Saturday, December 19, 2009

Napoli, Napoli

The streets of Napoli!

Naples...what can I say? It was not as scary as I had imagined, but it was a little edgy and very interesting. They simply live so differently than we do. Each time I have come to Italy I have been impressed by the hard life they live here. You see so many people with physical infirmities that you just don't see much in America (i.e., club feet) and the beggars are everywhere and they are for real. It is very sad. Everything is frenetic and fast paced in one way and very old world and laid back in another. It is really hard to explain and almost needs to be experienced to be understood. It is crowded, noisy, lots of people talking loudly, sirens, horns honking, merchants selling their wares...etc.

Naples is known to be a very rough and tough place. One of the things that had me a little freaked out is that there is no way we could blend in with the crowds. Jim and Gloria yes, as she is full Italian and he is half but when you get down to Laura who is a quarter and her kids that are an eighth....hmmm, not really. Jim has been dressing so cool over here and he totally looks the part; charcoal pants, black pullover and a 3/4 length black dress jacket and black scarf. Perfecto!

Months ago I bought him a small "man bag" so he can keep his sun glasses, lip balm, meds, phone, tape measure for school and iPod all in one place. There was a method to my madness...this way less gets misplaced each day. It is a very masculine thing, small black canvas and has a Swiss Army insignia to make it definitely a "guy thing." In spite of all that, he has taken some pretty heavy kidding about it in the states from his friends. Sure of himself, he has held his ground and really likes the convenience of it.

Over here in Italy these bags are extremely popular and they make total sense. So not only does he look awesome in his Italian attire the man bag completes his outfit! He is going to crack up when he reads this or ask me to delete it. We blondies, real and imagined, cannot fit in no matter what. The only thing that is bothersome about that is it can make you a much easier target for gypsies and pic pockets so you just have to be a lot more careful. So we were and we did just fine. We took the metro train into Naples and that was an experience both directions. It is just so weird how people just pack in tighter and tighter until you don't have to hold on the crowd holds you in place. I love people watching in Naples.

Spencer in front of the Duomo of Naples

The most impressive place we saw in Naples is the Duomo (cathedral) of Naples dedicated to the patron saint of Naples, Saint Gennaro. Each year a vile of his blood liquefies (really?) Anyway, people come for this event once a year and it is said that even scientists have studied this curiosity?? The interior of this cathedral is beautiful and immense.

The Alter at Saint Gennaro's

They have candle sticks to the side of this alter area that have to be 25 feet tall. The silver alone in this building is totally over the top.

What's a Duomo without a Cupola?

We also walked down a long narrow road known as Christmas Alley with our destination being the museum that holds the sculpture, The Veiled Christ. It is closed on Wednesday so we went on Tuesday...but in Italy anything goes and it was closed when we arrived. Most of the things in the Alley were very tacky, trinkety type things and we wondered how it could stay open and manage to sell anything year around. It has a bit of the SF China Town type of a feel to it.

Naples is such a mix of elaborate and elegant places and some very slummy areas and everything in between. I am glad I went but as for me once is enough. Jim went last time we were here but for some reason I didn't. I don't think I'll be going back except when we fly out in a few weeks. I prefer the less chaotic, more predictable parts of Italy.


Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Bon Bon,
So good to hear from you. That is a beautiful cathedral. Europe is full of those unfortunately not so full of people, that is why they are tourist spots, guess that is how they make money to maintain them. Sad!!
Wow, sounds more hustle bustle than the U.S. cities. Is the area
where Laura lives more country like living??
Nice pic of all of you. Laura looks so much like her Mommy!!
She is a cutie too!
Have missed you and hope you are all having a Wonderful time. Looks like it is pretty cold there.
Can't believe it is only 5 days till Christmas.
I threw my back out again last night! lol
All I did was bend over to pick something up and when I stood up I said oh No! cause I could feel it.
Same thing as before!
As Jimmy pulled me out of the recliner this morning he laughed and said "Life in the Middle" and
I laughed and said yea, we are really getting tested on this class we are teaching. We are on chapters about suffering right now!! Course, there are a lot worse ways to suffer I have to say.
Well, you enjoy your family and have a Merry Merry Christmas!
Love, Peace and Joy to you and yours, Nellie

Caroline Craven said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! It is fun to read your blogs and see the pics. When I looked at the first pic of your group I thought Laura looks so much like you and Nellie confirmed it. We need a pic of Jim in his attire, complete with the man bag - very chic, Jim. And I bet you are glad you have it. It sounds like you are having the time of your lives, despite the hectic pace and the honking at the d*** tourists from the locals. Let 'em honk. Have a safe and fun trip.

LA Adams said...

Your descriptions are clear and insightful, I like you writing style! Have a really great vacation with your lovely family.

Bonnie said...

You all make it worth getting up before the sun to type a few thoughts. Thank you for enjoying it!