Saturday 10-10-2015 Rome to Naples
Had a relaxing start today again said goodbye to Giulia and her brother since they had something to do in the morning and my train didn’t leave until 11am so I too it easy although soon enough I had to change that into hurrying a little to catch my train :P I got a nice lunch from Giulia’s mom really sweet how she keeps trying to stuff me full of delicious food :P after saying goodbye to her parents I really had to get a move on since I didn’t take the traffic into account and was going to be 50-50 whether I would catch the train in time :p
Unfortunately it started to rain half way to the station so I was pretty much soaked when I got there :/ but at least I got there quite in time even with spending too much time at the ticket machine twice since at first I forgot to get a second ticket for my bike …… which was a bit of a struggle to get into the train since it was one of those trains that has some annoying steps to get in, but luckily someone helped to push it in :D just in time because the doors were closing just as I got in ^^ unfortunately for some they were nog in time, but apparently holding the doors open is not an option in these old trains and I almost lost a foot :P
During the 3 hour train ride I was quite uncomfortable still being wet and now also cold since there was quite a draft through the doors, and those are often the moments when my head start thinking of why the hell am I doing this…… this can be done in an easier way and was seriously thinking to ditch the bike and get a backpack to continue my trip and I have to say the idea is still running through my head from time to time but first I will take a nice break from cycling and do some farm volunteering ^^ perhaps that’s just what I need to rekindle the enjoyment of bikepacking ^^
After the wet/cold 3 hour train ride I finally arrived in Naples :D where it was at the moment dry luckily since in the 3 hours I pretty much dried up and didn’t want to get soaked again :P so at least I didn’t have to look for my hosts house in the rain ^^
Unfortunately I quickly learned that Naples is most definitely not a good city for cycling since they still had roads of the time when the roman empire ruled, and are really shit to cycle over, especially with 25kg of baggage on your bike too and was kinda fearing my bike would fall apart while going where I need to be, although my butt and arms did get kind of a massage out of these shitty roads :P
Other than the shitty roads the city itself could use a big paint/renovation job since on the outside it really looks like many buildings are actually squatted and filled with graffiti, kinda making it look like a backdrop neighborhood, but that was just a first impression which luckily turned out to be wrong ^^ when I finally made it to the right street I had quite some trouble finding the right house since the numbering was not really done in a logical manner, so I had to contact my host Nicoletta to come and find me :p but I was really close and it turned out her house didn’t have a number on it at all so not my bad that I couldn’t find it :P
And as soon as I got in my first impression was proved wrong since it was a pretty nice and big house which she shared with 4 other girls and after a nice warm shower I was ready to be social again and have some nice chats and tell about my travels, Nicoletta who is also a bikepacking fan also had some cool stories and has also gone through Holland for a week or so by bike and was happy to tell me how she like my home country ^^
After some time of chilling and chatting Nicoletta wanted to show me around the old city center which was not that big so we went by foot, which made me quite happy since I really didn’t feel like destroying my bike on those roads :P unfortunately it quickly started raining again but we were prepared for that and brought some umbrella’s with us but despite that my feet still got soaked so after the walking tour of mayb an hour or so I had to dry them off again…….. well at least they are finally a bit cleaner, still stinky though :P the rest of the evening we just hung out and had a nice dinner with some more chilling.
Sunday 11-10-2015 I got woken up by Nicoletta since I slept through my alarm, because we would go to a free biking tour of another part of the city so after a quick breakfast with some lovely jasmin tea we were off to the meetup point luckily we weren’t the only ones that were a bit late and were actually the first to arrive :P When the group was complete, two older British women and a polish couple we were ready to go :D we really saw quite a bit which was really nice and luckily the weather turned really good too and had some nice hot sunshine most of the day :D It really was a lot of fun chatting and joking around especially with the British women who were very funny although terrible on the bike so (on request of the tour guide) I stayed in the rear to keep an eye on them ^^
After seeing some of many interesting thing Naples had to offer we made our way to a vineyard in the middle of one of many volcanic craters that are to be found with in the middle a nice lake surrounded by a beautiful and quiet/relaxing area where we would stay for lunch, which was really delicious ate many different things and even enjoyed some anchovies and of course there was lots of delicious wine too although maybe a bit too much since on the way back Nicoletta crashed into a tree and one of the Brits ran into a fence :P so I stayed in the rear again trying to make sure cars gave us enough space while they passed us ^^
After returning to the starting place we said our goodbyes to each other and me and Nicoletta went to the old center again to find a nice pizza place funny enough on our search we bumped into the British women again and decided to go get some pizza together which was also very fun and the wine flowed richly again :P The pizza (typical Napolitan pizza btw) was delicious but funny enough I was the only one that actually finished mine and was semi forced to eat their leftovers too :P after our delicious dinner we all said our goodbyes again and went our separate ways ^^
Monday 12-10-2015 we had an early start again since I really wanted to go up Vesuvius and spread some of my grandpa’s ash before I had to leave for the helpX farm. It was about 22km from Nicoletta’s house up to Vesuvius so we needed to leave pretty early if we wanted to be back in time for me to catch my train.
But first I had to try a typical sweet from Naples on the way there which was really yummie but quickly had to keep going. Soon enough we already had to start climbing which was not as challenging this time due to the lack of 25kg of baggage :P the sceneries got very nice really quickly with a wonderful overview of the whole city and bay that plus all the volcanic rocks and forest everywhere ^^
On our way up we came across the polish couple from the tour but since I was in the middle of a steep road I couldn’t really stop for a chat so made some short quick remarks/jokes while I kept going :P Once we finally made it to the top, although not really the top since you had to pay to get up there plus we had some time constrictions, but still a very beautiful place, I spread some of my grandpa’s ash which I am positive he would have loved especially since it’s not really allowed here in Italy :P rested up a little bit while enjoying the views but couldn’t stay that long because of the trains, luckily going down is way faster and much more fun than going up and were down in maybe 20minutes (while going up took maybe 1.5 to 2 hours :P) unfortunately that also meant being back on the shitty roads again but that’s all part of it I guess ^^ after getting back to the house we were both pretty tired and hungry ad had a nice and tasty lunch, pasta with peas never heard of that combo before but was really good ^^
After the pasta I had to pack my things say my goodbyes and head out to the train station where I arrived just in time, this time I had no struggles with the ticket machine since I figured that one out back in Rome :P I also found the right train in one go but forgot one little thing, to stamp the tickets :/ which made me almost miss the train after all but luckily someone kept the door open for me and I could role my bike right in since this train did not have those annoying steps to get in ^^
After getting of the train I still had some 30km to go to the farm which got pretty exciting since it was already getting dark and most of the roads here have no street lights making it damn hard to see where I was going since my front light was busted, luckily I rear light still worked so at least the cars could see I was there ^^
But that wasn’t the only excitement of the evening since when I got pretty close to the farm there were many many dogs around and of course these dillholes are not exactly fans of cyclists and at one point there was one place with many dogs but unfortunately no fences to keep them in allowing them to chase me for quite a while…….. Not fun at all, especially when you can’t see anything other that some light reflecting eyes coming at you with growling sounds getting closer and closer :x but luckily those lazy bastards weren’t fast enough to keep up and I was able to leave them behind after a little while of chasing ^^ shortly after that I arrived at the farm, introduced myself to everybody and had myself a nice shower in my own private room, such luxury ^^ and soon after it was already dinner time jeeeeeuuujj since I was getting really hungry too.