Friday, October 17, 2008

We Landed in . . . . Assisi!

We woke up to the noises of the busy city streets in Napoli. We took a few photos out of our window, but when we were walking the streets and visiting the market, we didn't feel comfortable pulling out our camera. We had read in one book that it was not advised to take photos, although Rick's book didn't have any such warning. The feel of the place was that it would not be appropriate. So no photos of the great outdoor Napoli market where we bought apples, oranges, and grapes or of the market where Howard selected prosciutto and cheese for our trip out of the city.

Side note . . . here is what Howard had to say about the traffic in Napoli:

It turns out that Napoli is the most densely populated city in Europe and has virtually no parks or open spaces. The weave of the people on the sidewalks and in traffic is amazing. If there is a spot that will not completely close off traffic, a car will be parked, even if it is at a 90-degree angle to another car. It is fun and crazy, a little like driving in Boston, I suspect. Here there are no lanes, just a flow of traffic and lots of horns. Little short beeps are actually, "Hello, how are you, haven't seen you in awhile" and slightly longer toots mean "I'm coming through so watch out, unless of course you have position on me and my horn won't stop you so I'll slow down long enough to let you by." It is all very complex.

We checked out of the hotel, walked the short distance to Avis, and picked up our car. Our car. In the heart of Napoli. Napoli with the crazy traffic, pedestrians taking their lives into their hands every time they cross the street. The horns, oh, the horns. Paperwork out of the way, GPS installed (thank the Lord for GPS), directions on how to get on the A-1 Autostrade (the fast toll freeway), and off we went. We got turned around in Napoli, and a "little bit" lost, ending up in a less than desirable part of town. We turned down a few dead-ends, went around a round-about a couple of times. Then presto! We were on the A-1 and Howard was feeling quite proud that he received not one honk! Truly an amazing feat. Really.

Lunch on the road:

Petro stop AND a cappuccino at the stop!

We flew down the Autostrade, blew past Roma and onto our chosen destination: Assisi, of St. Francis fame. Using Rick's recommendation, we found a hotel (third try), right in the heart of the city. We had a lovely dinner and now I am sitting and writing this blog in a little cafe right down the cobblestone street from our hotel, the Hotel San Rufino.

Tomorrow we will explore Assisi, visit the famed Basilica of St. Francesco d'Assisi, then it is our plan to head to Orvieto.

NOTE: It was dark and rainy when we arrived, so photos of Assisi with the next post.

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