“Vedi Napoli e poi muori”

I’ve lived in Napoli since January 2018. I’ve tried to explore as much of the city as possible, but I think you could live a lifetime here and never see it all. You can read my love letter here.

It goes without saying that the food is unreal. There’s a list of favoured places here. I’ve put on a few pounds since I moved here, any regrets? Nope.

The quote is “See Naples and die” so I’ve compiled a few places that I love.

 

Views

It is essential that you view Napoli from a good vantage point. Here are a few good places.

  • Certosa di San Martino: 6
  • Castel Sant Elmo: 5
  • Scale del Petraio: Free
  • Parco Floridiana: Free
  • Parco Virgiliano: Free
  • Capodimonte: Free
  • Lungomare

 

Churches & Resting Places

The Duomo – A must see. Try to go during a service, but respect the silence. You can’t walk around the outside of the Duomo, you can only see the facade. Visit the crypt under the altar. 

Gesu Nuovo – Don’t judge a book by its cover. A behemoth of a church, brutal from the outside, opulent as anything on the inside. 

Santa Chiara – Modern church built within the ruins of an ancient church. Beautiful cloisters with original Majolica tiles and access to the remains of a Roman Bath.  

Sansevero Capella – The most incredible sculptures you’ll ever see. Book tickets in advance to beat the queues. 

Cimitero delle Fontanelle – Bones. Piles upon piles of bones. Read the history before visiting. 

San Gaudioso Catacombs – You must do the guided tour, the story of the preparation of the bodies is pretty intense. 

 

Piazzas

Plebiscito – a beautiful, expansive Piazza, the church in the centre of the curved columns is stunning.

San Domenico Maggiore and Piazetta Nilo – where the students hang out. Lots of bars and places to sit and take a pause.

Piazza Bellini – another favourite with students.

 

Markets

Porta Nolana Market – vibrant food market!

Pignasecca Market – fruit, fish, clothes… it’s full of hustle and bustle. 

 

Instagram Spots

Doll Hospital 

Santi Marcellino e Festo 

Palazzo della Borsa 

Palazzo dello Spagnuolo 

Metro stations!

 

Museums and Buildings

MANN – Archeological Museum, lots to see. 

Madre – Modern Art Museum, can easily be seen in around 1.5 hours, but worth a trip. 

San Carlo – If you can’t see a show here, make sure you do one of the guided tours. It’s the oldest theatre in the world.

Palazzo Reale – The staircase in the Royal Palace is incredible, as is the private theatre. 

Castel del’Ovo – The ‘Egg Castle’ in the sea is a beautiful 

 

Napoli Tips

  • Scooters – Don’t jump out of the way of scooters. They’ll go around you. 
  • Crossing the road – You must be brave and simply walk out on the road, otherwise you’ll be standing there forever. 
  • Metro – It’s useful for long distances, but it’s often quicker to walk. 
  • Coffee – At the bar is cheaper than at the table. Amaro = no sugar. The cup will be v hot. 
  • Taxis – They are incredibly expensive. Always check the price against the chart on the back of the Driver’s chair. 
  • Language – A little ‘grazie’, ‘buongiorno’ and ‘buonasera’ will get you a long way. Neapolitans are incredibly friendly and fiercely proud of their culture. 

Intriguing Iceland

Iceland is one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited. The air envelops you with a calming embrace, meanwhile, the scenery induces oohs and ahhs. It’s been over six years since I set foot on the island that caused travel chaos around the world, and I’ve not been able to shake it from my mind since.

Over two trips, I’ve spent a total of eight days visiting, I’ve only seen the South West pocket of the country. However, I’ve waxed lyrical about its beauty and encouraged many friends to visit.

So. What makes Iceland so special? It’s otherworldly. An isolated place, with incredible history, culture and open people. The moon-like, Volcanic terrain and unpredictable geysers stop you in your tracks, visually. The epic landscape has featured in Game of Thrones, and thus increased the country’s popularity amongst tourists.

If you have a limited time, I’d recommend hiring a car. We took the Golden Circle tour with Reykjavik Excursions and while it was really interesting (the tour guide gave us a brief history of Iceland), the freedom to move about more and travel further afield would have been good. Gulfoss, the Geysir field, and the stunning Pingvellir Lake were included in the round trip. We visited the Blue Lagoon (obvs) and it was a relaxing experience if a little pricey. There are many alternatives – less touristy hot springs you can visit – the Blue Lagoon gets a lot of flak, but I liked it.

My friend is a whale fanatic, so we donned full body cozy overalls and ventured out on a whale watching excursion. The whales weren’t playing ball and we only saw them briefly, but it was a pretty special experience. If you’d like to see Reykjavik from the sea, experience some of the coast and drink the best hot chocolate, book yourself on. It’s around 3 hours and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Post whale watching, we had lunch in the harbour. I had fish soup and it was a euphoric experience. Hofnin is a smart restaurant overlooking the small boat harbour, quaintly decorated, serving traditional and fusion dishes. The fish soup was a rich, glossy, brown broth with tender langoustines and shavings of fennel. The bread… Crispy sourdough with smoked salt butter. Six years on and I can still taste the first spoonful.

