January 2004. I had just completed a 3 week art history class in Rome and I had some time to explore on my own before spring semester began. One of the places I had chosen to visit was Naples, primarily to see Pompeii. When I was little my mother gave me a book on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and I’ve wanted to visit ever since. I was traveling alone by this point so I was excited to explore on my own schedule. By this point in the trip my cash funds were running low and I was depending on my travel credit card for my final leg. As it turned out, I had the unfortunate luck of discovering that many of the shops in Naples were still cash only. I also happened to do my sightseeing on a Sunday, when all the banks were closed. I managed to make my way to Pompeii but I was devastated to discover that admission to this famous archaeological site was also cash only. There I was at the entrance of a place I’ve wanted to visit since I was a young girl but I couldn’t get in. The person at the ticket booth kept pointing to the ATM for me to withdraw cash but I couldn’t withdraw anything from my credit card since I didn’t set up a pin number prior to my trip. I had to return to my hotel in Naples with my head hung low while fighting back tears. Once I got back into Naples, I was chased and sprayed with foam by a small gang of boys who were doing that to several females found walking alone. The entire experience left a sour taste in my mouth and I was in no rush to return.
Fast forward to 2017. When Brad and I had chosen our honeymoon locations, I was ready to give Naples and Pompeii another chance. After all, not having cash towards the end of my last trip to Italy was completely my fault and I assumed the foaming of young women had stopped by now. I’m happy to report that everything about this visit was wonderful! Also, cards are now accepted to get into Pompeii.
The only hiccup Brad and I ran into was nearly missing the last train to Rome. Why? Because we decided to wait in (a HUGE) line for some famous Neapolitan pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. We intended to dine in but as the minutes ticked away, Brad decided to go inside and place a to-go order. Time kept slipping and I wasn’t getting any text updates from Brad. The logical thing to have done was to abort our mission when we realized the next train back to Rome would be around 4am. Here I thought my days of spending the night at train stations were over, but we took the risk anyway. Suddenly, Brad bolts out with two pizza boxes and we start running for the train station. I can only imagine what we looked like to everyone. When we made it to the station, we saw that the last train had been delayed an hour. Whew! By the way, the pizza was delicious! It was a the perfect way to end our quick trip to Naples and I now have much better memories attached this part of Italy.