Our friends Paige and Julia hit the ground running as we only had four days here in Naples. Paige had arrived a couple of days prior to Julia and was able to enjoy the relaxing gardens of Tivoli for the weekend. We picked up Julia on a Sunday and made the three hour drive home in pouring rain - what a great introduction to Italy. The trip home was complete with a disastrous detour to a town I'd picked arbitrarily for lunch - thinking it sounded cute and was not too far off of the highway. We drove for miles, finally reached the town and found nothing open...nothing...in this hilly town full of one way streets. The one way streets confused our GPS, so she eventually took us down the mountain on a winding, dirt lane that was a dead end. The red light warning came on for gas with no station around, causing much consternation and pointed glances among the front-seaters (me and Nathan). As soon as we could figure out where we were, find a gas station with a credit card operated pump (still nothing open anywhere), we abandoned a nice lunch in favor of the AutoGrill (Italian version of a truck stop on the highway). The AutoGrills are surprisingly good, with yummy sandwiches, an apple pastry I love and have only found at the AutoGrill, and sometimes, they even have a cafeteria with raw steaks sitting there awaiting a customer before being put on the grill. Not what we'd wanted for guests, but as Paige remarked, "We eat three times a day. It doesn't always have to be great."
We had a church obligation for Sunday night and left Paige and Julia to relax and get settled. That was about the only relaxation they had for the next week. We had an ambitious schedule of visiting downtown Naples, the Amalfi Coast, the ruins in our Campi Flegrei area, and a two day trip to Capri. before heading to Orvieto. With March weather being known locally as "marzo pazzo" (crazy march), I had a weight on my shoulders - weather can make or break a trip, and I so wanted their trip to be great. We stayed busy and returned home each evening after dark (this was pre-time change) and with aching feet, but with long lists of interesting things, bags full of souvenirs, and cameras loaded with captured memories.
|At the top of Monte Solaro, Capri|