“Our train’s delayed another hour,” I reported as I took up my seat on the floor again next to P, who looked back at me with the most tired of eyes. We must’ve been quite the sight: sweaty from the hottest of train rides all the way from Sorrento to Naples, dusty from a morning spent roaming the ruins of Pompeii, and so completely exhausted from our 5am start that we plopped ourselves on the floor of the train station instead of looking for a proper seat like normal people.
But we were in Naples, and given our short one hour stopover was suddenly extended to two, we sure as hell weren’t going to waste the chance for some good pizza (you thought I was going to say sightseeing, didn’t you?)
The classic Julia Roberts scene in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ sprang to mind immediately, and with our (slow) station wifi we managed to find L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele on a map, screenshot and ran with it out to the streets of Naples.
Now, for anyone who’s not been to Naples, I think it’s important to warn you that it’s not the prettiest of cities. Having come from just off the Amalfi Coast in beautiful resort-style Sorrento, Naples was quite the culture shock. Gypsies and their wares laid out on dusty streets make it seem a little unstable, but trust me, just follow your directions that you screenshot from way too far away on the map, and trust your instincts. Even though your friend will be saying, “No, you’re reading it wrong, it’s THIS corner,” keep walking, it’s the next corner.
Entering L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele was one of the most gorgeous experiences ever – small and intimate, with a bubbly head chef and his v cute kitchen hands, they work away at fresh pizza dough and a wood fire oven, chattering in Italian as they go, and suddenly two boxes of freshly baked pizza are handed to you.
We whisked them away back to the station, and settled back down in our little section of floor – very classy, we know!
Perhaps the very best pizza I have eaten, we munched through piece after piece. Beside us, a couple of guys starting harking on about being sooooooo hungry they needed the rest of our pizzas, but no way were we giving them up – boys, don’t ever try to take food of two very hungry young ladies!
Pizza safely in our tummies, I got up again to check the departure board. Rome, Rome, Rome…where had our train gone?! Without worrying P, I ran up to a train guard and showed him our tickets. He pulled up his phone and showed me our train on a travel app…almost at Rome…
“So, I have good news and bad news,” I approached P. “Bad news, we’ve missed our train, I read the board wrong BUT good news, maybe we could try and catch the next one???”
Without deliberating too long, we raced to the ticket office, desperate to explain our predicament and get our tickets renewed for the next train. As we were in line, the beast of a ticket officer became clear to us – she was loud, abrasive, and definitely was going to bite our heads off when we asked for new tickets, please. We approached her desk and tried to explain the situation, but received a curt: “Your train is gone, you need to go buy new tickets. Next!”
There went 30 Euros!
6 minutes until the last train to Rome. My ticket purchase went through just fine on the machine, but P’s was struggling. She tried card after card, Euro after Euro, but to no avail. Quickly taking over, I purchased her a ticket, and we ran as fast as we could with bellies full of pizza, just making the train.
Lo and behold, it was not quite the express train we had hoped to catch to Rome, and so we did not arrive back in the capital until midnight, but at least we were back, out of dodgy Naples, and could finally fall asleep…xx