Gabriela is my coworker here in Spain. She’s also a cat lover, an actress, an empath, an ice cream lover, a tortilla lover, an avid beer enthusiast, and a really good friend. It was because of her that during a train ride to Toledo I received a text saying,
In that moment, I had a crisis. “Should I stay or should I go?” I was trying to be financially responsible, but a $50 round-trip ticket? You can’t beat it.
If you’ve read the title of this post, you know what I chose.
In the rainest of mornings, Gabi and I braved the cold and boarded a flight to Napoles- Naples, Italy.
The Long Walk Home
Gabi had done most of the research for the trip. I had never planned to go to Naples while here in Europe, nor had I planned on another international trip, so I was going to take the backseat. Gabi chose the room on AirBnb, and together we tried to figure out how to get from the airport to our apartment.
The moment we step outside of the airport, we realize how hot it is, and how complicated getting into town was. Initially, I was rooting for a walk – I was on a tight budget, and didn’t want to hail a cab or take a bus or something when an hour walk isn’t that bad.
The weather told us otherwise.
We see a shuttle bus that people are lined up for, but the signage is bad, and we’re unsure about where it goes, when it goes, and for how much. We do some searching online while we wait for the shuttle, and for five euros we can take the bus downtown. We pay and get on.
I should mention that neither Gabi nor I speak any Italian, and while an international tourist destination, Naples isn’t exactly multi-culturally inclusive yet. Almost all signs are in Italian only, with a select few with an English translation. Gabi, however, is a Spanish native with lots of French study under her belt, and I study Spanish and Portuguese. Combined, we could read and Italian-ish our way through most things. As we ride the shuttle bus through it’s three stops, we find out that the last stop is a port – you could see the cruise ships in the distance – so we get off and walk to our apartment.
Once we find our apartment, climb up a hundred stairs or so (my God, that walk), and get settled in – we immediately freshen up and go do what we came to do.
Pizza Number One: Pizzeria & Trattoria al 22
This pizzeria was the first choice because it was around the corner, and ranked highly on Google. Once we sit down and get our menu, we realize that we are indeed in pizza heaven, because a single pie was under 10 euros (7 or so, and it GETS BETTER). We decide on our pizza strategy – one margherita (the simple tomato + mozzarella pizza) and one different. For fun’s sake, we order an orange pizza, one with a pumpkin base.
The pumpkin with smoked mozzarella became an instant favorite of mine. To all my friends and family, I’m just gonna apologize now, because I’m going to spend considerable time and money to replicate this pizza. I don’t care what it takes. I need a wood-fired oven, smoked mozz (I don’t even know what Whole Foods I need to visit for that) and a decent supply of pumpkin for several attempts.
Oh, commerical break.
Today’s episode of “Adventures with Gabi and Tina” is brought to you by Coca-Cola Classic.
Aaaand, we’re back!
Gabi and I do some more sight-seeing, and we get our first Aperol Spritz.
Apersol Spritz is a drink typically served before dinner of soda water, prosecco, and Aperol, a liqueur that’s bitter orange among other flavors. It’s bubbly and nice and delicious. Also, just like in Spain, you get little bowls of munchies with your drink, in our case we got chips, peanuts, and these little pickled-beans called lupini. I didn’t like them, they taste like salt and nothing else – but Gabi was all for it.
The Gelato Junket: Casa Infante
After walking around and doing some sightseeing, Gabi and I decide to complement our pizza with gelato, because whyyyyyyy not?
Casa Infante is a local store that you’ll see every other block, so we decide to take advantage of their extensive selection. Since Alphonso mangoes were on my mind, I went for a mango/coconut combination.
Sufficiently spoiled, we went to get some more Aperol Spritz at a local hotspot for it, Cammarota Spritz (ONE EURO SPRITZ!). It was “hashtag poppin'” with so many people who just came to hang out and drink and eat cheese puffs and peanuts.
As you can imagine, at this point we were pretty exhausted, but we had to climb up 9 flights of stairs. Before we called it a night, we went and bought some wine and snacks to enjoy on the rooftop of our apartment. Our neighbors got the memo, and there were fireworks all night.
I hope you enjoyed part one of three of the Naples Pizza Tour.
Join us next time for a visit to Pompeii, a near-mugging by Italian teens, and pizza. More pizza.