Today in Europe my wife and I had the wonderful opportunity to do something I’ve dreamed of my entire life, and that was to visit Pompeii. Pompeii as all of you know, is an ancient city that was buried by a local volcano, preserving much of the lifestyle, the culture, the heritage, and the way of life of the ancient people in the Pompeii.
I woke up today excited and instantly started zig zagging. We had our breakfast on board our ship and then quickly made our way to shore. Of course, I insisted that we don’t take the boring tour bus. So we took the little tram up to the local train station.
Naples is a place confused by little cobblestone streets and tiny byways. We had a delightful time as we wound our way to Pompeii where we spent a wonderful day.
On the way back to the ship, I of course wanted to sample the famous Neapolitan pizza. As we got off at the train station I knew we wanted to head for the little tiny store-lined street where pizza was invented. However, there seemed to be no direct shot to get there. Indeed my wife and I spent half an hour going up and down tiny streets, dodging motor scooters, going through little blind alleys, and other places that are definitely off the standard tourist route. Finally we made it over to our destination and had an amazing pizza baked in a wood-burning oven. It was absolutely delicious.
I then however had a dilemma because we only had an hour and a half to get back to our cruise boat before it left, and indeed there are no straight shots in Naples.
We started by heading in the right direction and several times we ended up reversing our direction and coming back out of one of these little, tight alleys until we found another thoroughfare. Of course, what we were looking for was a wider street with less congestion. After zigging and zagging for half an hour in the general direction of the water, we finally popped our heads out onto the main street lining the bay and saw our ship.
Despite some sincere concern from my wife at times we both concluded that Naples is a city of zig zagging. I’m now on board overlooking Naples as we pull away from the bay. I’ll cherish my memories of this beautiful, vibrant, kind of chaotic, dirty city. It’s amazing how throughout civilization people have made things work in non-direct lines. Not one time today did we follow a direct course, yet we had one of the most delightful days of my life.
I think one of the main reasons I enjoy not joining the big tour groups, is because it gives me the opportunity to get emerged deep into the city and zig zag around to find the gems and the little golden nuggets—truly the hidden treasures of these romantic, little Mediterranean port cities.
If you haven’t tried zig zagging in a foreign land, you have to do it.
There’s no experience like getting on the local transit and having dialog by trying to communicate the best you can. I guarantee that some of your best memories and richest experiences will result. Goodbye Naples, I look forward to the next time I get to see you.