After I completed my music residency in late April in Sicily this year, my faithful sidekick Tonbear and I embarked on an adventure. We jumped on trains and traveled all over Italy. We went to so many places with our favourites being: Venice, Rome, Milan, Florence and, my personal love; Sorrento.
Our good friend joined us for some of our trip as well as Tony's brother, his wife, their daughter and her boyfriend. It was great fun and, it was only when our friend was traveling back to Canada (earlier than our departure) that disaster struck. She had a serious accident on the train when it stopped abruptly in Naples and ended up going into surgery and, then she was trapped in a hospital in the middle of nowhere outside of the center of Naples. While she talked to her health insurer to find a way home, we ended our trip in my beautiful Sorrento (sob) and, traveled to be by her side in Naples. Our vacation was officially over. Friends come first.
I have heard many negative things about Naples, Italy, over the years. "There are pickpockets everywhere and, it's not safe," was the constant warning every time we said we were going to Italy. So, I was not thrilled to be going somewhere that I felt was unsafe and, that I had never planned to visit, ever. That said, we arrived at our friend's hospital bedside and stayed with her each day from 8 to 10 hours making sure she was looked after and trying to keep her spirits up along with our own. I could see Mount Vesuvius from one of the hospital windows, which was breathtaking; it seemed so close.
Right from the start, we were thrown off by Naples. There was garbage everywhere! Everywhere you walked, there were mountains of trash along the fields and streets (the Mafia controls garbage pick up and has for years). We were out in the middle of nowhere a well so, it was hard to get around and get a taxi that showed up (had to walk to our B&B in the pouring rain one night with no umbrellas). We walked to the hospital to visit our friend every day (half-hour there and back) and, did enjoy the walk.
We also discovered the eternal magic of Naples, which would have never happened otherwise (karma). On our first night there, a very kind family rented us a room in their B&B late at night well past when anyone would be expecting calls from people. It was a beautiful room. The family continued to take care of us, lowered the rental fee as we continued to stay and, served us an excellent breakfast each morning with a cheery smile. They also had me over to their house for a fantastic dinner after Tony had to leave to fly home because his father was in the hospital.
On our first day, making our way the hospital, we were lost walking and, a perfect stranger gave us a lift from his house to the hospital, no questions asked. Wow.
Our friend had two roommates in her hospital room and, the family and lady in the bed next to her became our friends. We were taken out to lunch and treated like their family.
We met a well-known opera singer who was visiting her mother in the third bed in our friend's hospital room. She showed us pictures of her performances in every great opera house in the world, WOW!
We had the best food in Naples! The pizza and dishes were amazing and, the prices were so low.
We began to see the true beauty of the area we were in as we became more than tourists; we felt like locals living there. We walked down the cobblestoned streets; those little areas where people lived were cozy and, everybody was always out walking, buying their food at the market and, drinking their espresso on the run. Even the hospital where we spent our days had a little 'Mom and Pop' store that sold; you guessed it, espresso, croissants, and, other sweet treats.
The morning Tony left Naples to get home to his dad who was in the hospital in Saint John, (I stayed with our friend in the hospital there) as I was walking to the hospital (half-hour walk), a man stopped his car and grabbed me and tried to pull me into it. Without thinking, I kicked him and tried to twist away, yelling at the top of my lungs. What happened next was amazing. It seemed like every car and motorbike converged on the scene, and the man was hauled away from me, and a bunch of very kind men of all ages surrounded me asking me if I was ok from what I could understand from their tone and gestures. I felt very safe with them. They gestured that I should go on my way.
An elderly lady appeared from a nearby restaurant and, was murmuring gently to me as she held my arm and walked me for a while until we were close to the hospital.
We met the most amazing and, kindest people in Naples when we were there. They are so proud of where they live and, everybody helps everybody.
We will go back and finally get to see Naples as tourists.☺️