... are important. They leave lasting impressions. So my first impressions of Italy will leave me with lasting impressions of being impressed, amused and a little in love.
Last night when I boarded my plane to Naples from Munich my first impression of Italian people is that they travel like Koreans. They have MULTIPLE shopping bags and carry-ons and jackets and and and.... and they shove it all up into the compartments above or under the seats or under YOUR seat if they need to, but the difference is they are apologetic if they need your space or if they've made you uncomfortable. They smile, they say excuse me and they seem generally happy. So my first impression of the Italian people is that they are sweetly chaotic and I like it.
Once I arrived I got my bag (nearly first off the plane), wandered out onto the street and began to wonder about hailing a taxi. No problem! There is a taxi line and drivers are helping each other to get fares instead of competing to take them from each other. It was fast, efficient and friendly to hop into a taxi and the rates are FIXED. Twenty Euros from airport to hotel door and the driver wanted to be sure I was safe so he walked me to the door, rang the doorbell, explained a new guest had arrived and even offered to pay for my elevator (it costs 10 cents to to use the elevator in the building I am in)!!! Can you imagine?! So my first impression of Italian taxi drivers is that they are gentlemen!
My hotel is a bit more of a bed and breakfast, the rooms are small and simple and CLEAN. It suits my needs perfectly! And the staff speak VERY little English but want to chatter away to you in Italian as the two ladies did this morning at breakfast, asking me in rapid fire about the kind of coffee I wanted. I was overwhelmed but also overjoyed at their friendly sweetness... thank goodness for the two American ladies who were there and had been for a couple of days. They were able to help me get a coffee. :) So my first impressions of Italian ladies is that they are sweet, funny and kind. My first impressions of other travelers in Italy is that they too are sweet, funny and kind.
Today I decided to wander the streets of Napoli (Naples), just looking around and getting a feel for the place. I wanted (hoped I could find, more like it) to see the street where they sell all the presepi (nativity scenes). And, I did! In fact, I stumbled upon it as I just wandered the streets, following the loose directions of one of the hotel workers (he's a lovely and flirty Italian man who greeted me by name this morning... I really do recommend the Sweet Sleep Bed and Breakfast if you come to Naples). I loved wandering the noisy and chaotic streets of Napoli. Cars and scooters and people all swimming together in the channels that are the streets here. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to how it flows, but flow it does. And I felt safe... Sure, I took proper precautions with my valuables but I never felt that having a bag on my shoulders made me a target or that I was going to be hit by the scooters careening down the streets. My first impressions of Napoli are much like my first impressions of her people, sweetly chaotic, funny and kind.
Here are some photos that encompass my first impressions of this place:
I love little markets and specialty shops and this place is full of them. It's the way of life here!
Amid all the chaos are these amazing buildings, sculptures and pieces of art... beauty is everywhere!
One of the LARGER streets in the area of my hotel...
Some of the pieces used to make the presepi (nativity scenes)... they aren't all serious and holy, they encompass the comic and the every day... just like Italians in general.
Me... happy... it's a bum shot of myself but I have no one to blame but the photographer!! hehehe But I'm happy.... happy to be here, happy to stay where I am staying and happy to experience new things!!