of the train station I thought I mistakenly got off at the city dump.  Turns out the city doubles as the landfill.  If you think I'm joking or being rude then you probably haven't been to Naples.  When I was describing Naples to a German girl (they find me, I swear) I later met in northern Italy, a guy who worked at the hostel came in and said he was from Naples and said it was like being in Africa.  I'm glad I went there though - good cultural experience.

I took two day trips while I was there.  One to Pompeii which is a Roman town that is extremely well preserved because it was covered in ash after Mount Vesuvius exploded about 2000 years ago.  It's probably the best place in the world to go to get a sense of what living in Roman times was like.  There was a spa, a brothel, a bakery, a fast food joint, mansions, a sports arena, a theater, pedestrian only roads, chariot grooves.

Then there was Sorrento where I ended up in the hospital.  Don't worry I'm okay.  Here's what happened.  I met this guy at my hostel in Naples who had been biking through Austria and Italy for two months.  After hanging out with him and this girl from Holland for a day I find out he's planning to bike along the Amalfi coast the next day.  I decided to join him.  The next day we take the train over to Sorrento.  He already has a bike so we walk around the city for about an hour looking for a bike for me.  We found like twenty places that rent scooters but not one that rented bicycles.  We finally found a bike repair shop but they didn't have anything my size.  We got some lunch and thought it over.  He was cool with renting a scooter but I wasn't sure.  Too many unknowns.  Finally I came up with the idea that I would ride his bike and he could rent a scooter.  Bingo.  I practiced riding his road bike a little bit and it was very different than a mountain bike, but I got the hang of it pretty quick.  So anyway, we set off.  Less than five minutes later I'm lying on the side of the road with scrapes on all knees and elbows and a right foot that feels like it might be broken.  I didn't want an ambulance because of cost concerns, but I couldn't really walk, so one was called and brought me to the Sorrento hospital.  After a while, they gave me a couple x-rays.  Turns out my foot was only sprained.  They cleaned up my scrapes a bit more though not all the way.  Before I even got back to the hostel one of my bandages was falling off.  I guess you get what you pay for though: total hospital and ambulance cost: $0.  My "released" state from the hospital was without crutches and I couldn't put any weight on my right foot, so I hopped on one foot and had my bike day trip gone to hell friend help me get some crutches from a place across the street.  Well, at least I had a good excuse to slow down and take it easy.  Not too easy though: less than 24 hours later I was in a new city hobbling along with my crutches wearing both of my backpacks at midnight trying to find my hostel while thinking of ways to give my karma a boost when I almost got run over in a cross walk.  I've had better times.

Inside Naples Train Station - no idea what the story is

Street in Naples

I'm trying to figure out what is being advertised here - it could be the iPad, BUT it could also be green underwear OR lavender sofas.  Maybe all three.

Church next to my hostel


Naples pizza - very good


Mount Vesuvius Ash Victim

This city is like 2000 years old.  Incredible how advanced they were considering how long ago it was.

Pompeii courtyard.

Pompeii house

Pompeii brothel frescoes - not kidding

Pompeii Forum with Mount Vesuvius in background


Bicycle turned scooter trip along the Amalfi coast gone very wrong


Laura Roach Dragon said...

You look like House in that last pic. Glad your foot wasn't broken.

Ryan Fuller said...

Thanks Laura. I can't believe I managed a half smile there - it was a really bad day.

Anonymous said...

Bah you gotta rest that foot or a little while so you dont have to crutch around everywhere.

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