Saturday, October 25, 2014

10/10/14 Day 267 Napoli, seconds please!

Spending seemingly all of our time on the beaches of Southern Italy the last few weeks, and before that on the beaches of Croatia, it is time to head back into the cities where we can eat our way through the rest of the country! Napoli is a very raw city, lived in and not sold-out to five language menus with tour bus clogged streets, these are replaced by families of four buzzing by on scooters (never with helmets) and more garbage than you can imagine. The rumors we have heard about the Italian mafia seem to shine unabashed here. Upon parking we found our way into a loud crowded street market full of knockoff shoes, sweatshirts and iPhone accessories galore. Passing by stall after stall of colorful products we squeezed past to avoid a morning of bartering for more stuff we have no space and need for.  Watching all of the vendors put in their orders for their next buys and leaving behind mountains of shoe boxes continuing to build up the trash clutter in a city with no funding for waste management; all thanks to the mafia. From what we have heard all of the money intended for a waste management system has been diverted to the mafia, therefore the garbage lays stagnant across the city. I never could have imagined how many piles of garbage are just on the side of the road/ditch/highway/supermarket before we traveled through this country. They are everywhere, and I don't mean a household trash bin worth, mounds the sizes of cars and small homes are just left for someone else to deal with, especially in the South. Luckily Napoli is known for more than mafia presence. It was not long before we found our way to the first pizzeria of the day, the line at Pizzeria di Michele was out the door and for those with no patience for a table a larger crowd gathered around the oven waiting for take out pizzas. We joined the hungry mob and rejoiced with pizza on the sidewalk when it was finally over (forty minutes later). Next on the agenda, more pizza, we wandered around looking for our next slice of Neapolitan cuisine and it wasn't long before we found ourselves sitting down to an entire deep fried calzone and bottle of white wine for 8€ at Di Matteo. Definitely glad we tried it as I love calzone, but I don't think I would be inclined to order one over a margherita. With one margherita down, and one calzone successfully demolished we stumbled into the last pizzeria of the day, Gino Sorbillo where we ordered a Diavolo, topped with a spicy salame to end our night. With our bellies prohibiting any further pizza excursions we decided to call it a day and directed ourselves to lovely Gaeta where we spent the next two nights camping on the beach. Gaeta is a Lido, or paid beach which is common throughout Italy, if you descend onto the pristine sands from the accessible cement steps you will be charged between 2-5€ at the bottom, but if you walk just a few hundred feet South of the main path there is a steep trail that will deliver you to the bottom for free, not the easiest climb, and we had to do it in headlamps to camp. 

A protest of teenagers, fighting for threatened education rights

Street markets galore, set-up daily, leaving a wake of empty boxes and trash by afternoon breakdown

Standing in line for forty minutes...
By the wood fire oven...
Totally worth it
You can find some of the best pizza in Napoli on a street by the name of our favorite Italy approved pizzeria in Seattle, Via Tribunali
Picking a random pastry based on the human sized sculpture of it=biting into rum dripping sponge cake, or Baba
Memorials throughout the streets of Napoli
Our second stop for pizza in Napoli was at Di Matteo
Deep fried calzone! Maybe a blasphemy, but a delicious one
Last but not least our favorite pizza in Napoli, we devoured our Diavola (salame picante) in the crowded terrace at Gino Sorbillo
Fresh mozzarella
And seafood
Persimmons, known as Kaki grow rampant among the pomegranates that we just can not stop eating
Beautiful Gaeta beach

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