Naples, Italy - DIY Ercolano (Mt. Vesuvius and Herculaneum) by Circumvesuviana-Train and Pizzeria da Michele
Only one fisherman on Capri on work (There is a famous German song on the fischermen of Capri from the 50s...)
Somewhere there around must be Sorrento but we will call it next year by OCEAN PRINCESS. So we did want to do a tour to Positano and Amalfi-Coast. By this way it's interesting to see the transition of TAHITIAN PRINCESS to OCEAN PRINCESS in the drydock.
After the rainshowers two years ago on MSC MUSICA when we called Naples we are very happy with sunshine.
No other ship like MSC RHAPSODY was waiting for us like then.
It was definately around 70F... Johmar (our Courtyard-Butler who was in charge for the common Courtyard-area to all guests) and Rashid (who takes care that everything was in good condition on the sundeck) - dressed up like Summer and Winter...
It's better to wait until they completed the subway constructions before I visit Naples.
We turned around before we berthed. It's a pity that we did not do it when we are leaving as I would have preferred to leave earlier the ship.
HERTZ seems to be in walking distance. We booked originally with EUROPCAR but cancelled as we found a direct bus to Mt. Vesuvio.
The location directly to the city center is very convenient.
Be prepared to use these stairways. The elevator was out of order. As well as the information booth which was unattendent.
They used also the Cruise Terminal as exhibition and event hall.
It's good to find signposts for Mole Beverello. We wanted to use the direct bus to Mt. Vesuvio. I checked in the internet that Vesuviana Mobilita offers such a service at 09.15 hrs from Via Marina at Mole Beverello. According to their website there is no point of sales around the cruise terminal. An Italian co-worker called for me: no problem: you get tickets at every tobacco store. Bus stop easy to find: just in front of ferry terminal and bus runs according to published one on their website.
If someone need luggage storage for Naples: just in front of the Cruise Terminal. Very practical.
Here at this coffee store you have complimentary WiFi. They also sells bus tickets. Only the tickets we used to have they do not provide. He said that these ticket type is only available at the train stations.
There is no bus stop sign for the Vesuviana Mobilita Bus around the ferry terminal. So we preferred to try it at the Central Station at Piazza Garibaldi and to start from there.
So we went back to the coffee store and bought some single tickets for 1,10 EUR per ride. We took Tram Route 1 (Schedule as per November 2009) which took us toward Piazza Garibaldi. The cab drivers still offered in fron of the Cruise Terminal to get us for 100 EUR to Pompei. When we show them our tickets it was clear that they had no chance to do business with us.
You need to cancel/validate/punch the tickets in the white box.
We were surprised that the tram also stopped in front of the Circumvesuviana-Train-Station at Porta Nolana on CORSO Garibaldi. They refused to sell us the tickets for the bus and tried to sell us tickets for the trains. The "regular" day tickets are valid after 10 am but Vesuviana Mobilita accepts them before 10 am. That's why they dislike to sell us the tickets. It's not correct what one was posting in cruisecritic. The stations Porta Nolana and Garibaldi (= Napoli Centrale) are different station and are not connected to each other.
We have not give up to use the direct bus to the top of Mt. Vesuvio. So we walked all the street down to PIAZZA Garibaldi.
Here we need to make a right turn...
At the end of the square there is Hotel Terminus on the right side which was mentioned as bus stop on their website. There we asked the receptionist who confirmed that the bus stops there (even there is no bus stop again) but cannot tell us where to buy the tickets. Two tobacco stores which we asked before have not the tickets either.
So I walked over to the train station and tried to buy the tickets while the other should stop the bus by lying down the street. The counters from Trenitalia just moved and there was no machine around.
So I walked back and crossed the street (just walk - they stop... somehow...) not to miss the bus and observed from the fictive bus stop if the bus might not stop at the opposite side.
At the announced time there was a bus approching but showed bus depot as final destination. I stopped him and saw the Vesuviano Mobilita sign at the door. But I can also read in Italian and English: no boarding without tickets. But the bus driver tried to explain that the bus will not run and there is one in 75 minutes. I felt like Clark Gable in the Sophia Loren-movie "It started in Naples" when he tried to get on the ferry which never departed as stated on the schedule.
So we used the Circumvesuviana-Train from the opposite Garibaldi Station. For the worst case we buy a through ticket to Mt. Vesuvio. But for the next time we are cleverer: we would buy direct tickets to Ercolano for 1.80 EUR (2009) in the coffee store at the Cruise Terminal.
Two lines are going to Ercolano and Pompei. So we need to doublecheck. Sarno is a destination of one of the potential lines but this one does not go via Ercolano and Pompei but Ottaviano. So be careful to make sure that you get on the right Sarno-bound train.
The platform looked very full so I was angry why we have not just used the train from Porta NOlana to Ercolano. There should be Mini-Buses available. Then we would have more chances to get some seats.
You are safe if you are taking Sorrento-bound trains. They stop in Ercolano and Pompei.
