Monday, April 30, 2012

Naples, Italy: A Travel Recommendation

I was forewarned.. Naples is dirty, it's trashy, don't go. It was even compared to Fez, Morocco, and you know how much we loooove Fez (ha!), but we went anyways. Only for a night. Only because we were flying in and out of Naples. And only because they invented the pizza.

We anticipated not liking Naples. But let me just tell you, Naples is NASTY. Thank goodness we at least partially listened to the warnings and stayed for only one night, the night before flying out, and only for convenience sake.

 I have NEVER in my LIFE seen so much trash. Ever.

 I have NEVER in my life seen so much graffiti. Ever.

 I mean, seriously. I can't even explain to you how dirty Naples is. WOW. Just wow. On top of it being a nasty, nasty city, the people... well, we have always been impressed with Italians. They are beautiful people. Their clothes, their shoes, their faces, their bodies even. But not in Naples, no sir-ee. Never in my life have I seen so many dirty, overweight, non-Italian looking Italians. Again, let me reiterate, EVER. And we have traveled Italy.

We got into Naples by train and then took a taxi to our hotel. Not nice from the outside because surprise, the building, along with every other building we saw on our 15 minute drive was covered in graffiti. And I mean covered. But the courtyard we walked into was nice. So we had high hopes. Well, those hopes were soon destroyed. This hotel was nothing special. The bare basics. Oh well, it's only one night right? And we wanted to walk around Naples anyways, so whatever. So we got out, walked around, and were disappointed, over and over again. Nothing I can say can explain how absolutely disgusting Naples is. Nothing. I didn't even want to take pictures of the trash. As we walked around, I saw people there obviously sightseeing, strapped with cameras and holding tourist books. I felt so, so sorry for them. Yes, there were a few historic things to see. And while we were walking around for the 20 minutes that we did, we saw all of them. Yea. Not impressive. The only impressive thing we did while we were there? Ate and drank. There was an impressive wine and cheese bar right outside of our hotel which was great (the only good thing I can say about our hotel is that it was close to this place!) and we spent a few hours with some awesome local Taurasi red wine and incredible cheese. Then, we moved onto a pizzeria a street away. Again, the pizza was good, the wine was better, the atmosphere was ok (the walls of the terrace were covered in... yes, graffiti if you can believe it).

My travel recommendation? Don't go. Yes, the pizza was invented in Naples so everyone wants to go there, just for the pizza. Well, let me tell you. Yes, the pizza was good. BUT and this is a big but,  not any better than the pizza in other cities in Italy.. in other cities in Europe really. Italians have transplanted all over Europe and taken their secret recipes with them. You can get amazingly delicious pizza anywhere in Europe. No need for Naples. Thank goodness our other 7 nights in Italy were perfectly amazing because Naples, well, gross. 

Monday, April 16, 2012


Happy Easter from Boston and Riva!

Easter Brunch at Louisiana with friends

The neighborhood kids walked around with these wood boxes all weekend over Easter. They had a handle that they turned that made a crazy, loud crackling noise. They would all turn in unison, then chant something, turn, chant. They did this ALLLLL weekend. It started at 5am on Friday morning and ran through Monday. It was a pretty neat tradition I think. The neighborhood kids really loved it and it gave them something to do all weekend!

Happy Easter

The day before, I was happy to distract myself and go wine shopping and Ikea shopping with a friend! It was a success - purchased wine and Speculoos AND got my mind off my impending defense.

And FINALLY, Defense day. Man, was I nervous!

Neighbors are constantly coming over during the day.. one of the things I like about living here. However, I could not risk it while I was defending!

Hail storm before and during my defense.

Hail storm before and during my defense.

After, we went out with friends to a winery in the area we hadn't tried. What a choice! The place was set up beautifully, the owners extremely nice, the wine and food delicious! We have never had German red wine that we've loved, but Longen-Schloder taught us otherwise. They had an awesome Cab-Merlot mix, which will now be added to our collection!

My vegetarian pine nut wild garlic quiche - yummm!

Wine Tasting at Longen-Schloeder - Creamy Mushroom Soup - to die for!

Wine Tasting at Longen-Schloeder - A's pork steak which he said was delicious!

Friday dinner pregame. I know, this is disgusting, but oh so German. We were going out to dinner with our friends to celebrate more (!) and decided to stop at the grocery to have some pommes because we hadn't had any in a while. Yes, we went to the grocery store for this. Here's the thing - the Germans are smart! Outside of the grocery stores, there are beer tents or Imbisses set up that sell drinks and food. EVERY time we go to the store, no matter the time of day, these places are SLAMMED! People are there hanging out. The only conclusion that we can come up with is the men sit out here and eat and drink while the women shop.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

the last month or so has gone something like this:

stay in germany for the last year.
no, move to america. (no!)
stay in germany. (whew)
move to tuscon or charleston.
no, stay in germany.
no, now move to charleston, sc. (excitement)
nope, stay in germany. (excitement)
no, move to america. (charleston? please?)
move to america, but not to charleston. (NO!)
move to dayton, ohio. (gag)

we lose.

have anything nice to say?! please share :) so far, we've gotten:
- it's not as bad as biloxi because there aren't hurricanes
- it's only 11 months