Apparently the meds were starting to kick in because Dana’s ear pain was mostly gone by the time she woke up and her leakiness was not as severe as yesterday. She was leaving on a flight at 11 AM due for Chicago and we were on our way to the airport by 7:30. I dropped her off at the departures lane and felt quite crappy to leave her there in that condition. It felt so anticlimactic and I felt sorry too. And it felt odd suddenly being alone.
From the airport I drove to Ostia, an ancient port city a stone’s throw from the airport but when I got there it was too early and I was not in the best of moods to wait to pay to see a bunch of ruins (even though that was exactly my primary mission for coming to Europe in the first place!) so I decided to get back in the car and head south, with no firm destination in mind.
I headed towards Naples and had read briefly online of a camping place outside of the Pompei ruins so I decided to go there with the intention of spending my first night in the car and then be right next to Pompei the next day which I knew would take several hours to tour.
The Amalfi coast makes for a beautiful drive with old cities hanging precariously off the sides of cliffs full of switchbacks. Because I was driving, and there was a lot of traffic, I had little time to enjoy the scenery (much less take pictures) and I was in any case stressed about finding this place.
Driving through Italy generally speaking is not a pleasant experience but driving through Naples is downright nasty. The streets are narrow and are, in fact, very often not proper streets at all but rather the alleyways that separate apartment complexes. Then to make things more interesting everyone parks wherever they can stuff their tiny Eurocars leaving you with that much less wiggle room. The icing on the cake is, of course, the relentless amount of traffic which is made up of endlessly impatient drivers all doing their best to cut off one another to rush to their destination.
Somehow I found the place I had seen on the internet just in time to be rewarded with a “Chiuso” sign at the gate – closed. As in closed for the season closed. That pissed me off a little, yeah. Now what? Well I drove around aimlessly and luckily found another camping place within 15 minutes which happened to be open though void of campers. The guy working the gate told me to help myself to any spot. Cost for the night was E8.50 and included shower facilities and toilets and even a swimming pool.
I wasn’t even remotely in the mood for a swim but looked forward to the shower until I noticed that it was not heated and looked really, really skanky. It took me all of a few milliseconds to come to the inevitable conclusion I’d be missing today’s shower. The toilets were hardly any better. No toilet seats and no TP but plenty of smell. Disgusting. Well, thank god I’m a guy at least and don’t need to sit for number one. There was at least a communal sink whose drain was a hole onto the floor below. When I washed my hands I had to step as far back as possible so that I minimized splashback. I wanted to think of all this as charming in a rustic kind of way but the words “primitive” and “third world” kept clouding over any rosy take on this experience.
I climbed into the back of my station wagon and made it as comfy as possible. I had bought a pillow in Germany and Dana had brought along a foam pad which came in real handy. I then laid out my sleeping bag and was all set to read a little with the waning light of the afternoon. I was asleep before it was fully dark.