It was not so bad in the train. Some older cars. I found out that the bus from Pompei to Mt. Vesuvio (3,000 ft altitude) need about 1 1/2 hours and the bus from Ercolano only goes twice a day.
From the first ticket discussion we know for sure that there are mini-buses available from Ercoloa. So we risked to leave the train there.
Tickets are 16.50 EUR incl. admission for the top of the vulcano. The bus should leave in 15 "Italian" minutes.
You can get the tickets once you leave the station building and face to the left at Vesuvio Express. Good luck to double check their website. The webdesigner had a lot of programming errors. By the way: it's not the official tourist office.
While we were waiting we looked over the architecture of the train station.
I cannot believe that this place has something to do with Herculaneum. Nothing reminds me to the ancient Romans.
Our bus came when all seats were sold. That's why we had 15 "Italian" minutes to wait where the minutes can be extended. On the rear there was no proper working seat belts available which made the ride very funny: One row of seats were missing so nothing to hold.
On the way the driver horned twice before he reached a curve and just continued without stopping. Close the eyes and go. The beautiful view over the Gulf of Naples. The route was steep, narrow and winding. You can safe the money for going on a roller-coaster.
Cruise ship expert will identify our NORWEGIAN GEM on this picture.
Arrived at the top you can see some boards.
Behind the boards you can see the Dixi-toilets which you can use against fee.
16.50 EUR minus 6.50 EUR admission fee: that was o.k. This money is for the budget of the National Park-Management.
We have one hour time before the mini-bus comes back to collect us. As I do not share the fascination for vulcanos I let the others go and just enjoy the view of the Gulf of Naples. Therefore there is nothing I can tell about the next pictures.
Furniculi, furnicula... Was not there a ropecar leaving for the Mt. Vesuvio??? This song was composed due to the inauguration of this trainline. Bruno took a little stone as souvenir and told me to set up a show case for this little stone (and each other stone for all following visits of vulcano). I lurked with divorce! He should keep it well and marked and casts it in resin: not that I dispose it by mistake.
The driver got us more or less ont time. We requested if he can give us a lift to the sites. But was not interested to do so. I should be only five (Italian) minutes. When we arrived it was already ten (Italian) minutes. For this engagement he got in his open hand just an under-averaged but suitable tip. May be it was good to take the mini-bus. The large bus need to rank several times back and force before he could passed this place.
We should walk 10 minutes downhill from the station square. It might be real for the outward walk, but for the return when you walk all the way uphill it might be 15 minutes. On this street just after the next crossing on the right side you find the official tourist information.
The waste mafia is still active. On the way we had a cup of coffee.
Our next destination: Herculaneum
A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.
The view was breathtaking.
Here it's the way to the new visitor's center.
Do not forget to ask for a free map of the site when you buy the tickets.
You cannot describe all details. So the best is: go by yourself and see it.
Mt. Vesuvio in the background. Now we need to walk all the way back to the train station.
Giro d'Italia (bike-race - Italian version of Tour de France) is supposed to be in Ercolano.
Our Naples-bound train arrived.
From here it's only 1.80 EUR.
We need to get off at Garabaldi Station.
As we want to have a pizza it does not make too much sense to go to Porta Nolana.
After we crossed successfully Piazza Garabaldi...
we had to pass a street where there should be an open-air market before.
That's why we need to walk between the hills of garbage.
I was waiting for the first scooter someone will try to rob my camera. But we were lucky: nothing happened.
Soon we should arrive at our destination.
The place should be at a crossing on Via Pietro Colletta. It could not be so far from here.
There she is: the ancient Pizzeria "da Michele" which was founded in 1870.
It's cozy. We were lucky just to wait few minutes outside on the sidewalk after we picked a ticket at the register.
The have only two types and two sizes: Margharita and Marinara. For 4 EUR you can become full.
The restaurant was so famous even our US-cruisefriends came in: Shriley and Bob (from jen2681 from cruisecritic.com)
We shared two larger pizza for five. That was fine for a snack. Familiy meal: one plate for all of us.
By the way: may I introduce Jen and Nat (jessicatro from cruisecritic.com). They joined us because they like to see the vulcano as well. They invited us for taking them with us. For this pizza they could also join us on a flight to the moon. The best pizza I had so far in my life.
The way to the tram is very long. So we wanted to return by bus. Our tickets are good for 90 minutes incl. transfers. Around the corner is one of Naples main traffic roads.
Two buses should go to Pizza Municipio close to the Cruise Terminal.
A reserved lane for buses is not a garantee for going fast.
Like here the ambulance passed...
Trolley Bus R2 (Schedule as per November 2009) took us to Via Depretis intersection Piazza Municipio.
The bus just stop in front of the subway construction site at Piazza Municipio.
One left turn and you see the Cruise Terminal and a ticket sales who might understood English to avoid the long search for the Vesuviana Mobilita Bus.
Few steps to the Cruise Terminal... The feet hurts....
Time for the jacuzzi on the ship which waited for us...
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