Arriving in Naples I was repulsed by the amount of rubbish piled in the streets. I’m not talking a few random plastic bags, this was stinking, steaming piles of garbage – broken bottles, food scraps, cardboard boxes, nappies, plastic bags and more. It was absolutely disgusting. There was also graffiti everywhere! It was pouring with rain when I arrived, and no one other than a few fellow tourists spoke English. Even the receptionist at the hostel I stayed in didn’t speak English. I had breakfast included in my stay, and although he gave me the card to get brekky at a nearby restaurant, he did not understand when I asked what time it was served. ‘No Englise’ was a common term I got used to hearing in Naples. I ended up drawing pictures of three analogue clock faces showing times of 7, 8 and 9 and he pointed to the clock that said 8 – at least that was easy enough to sort out. Brekky turned out to be just a croissant and glass of juice, so you were right Natalina – just one ‘lousy’ croissant as you put it!
I realised I’d been spoilt in Malta without knowing it, because everyone spoke English and were friendly, so it was a bit of a shock to arrive in Naples and be confronted with the opposite. I had read that you must validate your public transport tickets in Italy, for the train police will target tourists and issue a large fine if you haven’t. What I didn’t realise at the time was the ticket I had obtained on the bus from the airport I could have also used on the trains to the hostel. However, wanting to do the right thing, I entered the main train station and asked around where to buy a ticket as there were no self service machines I could see. ‘No Englise, No Englise’ were the replies I got, so I chose the most expensive looking shop I could find and thankfully the sales girl was able to understand and speak English well enough to point me in the direction of the Newsagent where I had to buy the ticket.
Having obtained the ticket I made my way to the platform she had indicated was the one I needed (having the address written on a bit of paper was handy), then realised it wasn’t validated. Trudging up the flight of stairs again, I managed to locate the validating machines and get my ticket stamped. These machines were not well signed, nor did they look particularly important, so I can see why so many tourists overlook them. Back to the platform I went, and arrived as the train I needed was leaving. I waited 40 minutes for the next one, and managed to follow a few American kids as they headed ito the same station as me. Plodding along the street towards the hostel, I was drenched by the rain and any person I asked for directions simply muttered ‘No Englise’ and walked off.
Eventually I found the alley where the hostel was located, and, in the dark just managed to make out the hostel name amongst a list of next to buzzers on the wall. The guy answered in Italian and when I heard the door click I pushed and it opened into a central courtyard/car park. Having no further directions to follow, I wandered around a bit until I found the hostel entrance, and lugged my now wet and heavy backpack up three flights of stairs. From leaving the hostel in Malta to arriving at the one in Naples was a total duration of ten hours, and I was tired, soaked and wanted a good night’s sleep. Thankfully I was the only person in my room, and it had an air conditioner, wifi and a spotlessly clean bathroom which was nice, although the toilet seat wasn’t secure and if you sat on it any way other than dead centre it slid violently to one side and felt as if you’d end up on the floor!