We were all actually pretty thrilled to leave Rome. Everything there is incredibly historic, awe-inspiring and amazing except it is everything a city is…busy, busy, busy and tons of walking. Our tour guide said October to February are the best months to visit as the weather is cooler and there are less crowds, I recommend taking his advice however the crowds did not deter us. The only place I would have preferred there not be crowds was during our visit to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel; the crowds were a little overwhelming there and you did feel a little bit like sheep being herded.
We had a car pick us up at our hotel and drop us at the train station, all planned by our travel agent, my sister (we had vouchers for everything). The train station was pretty simple to navigate, however, we had no idea our ticket had a section number where our seat was located. We got on the wrong section and then I noticed it – we then jumped off the train and ran down six train sections to get on in our correct section just in time. The train was pretty pleasant and they came around with free papers, drinks and snacks. We took the train to Naples and had a driver waiting there for us. Let me emphasize, do not try to drive out of Naples train station, having a car was a pleasure, the traffic was massive there were no designated lanes and it was just a free for all. The minute you step outside there is traffic, traffic and more traffic. I am a pretty aggressive and daring driver. I have no issues driving in NYC or California and my husband drove us through Ireland on the opposite side of the road yet both of us agreed we did not want to venture driving in Naples, at least not right near the train station. Driving through a small portion of Naples I have no desire to visit it; it seemed triple the craziness of Rome; perhaps once you leave the train station it gets better however other tourists we met said they were disappointed with Naples and felt it wasn’t very clean, nor worth the trip.
Our taxi ride was about one hour to our B&B Casale Antoinette. The short nightmare begin when the taxi driver dropped us at the bottom of a really step hill and said the hotel is only a few meters up…well it was not that close; she said her car couldn’t make it up the hill (it was really narrow and steep). With luggage and a 9 year old we had to walk up a very, did I say very yet, steep hill to get to the hotel and then down a very, very steep curvy hill and up one more short hill to get to the B&B. I walked on my own once we got to the entrance of the B&B on the very steep hill and asked them to send a car to get the luggage, child and hubby. The girl, Anna, at the front desk did not seem happy with me but I was not having to walk back up there and have to lug our luggage down and up another hill. Phone service was not readily available.
Once the family arrived at the B&B Anna was very nice and helpful as she took us to our room… four flights up (no elevator). If every friend I have back home does not tell me how thin I look and how muscular my legs look when I get home I will not be happy with them all. We are only day 4 and I feel like I have ran two marathons. (On an aside, the taxi driver messed up. She could have come around another area and dropped us right at the hotel, not at the bottom of the steep hill that her car could not make it up).
The B&B is not in the best location, in that you have to walk up and down the “walking” path (no cars in this area) every time you leave the B&B if you do not have a car. Although this hill is not as steep as the one the taxi driver dropped us off at, it is still steep and not well lit in the evening. We were told a taxi is fifty Euros just to the city center (only about 5-10 min), in lieu of the bus, which is only $2.50 Euros. The bus picks you up right at the bottom of the walking hill.
The maid’s daughter, Manuela, was at the hotel when we arrived and she and my daughter hit it off in a second despite the language barrier. Her mother brought them water and bread and they played for a few hours. My daughter was bummed when Manuela had to go home, but this was a nice break from the city. Manuela was also in fourth grade and was 8 years old. This was the first time we actually rested and I have to say this was probably our favorite place we stayed. As Lighting and Manuela played hubby and I shared a bottle of wine with some fruit and cheese….aaaaah Italy.
We ventured down to see the city center and have dinner. This was a great experience. The streets are mostly closed to cars at night and there are a plethora of stores everywhere and the prices are fairly decent. We had a great dinner; I had been wanting to get a Panini since we have been in Italy and finally got one. It was great with my Italian Coffee (Espresso, Kahlua and Amaretto). We easily rode the bus back and the climb up the footpath was not too bad. I would not recommend this hotel for older persons, anyone with any kind of walking issues or for someone with small children, unless you have a vehicle. There is so much walking everywhere you just don’t need to be walking up a hill every time you go back to the hotel. We had to use the flashlight app. on our phones to walk up the path at night. If you have a car I would recommend the B&B as it is a nice escape from the city with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean and Mt. Vesuvius. We did like this area and found communication there to be easier than Rome…maybe my Italiano was getting better.