Vagaries of Weather in Naples and on the Swake

Photo courtesy of M. Lobert
It really does not matter where in the world you travel, the weather is completely out of your control and can make your day memorable in either a very good way or an absolutely "terrible horrible no good very bad day" way to borrow a quote from Judith Viorst.  A little over eight weeks ago we opened the balcony door of the ship and peeked outside to see what the weather was like in Naples.  It was overcast and drizzling, but we were ready for whatever the day held because we had been prepped by our fabulous waiter, Oleksandre the night before at dinner time.

Taxis were lined up and waiting for the tourists and all the drivers were on the sidewalk trying to convince the unwitting tourists to ride with them.  We knew we were taking a taxi because it was too far to walk to Positano and Sorrento from Naples even for us!  But which taxi to take or rather which driver's spell to fall under?  Our fearless men began the negotiation and discovery of the 'best driver'.  Let me tell you that despite Oleksandre's advice, it really wasn't a very scientific or rational decision.  Antonio, "call me Tony", had the biggest grin and the best english.  He also verbosely claimed that he would not just drive us to Positano and Sorrento but he'd make sure we went to the very best pizza restaurant to have the original margherita pizza and we would hear all about the history of each place along the way!  All of that for a price we were willing to pay.  So all four of us piled into the cab and off we went through the streets of Naples, out onto the highway with Mount Vesuvius in the distance and Pompeii resting at the base of the volcano.

The rain increased in intensity the farther we went from Naples and the roads got narrower.  By the time we had been driving for nearly an hour under stop and go conditions, on roads that narrowed by the kilometer in driving rain that made visibility difficult, we were beginning to get a little nervous.  Every kilometer was taking us farther from Naples and the travelling was getting progressively worse.  The roads were beginning to wash away.  There were points where the traffic was one way only due to the conditions, and we were still heading away from Naples along mountainous cliff-edged roads that slid away into the ocean hundreds of feet below.    

Tony was true to his word, most of it at least!  He did take us to a great spot for the original margherita pizza and he told us the history of the pizza.  It's named after Queen Margherita.  That's the history part!  And according to Tony, "Naples is the 'eaarrrt' of Italy".  Drop the 'h', drag out the 'a', and roll that 'r'.  As an aside I was trading travel stories with someone else who had been to Italy and they had a cabbie named Tony who told them that Florence was the 'eaarrrt of Italy'!  Anyway, back to the adventure.

Positano and Sorrento were beautiful despite the rain that didn't let up.  Every store and street vendor managed to produce umbrellas for sale which were being snapped up by the likes of us.  You always knew when you were approaching another tourist who was not well schooled in the handling of an umbrella on a very narrow cobble street because you had to duck so as not to have your eye poked with  an errant umbrella spine.  The locals on the other hand, maneuvered their umbrellas with utmost finesse and looked remarkably fashionable in the process.

Leather goods, lemons, limoncello, alliterations of the 'L' variety were everywhere on this adventure and there were some affordable bargains.  Lemons are grown locally and they were the biggest lemons I have ever seen.  Nearly the size of a nerf football!  Limoncello flowed freely at most stores in little sample cups.  One could have gotten tipsy if you sampled at every shop but we had to keep our wits about us because we were now far from port in inclement weather.  Not really sure what good our wits would have done us because we were entirely reliant on Tony to get us back and we were very conscious of that.  He didn't seem to have quite the same urgency but then again he wasn't getting on the ship and leaving for Rome was he?  But, Tony kept his word and we were back in Naples in plenty of time.  The drive back was much easier and we did it in a fraction of the time.
Photo Courtesy of M. Monsma

Heavy rain in Italy, hurricanes and nor'easters in New York, and winter on the swake.  If nothing else the weather around the world gives us all something to talk about and me something to write about.  Got to look for the upside.  Kanti enjoyed the heavy snow fall this week.  I complained loudly and frequently about it, and asked for the one millionth time why we live in Alberta when we could live anywhere in the world.  That prompted my very rational husband to argue with me and say we couldn't really live anywhere.  Honestly, after thirty one years you'd think he'd know that was not the right response.

Driving to work yesterday, made our little Naples journey look like a cake walk.  The worst of the drive was in the city. I kind of like the country roads because at least the county clears and sands them, there are fewer cars, and most country dwellers seem to take a little more laid back approach.  The city was a whole other story.  Icy rutted roads without any sign of sand or salt.  Drivers without decent tires sliding sideways instead of going straight.  At one point on my drive it crossed my mind that I really needed to focus my thoughts on something positive because I was getting wound up and anxious.  Imagine that!  I decided to think about a song that I could sing that would help.  The very first thing that popped into my head was "Staying Alive" which made me laugh and of course laughter releases tension, so that was my drive to work song.  "I'm goin' nowhere, somebody help me yeah...staying alive, everybody's shaking..." Guess what's still in my head?  Turn your speakers up, click the link Stayin' Alive get off that chair, and shake it to a little Bee Gee boogey.  Come on mum, you can do it too!