Thursday, April 12, 2012

Naples, Part II

Our trip didn't start well, I was clearly distracted as we went through security at the airport, setting off the body scanner. No it wasn't the metal plate in my head, rather my iphone in my jeans pocket, duhhh!  Then Jasmine's rucksack was singled out for special attention, they opened it up, pulling everything out, cuddly toy followed cuddly toy then came the pencil case with the incriminating scissors...double duhhh.  Bizarrely the lady measured the blade on them and declared them safe to fly as they were under 6cm long - still sharp enough to be a threat I'd have thought? (On the flight home the scissors were safely tucked away in the hold luggage, neither of us could face the prospect of being pulled in by burly Italian security in Napoli, one of the homes of the Mafia)

We really struggled to find nice places to eat in Naples.  There are many, many hole in the wall pizza places which are great for a quick bite but in the evening it's nice to sit and take your time.  I had a list of restaurants I'd found recommended and so the first evening we went in search of one.  I put the address into the maps app on my phone and off we went. We went backwards and forwards past the flashing blue dot on the map but there was no corresponding restaurant door.  The only time we successfully found a recommended restaurant was when we phoned and made a reservation and then got a taxi to take us there. Weird. 

The pizzas themselves are amazing though, and having made them on our first day I can understand why they are known as Napoli's fast food, no need for McDonalds there.  The most time consuming part of the pizza process must be the dough which is made in advance and left to rise, it is then worked from a ball into a flat disc - this caused Si the most problems, he wrecked two lots of dough with his impatience and heavy handedness (both the children managed it with ease) and then after mid air stretching the tomato base is spread over then the topping (no pineapple allowed) then cheese, basil and a dribble of olive oil.  The final tricky bit is pulling the completed pizza onto the tray on a stick which is then used to deposit the pizza in the wood fired pizza oven. The pizza cooks for minutes, I guess because the oven is so hot and the pizza so thin that more time is not needed, although maybe if they cooked for a little longer they wouldn't be so damn soggy in the centre, but then I guess they wouldn't be Neapolitan pizzas!

We were in Naples 2-8 April and on April 11 the America's Cup started, based out of the marina.  On our last day in Naples we headed over to the marina area to see if it was any nicer than the rest of the city, if nothing else it should be all clean and sparkly because of the world's press.  Unfortunately it rained all day and rain is really not conducive to meandering around city streets, however that was the plan so we stuck to it.

In all big (Italian anyway) cities you get un-authorised street sellers, usually selling fake bags and purses on the curbside, but on this particular day they were all out in force flogging umbrellas, what a stroke of genius, after all who packs an umbrella when they're going to a country renowned for its warmth and sun?  The moment we started up the street headed in the direction of the marina I stopped an umbrella hawker and bought one, didn't bargain with him, just unfurled the brolly and stood under its shelter as I handed over 10 euro.  Simon was disgusted and scornful, declaring that I'd been ripped off.  Maybe so, but at least Jas and I were dry.  He borrowed 1 euro from me and declared he'd buy one for himself, sometime later he had to concede to paying 4 euro, which he gloated about but as he is, by profession, a salesman, it's a good job he was able to get a better price, I know who was drier though!

The upside of the crappy weather was that popping into shops was a good thing, I do love Italian shoe shops.  The downside of the rain was that we rapidly ran out of enthusiasm for the idea exploring the marina area, no-where looks attractive in the rain so the closest we got to the America's Cup was the website!

No comments: