Safe arrival in Napoli

Napoli on our own

We have arrived …. Safe and at a beautiful hotel, Le Chiminee Business Hotel. We dropped off the rental car and took a cab. That is the short story … There is always more.

We had made a decision as a group last evening after looking at the map. I really do not want to drive in Naples and it is not really necessarily obvious how to miss Naples centro. The airport is not that fa out of town and what if we make one wrong turn?

So today we left in plenty of time from Maratea armed with maps and google map pages saved to our various devices. Lol. We made our first stop in the quaint sea side village of Sapri. We loved it when we visited earlier this week. We wanted to go back. We saw a large market going on, double bonus! So be parked and retraced our steps to the same store where we had found Italian leather change purses on sale .. Great find and great gifts. The store owner of the luggage store advised the George Clooney and his bride purchased luggage there and he showed us which set …. Omg. Beautiful. Who cares if it is true!

Off to market, stopping at a Gelateria to use the bagno and pick up some water. Market was crazy fun … Cheap prices like five euro for a dress, top, jacket, scarf, and ten euro for bags … There was underwear and socks for sale, hair supplies, jewelry and shoes! Crazy. Locals must shop there? Kids stuff too ….

We had an hour to power shop, back to the same Gelateria for the same purpose, back to the car. On to the windy twisty mountain and seaside road … Great vistas, sun shine and saying good bye to some of our fave places …..

We had seen the main roads leading to Reggio, C for the past week. This is a major end of the road in the tow of the boot. So all roads lead there heading south. Today we head north to Salerno

I brought us to the highway and pulled off at the same agritourismo restaurant that we stopped at a week ago, and had the same meal … Lol. Fried potatoes. So yummy and with a little Parmesan, were just what we wanted. A bottle of fizzy water and use of facilities … Off we go.

Janie drove for a while, on the AutoStrade, until we got to the other side of Solerno. We changed places again and I was to drive us past Pompeii and in to the outskirts of the city of Naples hoping to get us safely to the airport.

We made great turns, all eyes on the road and checking signage. Then we found the airport … So happy … Signage for the return of car ….

Oooooooops! We over shot and went past the tiny little road entrance to drop off all rental cars. Oh dear. Oh my. The airport is next to the military area and so there is luckily a place to pull over in the crazy mad traffic around Naples airport. I did. I thought it might be possible to pull a u turn and get back to where we came … So we waited for an opportunity to pull in to oncoming traffic, cross two lanes and into another going the other way …. Oh my. I saw other people and cars do it … And I waited and waited and finally a guy waves me in and I inch my way over and over and finally …. We are heading the other way …. But much disappointment to realize there is no way to cross back over to get where we need to be. I can see traffic lights and a big hill going down to the city centro. I am doing what I can mentally to talk myself through this … And perhaps a few potty mouth phrases escaped.

Finally we reach a set of lights and several cars in front of me pull u turns. With unanimous support I take the leap of faith and follow them … A u turn in Naples with my precious cargo, friends and a rental car … I get to where we need to go.

Parked install number twelve of Europe car lot. I breathe. And again and again. I can feel the pressure and a few tears leak out. We are safe and we are here. I walk to the office, we get the paperwork complete. I won’t drive here again likely. And certainly not this trip.

We haul our luggage across the road to the taxi stand … All five of us get in and off to the hotel Le Chiminee Business Hotel. We drive through the nasty dirty industrial area and realize that one of the hotels we considered is there … I see the sign. Relief that we have selected another nicer one and that I am not driving to try to find it. So relieved I can still feel appreciation for our decision to take a cab.

Our taxi driver pulls on to a train track! Behind a train going that way … I guess like a metro? I smile and think it would be an interesting read in this blog! I certainly would not have known to take this route!

We have the most beautiful hotel. On a busy street, two rooms, a triple and a double. Breakfast included. Wifi available in the lobby. He will arrange for a taxi for us in the morning. The restaurant has senza glutine… No gluten food … So we have a reservation for 730 pm. Janie confirms bedding arrangements with separated beds. We divide up, take the lifts and go to our rooms, which are next door to each other. Beautiful clean and on a nice street. We have a balcony and see the other gals outside on theirs. Everyone is thrilled with our hotel choice! Wooooop. Wooooop

I am writing this now … As I unwind from the drive and stress of responsibility of driving in this foreign land. We had watched a Rick Steeves cd on Naples and he said under no circumstances to drive in Naples. I agree!

Thanks to the universe for guiding me today… And for the support of my travel friends.

We will take a cab to the airport tomorrow and go home! Back to Victoria and on with our lives! More later, my friends!

ciao tutti! Ti amo.

Pamellllla for another day.

Wish you were here!

Guest blog additions from travel companion and good friend, Deb:

Beautiful sunny day Headed out at 9:45 saying goodbye to our home for the last week. We all have mixed emotions. We enjoyed our time together, learning about the people and all the resort and Maratea has to offer. Our amazing courageous driver Pamela is at the wheel and taking us back through the windy mountain roads headed for the highway and Naples.

Since we got off to an early start and we loved Sapri and one of the Bella donnas had not seen Sapri we decided to stop. Of course we had to visit the amazing luggage store with the Italian leather wallets that were 5 euros each. OMG did we just pass a market yes we did and we all agreed we walk over there after we purchased more change purses for our loved ones back home.
What an experience wide open parking lot with merchants selling their wares. No food like our farmers markets but shoes, clothing, jewelley, purses, and many other things. The stands seemed to go forever and offered everything from bargains to high end leather bags and designer clothing. It was fun, fun, fun and we all got something to finish off our Italy shopping experience.

We returned to the family owned agri torismo where we stopped on the way to a week earlier to Maratea. Lunch was home cooked and 3 of the gals had a hearty bean soup. We had home made Pan fries with grated Parmesan cheese.

Bye bye Reggio and on the main highway by 2:00 pm. Pam is the captain.

Arrived safely at Napoli airport at 4:25.
Thank you my friend.

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