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My hotel was in a less than desirable part of Naples. I feared for my life and made my friend let me stay with him. I packed too much stuff and while juggling my bags, could feel a hand getting into my backpack. He almost got all of my American money! I was so freaked out, then had that amazing pizza and went through the nice part of town and had flash fried seafood lowered down by the cooks on pulleys. I could kick myself for not snapping a photo. And for God’s sake, could they just have toilet seats?? What an adventure, but I’m thinking once was enough.
I knew all the safeguards but literally had one day to prepare for the spur of the moment trip. The only thing I did right was check out Rick’s book on Rome at the library! I traveled to Napoli for work in 86-88, and was always enchanted by its richness. One of the best meals (1986, so truly memorable) I’ve ever had, was in a restaurant where the Opera stars used to come to sing for their dinners after WWII. They still have a guitar player, who sang great comedic Napolean songs, the Matre-de who sang gorgeous Italian love songs, and the customers sang when the inspiration hit. On top of that were the most superb mussels I have ever eaten, followed by fresh mozzarella d’ bufala, that was divine.
While in the Navy, we made a stop in Naples. Was an amazing experience. I remember getting off the ferry from our ship and walking the streets. I remember not being dressed for the cold winter day and a man who was selling jackets on the sidewalk walked up and placed a leather trenchcoat around my shoulders. I asked him how much, and he said it was a gift. I happened across him later that day at a cafe, and bought his meal. I kept that jacket for years after. I remember taking a train ride to Rome and visiting the Vatican City for midnight mass. This was a highlight not only of my Navy times but also of my entire life. I ate so much and the people were so amazing and welcoming. One of my favorite places to visit while I was in the Navy.