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Naples and Amalfi coast trip report (why I hate scooters!)

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Aug 6th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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Naples and Amalfi coast trip report (why I hate scooters!)

First Naples is a dump. Dirty and grimy at every corner and the only reason we went there was for the Archeological museum. The pizza was great though, unfortunately the best pizza places are located in these street/alleyways that look bad in the daylight. Rough neighborhoods to walk around in definitely not after dark!

CAR RENTAL= Rented a car at the Avis counter at the airport and downgraded because I needed something small while there. One thing to remember is that they will try to screw you out of some money, everyone and everywhere you go. She tried to charge me 150 euros over my confirmed rental rate, fought with them and finally got it to my rental rate. The guy checking the car with me would not mark the scratches I found and wouldn't even lend me his pen when I wanted to mark them myself.

Driving in Naples= Mad! Bad! aggravating! not courteous! crazy! I have driven in NYC, Paris, LA and even Baghdad and this city is worse than all. Friggin scooters!!! The city was not built for public transportation so drivers there just make their own rules and do not use any turn signals. The streets are built with big uneven cobblestones that will jar your teeth loose. Glad we were here only one night.

Pompeii= we drove to Pompeii after leaving that craphole of a city Napoli and parked at the amphitheater side, with all of out luggage in the trunk and on a metered street, for a euro an hour. We had no problems. After escaping from Naples we felt overconfident to park anywhere. 11 euros to get in, take a water bottle as there is lots of walking to do (not handicapped accessible!) and spigots throughout were you can refill the bottle.

Sorrento= used this city as a base and was a good decision because the other city's along the Amalfi coast are logistically challenging. Again, the friggin scooters coming at you from all directions.
A rental was also welcomed because relying on a public bus to take you anywhere meant being trapped in a hot tuna can, people were squished in them buses!

Driving to Amalfi= yes, the roads are very narrow! I am an experienced driver an can drive these 2 meter construction lanes in Germany at a fast rate of speed (on the Autobahns they narrow the fast lane to 2 meters when they are rebuilding the roads) so my motor reflexes paid off here. You will have to squeeze through some very tight spots! Scooter drivers are nuts though and seriously wondered why I didn't see any fatalities.

Getting into Positano with a car was impossible so we just went into Amalfi then into Ravello, nice towns. Hint: make sure you wait for the only stoplight into Ravello to turn green otherwise you will have to back down the mountain when a big truck comes at you (the damn light was red for like 10 minutes, I thought it was broken!).

Amalfi was nice but I liked Cinque Terre better. The people in this region just seemed not to give a fu** about anything and treated everyone around them the same way.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 10:56 AM
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"The people in this region just seemed not to give a fu** about anything and treated everyone around them the same way. "


I'm sorry you had a poor experience of Naples and the Locals.
Interesting that you should feel this way. I have always found the inhabitants of Campania to be very helpful and friendly. I find most of Italy to be this way, but in the South they seem even more prepared to go out of their way to help.

An example of the sort of behaviour I have found typical: On our first planned trip to Italy, with a months evening class Italian and a phrase book, I was trying to find out about various types of travel ticket - without success as I was battling to make myself understood. This turned out not to be a problem - the shop owner indicated for me to wait, ran up the street, and came back 2 minutes later with a lady from the Dry Cleaners - he knew she spoke English.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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First Naples is a dump. Dirty and grimy at every corner and the only reason we went there was for the Archeological museum. The pizza was great though, unfortunately the best pizza places are located in these street/alleyways that look bad in the daylight. Rough neighborhoods to walk around in definitely not after dark!


Probably referring to the neighborhood where we stayed. I did not see it as a dump, and had no problems walking around at night.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...th/5932891268/
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Aug 6th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Unusual first post. Perhaps the OP's attitude was relected back at him.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 12:15 PM
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Exactly AJP!
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Aug 6th, 2012, 12:28 PM
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It's a good rule of thumb for visiting any city that you're flying into NOT to rent your car until you leave the city. This works for New York, Boston, London, Rome, Naples etc. Makes life much easier.

We visited Naples from our one week rental villa in Sorrento and I regret we only had one day there. We ran into some interesting people and one especially lovely lady who had a refreshment stand in a park near the waterfront. It was a lovely day, and after going to the archeological museum, we spend the rest of the time at a great outdoor cafe, and wandering around.

The Amalfi drive was easy. Traffic was slow so there was no "bite-your-nails" moments. Just go with the flow and enjoy the scenery. We felt welcomed everywhere we went.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 12:35 PM
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You lost me at 'First Naples is a dump'.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 02:24 PM
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Well, some people like anchovies and some don't. That was my assessment of the joint.

Remember, just because you don't agree with someones negative review, it doesn't mean your positiveness is always better.
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Aug 6th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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Amazing
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Aug 7th, 2012, 10:04 AM
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Naples being referred to as a 'joint' ... interesting!
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Aug 7th, 2012, 11:29 AM
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I wonder what a poll of Romans and those north of Rome would have to say about Naples?

The 4 conversations I had with Romans when I told them I was going to Naples for a few days was basically "Be careful, it's dangerous".

