My most recent trip to Italy, to the city of Naples, was with my friend, hereafter referred to as ‘Newbie’, who was not only new to Italy, but to travelling abroad in general. The first rule in this situation, no matter who booked and chose the seats, is that they get the coveted window spot. It is something to say you helped someone experience their first time looking down on the clouds.
Having pondered different cities, and having a desire to explore the south of Italy, I decided on Naples. I later worried over this choice. It turned out, from various warnings, that I had not picked the cosiest place abroad for my newbie. In my desire to not end up in an English resort in an arbitrary warm place, I had apparently gone slightly too far the other way. I was informed of Naples’ reputation for pick-pocketing. Maybe not the calm holiday I’d had in mind. I made sure I had a shoulder-strap bag, and nervously instructed Newbie to do the same – who luckily, positive thing that they are, took it in their stride.
I have to admit that the taxi journey from the airport did not inspire confidence, though we were both pleased to be in it. The streets we passed looked a little litter strewn. It took another day for their charm to work on me. I had emailed the B & B / hostel where we were staying for advice on getting to them, and they had given me a taxi number with a fixed charge for getting to them. Very useful for cash-strapped twenty-somethings. My poor Italian was more of a hindrance than a help, but my name and location and the last few taxi-digits I was able to catch were enough. We chased down the taxi that appeared and had the comfort of being greeted with my name. Despite the difficulty on the phone, this would definitely be another tip when taking a newbie along. We tried one of the taxis at the airport, and were quoted a price four times what we ended up paying. Getting to your bed for the night with ease is definitely a step towards a calm newbie.
It was a longish drive, I’d not been long enough in Naples to feel its charm yet, so was perturbed by the shabbiness of the buildings we were passing along with the cacophony of honks and speeding mopeds. Our B & B / hostel was a bit out of town, and if you do take a newbie with you I might suggest a city-centre location, however for us this worked perfectly. We were staying in a converted Monastery and had a gorgeous pizza place across the street. I’m nervous of giving suggestions in case places change / do not suit everyone, however I have included a link to our lovely B & B / Monastery above, mainly as the people running it were so nice (if they are still there, I’m sure it will be good). For reference it was only last year that we went.
We explored Naples, visited Pompeii and went to the nearby island of Prodiga – I had promised a beach afterall. I wanted Newbie’s trip to be a success and was pleased to focus on her, which was also useful in giving our wandering some direction. Finding stamps for instance (easy) and a post box (near impossible). It is a hot and hectic city, and we made time to rest. A warm evening with a peroni on the B & B terrace was a truly relaxing holiday moment. There is something about having the bustle continue around you. Below seemed to be a community square which was fun to look down upon, and across busy balconies covered in chairs and hanging clothes. We were also well equipped with bug spray.
The most important tip for having a good trip with a newbie, however, would be to pick the right newbie. We got lost, wandered down hot streets, nabbed tiny tables in heaving cafes, and had a pair of sandals worn to pieces abandoned in a bin by the end of the trip. My newbie put up with all of this with endless good humour, so I recommend you find one who does too.
Also, finally, always check what type of wine. Not all of your friends will like red, which you will discover while in the middle of congratulating yourself for having remembered ‘vino’ and ‘rosso’.
*I apologise for the alterations to this post. As the first it was a tester for layout.