When we returned a couple of years later, I was saddened to see that the restaurant wasn’t open for lunch, so I ventured round the corner to the Sægreifinn round the corner where I ate another delicious, if less refined, bowl of fish soup. Low and behold, when I left, Hofnin was opening up. That was the day of two lunches and I don’t regret a single moment of it. 

Other things of note in Reykjavik… The church, Hallgrimskirkja is quite imposing on the outside, but warm on the inside. Take a trip up the tower to see a spectacular view of the city. The Opera house (Harpa) is amazing for a wander, even round the atrium.

Top Tips

  • Download the ‘Appy Hour’ app, it shows which bars are hosting happy hour and at what time.
  • You can only buy alcohol (stronger than 2% ABV) from the Government run alcohol store Vinbudin.
  • The Blue Lagoon is near the airport, so tie in a trip when you’re arriving or departing.
  • Bonus supermarkets are cheaper than 7/11 stores.

 

 

Pretty Praha

I’ve known the ‘Murano Girls’ since September 2004. I love them to bits and we try and meet up when we can, which can be a bit tricky as we currently span the globe. The ladies from Paris, Inverness, Aberdeen, West Linton, South Cave and Napoli navigated their way to Prague at the start of March. Hannah and Carrie couldn’t join us, due to the sheer distance they’d have to travel! Hannah is in Melbourne, and Carrie is currently making her way home from 18 months on Bird Island in the South Antarctic!

We didn’t plan anything, other than to talk, laugh, eat and drink. My favourite thing about Prague? Wandering around the stunning architecture and being wowed round every corner.

Despite two modes of transport into the city from the airport, it’s both easy and super cheap. You’ll get around 25 Koruna to the £1 and the journey cost 32. Bargain!

Some highlights from the trip…

FOOD

  • Husinec: traditional Czech fare, great cabbage, sausages and more creamed horseradish than you can shake a stick at. Order the Tank Beer 👌🏻
  • Cafe Colore: beef is luscious gravy, crisp white wine and an eye watering selection of austro-French cakes.
  • V Kolvovne: my 7th, 8th and 9th sausages of the day. Venison, smoked pork and beef, absolutely divine! I ordered the Goulash as a starter and it didn’t disappoint. Rich and the still-warm pretzel was the perfect accompaniment.
  • Trudlnik: you’ll find these sweet twirls of joy all around the city. A cross between a doughnut and a bagel, available filled with sweet or savoury.

TO DO

  • CASTLE: it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours, but unless you really want to see inside the cathedrals, Golden Lane and the castle, you can walk about free of charge. Be prepared to queue for security.
  • TRAMS: old and new, the trams of Prague are a fantastic way to see the beautiful scenery.
  • CHARLES BRIDGE: Made famous by Mission Impossible, walk across this both day and night to see different sides of the city. The small lanes next to Charles Bridge are quaint and host a range of brilliant independent shops including the intoxicating gingerbread shop!!
  • WENCESLAS SQUARE: a lot of people told me it’s like Disney for grown ups. It’s incredibly pretty. The famous clock is under repair at the moment, so is covered in scaffolding. You get a pretty spectacular view of the city from the tower though.
  • SEX MACHINE MUSEUM: eyes were opened. Make sure you check out the vintage cinema 🙈
  • GOAP: luckily for me, three fantastic exhibitions were on when I visited. Salvador Dali, Alphonse Mucha and Andy Warhol. Flawless layout and complimentary lockers.

TIPS:

  • “Tip not included” isn’t passive aggressive, it’s a friendly reminder that’s more than likely borne from many rowdy stag parties!! 
  • As soon as you’ve finished your glass, wait staff will ask if you want another.
  • 24hr travel pass is a bargain at 110k (even works out to the airport)
  • Carry your passport – police may stop and ask you to show it and if you can’t, you may be fined…

LANGUAGE:

  • Prosim: you’re welcome / please
  • Djakuji: thank you
  • Ahoj: hello / goodbye
  • Ano: yes
  • Ne: no
  • Pivo: Beer
  • Prost: cheers!!

 

 

 

 

What am I doing?

I’ve talked about starting a blog to pop my thoughts for a while now. Everything from where I’ve been, what I’m doing, food, podcasts, music… The whole shebang.

Why little shambles? It started a little under a year ago when a trip to York had me wandering through the world famous Shambles. Then I turned a corner, saw a sign for the ‘Little Shambles’ and promptly took a picture. It’s a nickname that was adopted at work and has stuck. I think it has something to do with a 3am taxi journey back from an awards do in Glasgow, when I fell asleep clutching a half-eaten cheese and onion sandwich.

So this is my first post. More to follow…

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