My lungs were pumping while I was running through the narrow streets of Naples. A middle aged man dressed in a black hoodie chased me after we had bumped together at a street corner. I had told him I was sorry for that and had continued my walk through Spaccanapoli. But from a distance he had begun shouting at me in an incomprehensible dialect. He had held something I couldn’t recognize up in the air and he had pointed at me with it. People around him had tried to calm him while he was shouting at me. I had begun to walk faster. A peek above my shoulder revealed that he had started to follow me. My walking accelerated to running. He was shouting loudly behind me. Perhaps he didn’t accept my excuse after having bumped together?
His bearded face was half hidden by his black hoodie and this made it difficult to tell whether he was angry or not. What I had seen was a yelling man aiming at me with something he held in his hand. I risked another glimpse above my shoulder and saw that the man was now running after me through the crowd. A loud horn from a scooter made me stop dead in my tracks. While running, I hadn’t noticed that I was crossing a junction without prior looking. Always dangerous venture, especially if you are in Spaccanapoli. The scooter pilot shouted at me. There was no time to reply. I turned right into a smaller road, more staggering than running. Perhaps I should hide somewhere? This was the bearded man’s district, not mine.
Across the small road, there was a shop. I pressed down the door handle and went in. There was a man with a knife in his hand behind the counter. He was wearing a smock with little blood stains on it. I was confused. Behind me the door was torn open. It was my bearded persecutor. He was looking angry. He yelled: “What the hell are you doing?” I was baffled. He reached into his jacket to get something out. I was terrified! “You lost your purse”, he said and handed it over to me. Before I could answer, he opened the door and walked out. I could see him walking away through the shop window and said quietly: “Thank you.” “And how can I help you?”, asked the man behind me, “We’ve got fresh lamb today.” Although I don’t like lamb very much, I replied: “Sounds good to me.” ~ The end
This story is fictional, but it could have happened this way. A lot of things I read about Naples aren’t true. Like every metropole, Naples has it’s good and bad sides. Fortunately I only encountered the good sites of Naples. The inhabitants are very friendly and helpful. Neapolitans several times offered their help even before I had asked them. You can explore the city on foot – don’t forget that the metro can be a complement to your trip. The tube is very clean and secure. During my stay, I even felt more secure in Naples than in Rome or Paris. It was my first visit to Naples and I’m sure it wasn’t my last. Next time I will dig deeper, explore more of the unknown parts of Naples. There is so much more to discover. My advice for you, if you haven’t much time? Visit the seaside and rent a boat! Or take the cable car for a visit of “Certosa di San Martino”. From there you have a great panorama of Naples.
My special thanks go to all my new friends in Naples and my lovely trattoria. Especially Poppó! He knows a lot of stories about Naples and his “Premuta di limone” helped me a lot with my hangover. Naples’ nights last long – take this for granted. I think I discovered, what “See Naples and die” really means.
“Naples is the flower of paradise. The last adventure of my life.” – Alexandre Dumas