The night train to Naples was a hell ride. It was packed full of people and even though we had seat reservations there seemed to be people sitting where we were supposed to be. As we waited for the train attendant to come the police came on the train and just started telling people where to sit since it was so disorganized. They tried to put us in a space that was crammed with other passengers who had their belongings strewn about. I had to struggle with the train attendant to put us in the seats we had reserved and have the people occupying those seats kicked out. We finally took our proper seats but it was difficult to sleep. We were a little worried about our belongings since the train was crammed with all kinds of random people and it didn’t help that the dude sitting next to us was a loud snorer. Also, sleeping upright in a rocking train seat isn’t easy. After what seemed like the longest train ride ever we finally arrived in Naples.
I had high expectations of Naples, so it is sad to say this, but the place seemed like a shithole. I guess I shouldn’t generalize the entire city that way, but everywhere surrounding the train station seemed like a dump. There were piles of garbage everywhere, sidewalks in disrepair, tons of construction, graffiti, crazy traffic jams, and you couldn’t cross the street without fearing for your life. We grabbed some coffees and decided to walk towards the coast where we thought things might be a little nicer. After getting caught up in a labor march we happened upon a tourist information booth. Not sure why this wasn’t at the train station, I guess that’d make too much sense. Anyway, the people working at it were helpful and gave us a map and told us about some sights to see; some of Napel’s castles were among them.
We walked through the pathways of Napel’s oldest castle which was actually on a small island off the coast connected by a bridge. The views we got were unbeatable and it kind of made up for the hassle to get there.
We grabbed some food at a typical Italian restaurant, and then made our way back to the train station where we caught our night train to Milan. The night train to Milan was a lot better than the night before because we were able to reserve actual beds in a sleeper car rather than just seats. We slept great, however, in the morning the train attendant did not return our rail pass to us which he had taken from us the night before when he checked our reservations. I kept telling him that I needed it back but he insisted he did not have it. I was getting worried I’d never see it again and felt quite helpless. I kept pleading with the train attendant but to no avail. There were a couple of Italian dudes in our sleeper car as well, one who spoke a little English and sympathized with us. When he saw the train attendant walk by again it seemed like he was giving him crap for not returning our pass or something, I couldn’t tell since he was speaking to him in Italian, however shortly after that conversation the train attendant was able to produce our rail pass. I guess he finally realized his mistake and had given it to another passenger (that makes you feel good). At least he was very apologetic about the mistake but I honestly think that if it wasn’t for our fellow Italian passenger we wouldn’t have seen our rail pass again. Having our rail pass back we breathed a huge sigh of relief as we rolled into Milan. Shortly thereafter we caught our train to Pisa.
Our bed and breakfast was just a short walk from the Pisa train station and was quite nice. We dropped off our stuff and then went in search of food. After lunch we strolled around a little while but came back to our room to relax some and watched some English television documentaries about Russia. It was nice relaxing especially after all the train travel we had done for the past two days but alas, we didn’t come to Pisa to watch television. We were off to see the leaning tower, but not without first stopping to get some ice cream from a place that was recommended by our host. The place was called Gelateria De’ Coltelli and was supposed to be one of the top five ice cream places in Italy. It was pretty good I guess. We finished our ice cream on our way to the leaning tower where we hung out and took some pictures. It was fun watching all the other tourists doing the required hand-holding-up-the-leaning-tower pose and making sure their pictures came out just perfect.