This was originally posted on blogger here.
Heathrow was like a shopping mall with no exits. It was nice to get out. Getting out was a challenge though because British Midland International (BMI) had signs for gate 38 in two places about 75 yards apart, and only one was correct. I did have the fortune of meeting Rocky Burt, who is teaching the class I’m taking on Monday and Tuesday. Rocky did me the favor of answering some questions and taking a good picture of me doing a one-handed cartwheel in Heathrow.
Heathrow is horrible for taking pictures, I really tried!
Heathrow sells Orange Flavor Coke. I kid you not. I bet my kid would love to give that a try. Too bad I couldn’t have kept it if I bought it.
On the plane trip over I sat next to the window and a charming 50 something British couple on holiday. Crossing from the Channel to France was fun. Better was following the northern Italian coast and seeing xxx, yyy, and in the distance mighty zzz. I saw my first castle as we were landing, and the picture I took of it shouldn’t be too bad.
Touchdown in Italy!
The landing was really gentle. BMI might have bad signing and charges 1 GBP for a tiny soda, but they have good pilots. I stepped out onto the tarmac into weather that felt as warm as we’ve had it back home. A quick passport check and I was really in Italy!
I needed change so I got a Coke Light as I left the airport. The attendant was so annoyed that I was interrupting him to buy something I could help but laugh in his face. It was so… Continental.
I knew my co-workers were taking cabs, but the guidebooks seemed to think the Alibus was good. That takes you from the airport into Naples, through the Piazzo Garibaldi and to the Piazzo Municipio (Municipal Plaza). Getting on the bus was a quick lesson in discovering that Italians are not good at line standing.
The ride from the airport was very illuminating. I learned a lot about Naples.
First off, Naples is dirty and things are in disrepair. The roads are torn up, there is grime everywhere, graffiti decorates all surfaces, and yet in the middle of your ride something beautiful will rise up and steal your heart. Vesuvius did that to me, and so did a hill top here and there. Piazzo Garibaldi is like a giant example of the world-weary feel NYC gave me as a kid, and is a notorious haven for pick pockets.
We kept going through streets built centuries ago, past shops closed for Sunday, and stopped in front of a massive castle. A massive castle with a massive amount of construction right next to it digging seemingly into its foundations. This was the Piazzo Municipio, my stop.
I got out and started to find my way to the hotel. After a few stops and starts I found my way to the Albergo del Golfo (Hotel of the Gulf). I checked in and put my stuff down. There was a bit of humor in that I needed a special divot on the room key to get the electricity in my room working.
I was hungry so went looking for food. Everything seemed closed except for a nearby McDonalds (no way I’m eating there) and this really odd convenience store next door to the hotel. It is very surreal and I’ll explain it in another post. After some pretty lame munchies I got I watched some BBC and fell asleep. My plan was breakfast in the morning and then off to the City of Science!
The phone was ringing through my dreams. My co-worker, Reed, was in the lobby and wondered if I wanted to do anything. I figured I should eat, even though I wasn’t really hungry. So I went downstairs and saw Naples at Night.
Things were coming alive. Restaurants were opening and the city seemed to have an interesting energy. We found a pizza place and split a pizza and mineral water.
The pizza was quality dough, buffalo mozzarella, flavorful tomatoes, olive oil, and basil. The cheese was interesting, being very mild, subtle, and delicious. The water was good. We tossed the idea of wine but nixed it for tomorrow. We chatted and had a good time.
Then I came back, and energized I put my clothes in drawers and on hangers and got ready for bed again.
End Day One.
2 comments captured from original post on Blogger
tg said on 2007-10-08
Hope I'm doing this right -
Enjoyed reading your blog and seeing the pics.
pydanny said on 2007-10-10
You did it right. Hi Dad!
Tags: Ploneconf2007 Italy legacy-dannygreenfeld