This was with 3 hotel desk staff (seperately) and 1 waiter in the Termini area.
Regards, Walter
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Aug 7th, 2012, 12:34 PM
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I wonder what a poll of Romans and those north of Rome would have to say about Naples?

Similar to what non-New Yorkers often say about NYC. I would not consider such opinions as reliable, just a reflection of, if not prejudices, at least pre-conceptions.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 01:33 PM
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A friend of mine who has lived in Italy for over twenty years has a simple test. If visitors like Rome, she sends them down to Naples. If they can't bear Rome, they're off to Tuscany and the Veneto.

Personally I love Naples, but I can understand why some people are put off by it.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 01:39 PM
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"Similar to what non-New Yorkers often say about NYC. I would not consider such opinions as reliable, just a reflection of, if not prejudices, at least pre-conceptions."

I'll stick with just Romans here;

Regardless of what they would say their opinion would likely be based either 1st hand visits or hearing about friends, family or co-workers visits.

Add the daily news media and I think they might have a better grip of the facts on a city ~2hrs away by train than you give them credit for.

BTW why does it seem that you assume my hypothetical poll would have negative results. Regards, Walter
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Aug 7th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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If visitors like Rome, she sends them down to Naples.

I'm not crazy about Rome but really liked Naples.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 04:53 PM
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THANK YOU Remagen_Man. You have described it exactly how it is. We were just on the same area as you were and the only difference was, we did not hire a car. Although, I am not surprised with your encounter at the rental car.

We alloted 2 days for Naples but in the end, decided to skip. We were just at the Napoli Centrale and that was enough to put me off and scared the hell out of my 2 daughters. My father-in-law was from that region and even way back in the 70s, he never liked it and had so many stories about Napoli to his family. My husband just let me be because I read many nice things about it here in Fodors. Look, even our tour guide at Pompei who is from Naples told us that we should skip Naples and just go to this area which is one station before and its by the harbor etc etc...he made sure we understood not to walk to the direction towards Napoli. He said, make sure have the pizza at Michele and go for a walk at the harbor with restaurants and after that, go back to Sorrento.

Scooters...where to begin. The driver we had for our Amalfi Coast tour told us that these people who ride the scooters are crazy and just asking to die and unfortunately, they dont! You are right about getting a car down Positano. Our driver parked as close as he could because he knew I want less walking as possible which is impossible but lesser. Ravello was nice too and that traffic light you mentioned. Our driver explained that too and it took a long time to turn green.

As far as the places you have mentioned, your report is the first report I can truly say was right on the dot. And yes, when you write something that is "real", you have attitude problem or you are strange. Sometimes I wonder what some of the people in this forum truly are...tourist guides? Or when they go to these places, are they wearing blinkers or are they walking in clouds or what? I mean, they paint a picture perfect places with little inconvenience here and there but no one would post "warnings" like gypsies, extreme pushy tactics of flower vendors and picture taking vendors at Trevi Fountain or Spanish Steps etc etc

Someone wants information on a place...replies with links are given asap and same names come up everywhere. I mean, seriously, who has time to sit and read through all these topics and be so "helpful".... I am here rigt now because I am getting over my jetlag....before our trip, I read as much as I could on people's input in this forum regarding the places we were going to. 98% were beautiful, tour guide book desciption of the places and experiences a person will have. And as soon as you get to any of this places like Firenze Santa Maria Novella Station...you are approached by gypsies asking for money. Then you see them signalling a partner to make sure not to miss someone. Or tipping. I still have to read someone saying that in Italy, you don't tip, period. Their blls have either coperto or servizio added, so additional tip like we do in America is not needed. Plus the fact that in Italy and France, being a waiter is not a minimum wage job like it is in America. Comments are always " up to you type of comment" No wonder we come out as dumb-a__ people all the time. Gypsies in Paris train stations or Eiffel Tower would actually ask if you are american and if you say yes..they hand you a sad letter about their family in broken english. You give them money then they go to the next one or atcually, will call othe gypsies to go to you.

In Puerto Rico, I spoke with waiters there and they say the most tight people in tipping or do not tip at all are Spaniards, French and Italians...because they dont tip.

anyway, again, remagen...great report!!!
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Aug 7th, 2012, 05:05 PM
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Or when they go to these places, are they wearing blinkers or are they walking in clouds or what?

What blinkers?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57627058744325

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57627058744325
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Aug 7th, 2012, 05:14 PM
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"I'm not crazy about Rome but really liked Naples."

I'll tell my friend to refine her criteria.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 06:36 PM
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hpqlvs,

You haven't read many trip reports, have you?

You might check my last one, although it's kind of old now. I believe I mentioned both my good and bad impressions. I know have read many trip reports here that mention the flower sellers, etc.

But I don't know why I'm arguing with you.
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Aug 7th, 2012, 08:15 PM
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Dayle,

Actually, I have not. I just picked a few interesting ones and I do my research before we go on a trip which is twice a year. Unfortunately, I do not have the time in the world to read nor create all these detailed trip report. I have a family to take care of and life.

On the other hand, if I do have all the time in the world to go through all topics and read all trip reports and make Fodors my life......no, I dont think so.

Yeah, I dont want to argue with you either because you will win. I dont have the time invested on Fodors like you do.
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