June 25, 2019: Rome to Torre Anunziata

Tuesday. GT2 Day Seventeen. Torre Anunziata, Italy.

First thing this morning in Rome I returned to the bakery next door and got breakfast for the family. Cornettos (croissants) for Dominica, Madeline, and me; and a doughnut for Emily. Everyone really liked their breakfast yesterday.

We packed up and checked out of the apartment early. We have a long day ahead of us. First we hiked the very short walk to the local train station and took the Rome rail to the airport. This is our first train of the trip.

At the airport we went to Hertz and got our car. We ended up with a Ford B-Max. Not the worst car, but not the best. Good space and very comfortable. Terrible visibility between the controls being all hidden behind the steering wheel and a huge, ugly, shiny Sony stereo that acts like a mirror and puts the sun directly into your eyes anytime you aren’t driving straight towards it, and sensors that go off constantly for false things. But it handles well and has good power and shifts easily. And the girls love it, it is so spacious in the back seat that Emily thought that we were in an SUV and didn’t realize that this was a sub-compact! The back even has sliding doors, which is hilarious on such a tiny car, and the trunk is huge holding all four of our backpacks and my CPAP. Overall, a pretty nice car. But the reflective and totally useless stereo is so significant of a problem that Dominica has to shove a napkin into the CD player so that it drapes over the stereo so that I can see while driving.

The drive from Rome to Naples seemingly took forever. In reality, it was about four hours in intense sun and heat on loads of crazy roads. We aren’t sure if we used Google Maps incorrectly or if there was like an accident or something on the A1, but I was under the impression that Dominica had said that taking the highway or this route were about the same amount of time so we had chosen this one as it had no tolls. But that might have been misinformation and it might have been only two hours the other way, which would have been nice.

We got to see a lot of coastal Lazio, though. We stopped for lunch at a roadside place, which was hard enough to find. I got my first eggplant parmesean of the trip, which was pretty awesome actually. Emily got lasagna. Dominica just got caprese. And Madeline skipped lunch as there was nothing that she could eat. Roadside places are very difficult if you don’t eat the two or three things on offer. There isn’t any real selection.

We were a little early arriving in Torre Anunziato, which is a suburn of Naples near Pompeii, where we are staying tonight. We stopped at a little bar and got coffees and to our great surprise, pizzetti as it is called here or tomato pie back in Utica. It was good, but I like the Utica variety more. Very clearly the same thing, though. Looks identical. Utica style has more sauce and the sauce is sweeter.

I walked around a bit looking for our apartment, but was unable to find it. By the time that I was done, our host was at the apartment and had given us directions to drive there. So we loaded up in the car and drove one minute up the street to the apartment.

Our apartment here was super nice. A really old building in a terrible neighbourhood, the whole town is terrible, with a completely modern, renovated interior. Really impressive. It had gorgeous appointments, tons of room, the girls had a nice bedroom, we had a nice bedroom, the living room was huge, a big balcony, gated parking, two nice, modern bathrooms with bidets, nice shower, a claw foot tub, etc. All super nice. But a few things were missing. Like the kitchen didn’t have a sink yet, and no running water. So you had to use the bathroom sink to get water. And the biggest thing, is that there is no air conditioning! This we knew when we booked, but that was before being in the worst heat wave to ever hit Europe. We were over one hundred degrees while in the apartment and we were just dying. It was terrible.

There was no food obviously nearby the apartment. So I set out in the heat to go looking for some before dragging the family along as it might take a while. The assumption was that something would be nearby the apartment, I would find out what it was, and report back so that people would know what the options are. It turns out that I had to walk a few miles through some pretty rough neighbourhoods before I found anything. It was insane.

Eventually I found two street pizza places, and one Turkish place. All street food. The last pizza place was actually not so far, but a good walk and in a rough area, and not at all in the direction where we had been led to believe that there would be food.

So I got back and reported on the overall situation. Dominica decided to stay behind while Emily, Madeline, and I went to the local (ish) pizza place and got two standard Margharita pizzas, and some aranchini to take back with us. At least we are getting real Napoli pizza while in Napoli. That is the number one thing to do here.

The food was cheap, and we walked back with it to the apartment to eat it in the unbearable heat. The pizza was good. Good quality, and Napoli style is good. But honestly, not as good as the pizza back in Western NY. I’ve still never found pizza to rival that anywhere in the world. And I’ve had some good pizza in some good places.

The arancini turned out to have meat in it. The girls each tried a bite and said that it was good, but both declined to actually eat any of it. Real Sicilian food and that was all the more interested that they had in it. Dominica and I ate around the meat, they were really awesome.

Nothing to do but go to bed at this point. The Internet here is really bad and we are basically offline for the night. Hopefully things will be better in Orvieto, which is where we are staying tomorrow night. We are only here for one night, so the lack of Internet and Air Conditioning are things we just have to push through. All of the windows are open and we have as much air coming through as we can get.

Tomorrow we are visiting Pompeii first thing in the morning. And once done there, we are driving straight up to Orvieto in Umbria where we will be for two days. We had hoped that we could do Pompeii this evening right upon arrival in the area, but we didn’t quite manage to pull it off.