Local Time: Afternoon, April 25, 2014
Updates have been delayed due to internet connection related issues. Can you update it all together? Notes from Naples on arrival.
We got our car at Capodichino airport and started our tour of the beautiful village with the Peugeot 308.
The first destination is « Sant´Agata de´Goti », which is the closest to Naples, about 20km away and 40 minutes away. Again, I used Google Maps to get there.
Driving around Naples has a reputation for being rough, but I had already experienced this seven years ago. I’m a better European driver than I was then, so I didn’t have to worry about unreasonable overtaking or interruptions, and the drive went smoothly.
And we arrived at Sant´Agata de´Goti on time according to Google Maps.
This is the first village of the most beautiful villages in Italy!
It’s pretty good from the start.
There was plenty of parking and, most importantly, lots of tourists. There are many beautiful villages in France where there are a lot of people, but basically there was no one or only a few people, so I was a little surprised, or I thought it was like this in Italy.
The exterior of the village is of course wonderful, but the scenery inside was also very beautiful.
Then we went to a village called Nusco via highway and public road for about 2 hours.
The weather was good and we could see Mt. Vesuvius below us several times during the trip, which we must have seen 7 years ago, but we had so many problems at that time that we didn’t have time to look at it.
We arrived at the second village, Nusco, around 4 pm. It is also crowded with people. We parked on the street near the entrance of the town. Of course, parallel parking. The Peugeot 308 seems to be more maneuverable than I thought.
This village is also basically the same size with one main street. The colorful colored buildings were impressive, but I think Sant´Agata de´Goti, which I visited earlier, is better in terms of beauty.
After an hour or so of sightseeing, we’re off to our lodgings in Naples, about an hour and 20 minutes away. We will go to the hotel which we booked in advance.
Even though I’m used to driving in Europe, I was still a little nervous about driving in Naples, which has a reputation for having some of the worst manners in Italy, so when I was deciding on a hotel, I looked up the parking situation nearby on Google Maps Street View.
This preliminary research was perfect! We arrived at our intended route and parking lot without difficulty. Driving in the city was much easier than I expected. It is true that there were some unreasonable overtaking and forceful interruption. But this kind of thing is common in Paris. In fact, it might be more scary in Paris.
We took the hotel located in front of the station. I chose it because I prioritized the parking situation and also because I stayed here 7 years ago and it was a good value for the facilities.
But there seemed to be no restaurant, so we had our first dinner in Italy at a nearby café-restaurant.
White wine, caprese and spaghetti bongole.
It’s a small café-restaurant in the city, but as far as the menu is concerned, most of the dishes are familiar to people in Japan.
The main purpose of this trip is to visit beautiful villages, but it is also to investigate the food. In particular, one of the main purposes is to prove the hypothesis that « Italian food in Japan is too salty, but it is not so in Italy.
Even though it was only the first day, I felt that this hypothesis was generally correct. The standout is the caprese. The seasoning is really simple. Even though the local mozzarella was certainly different from what we eat in Japan, it was not unnecessarily drenched in olive oil and salt. There was only a hint of saltiness, no oil on it.
The spaghetti, on the other hand, did have a salty taste to it, but I think this was probably the salty taste of the cooking water used to boil the pasta.
Wine, it was delicious, but I will learn this gradually.
The weather, the village, the car, the wine and the food made for a great first day. Tomorrow, the journey begins in earnest.