It is a fairly disappointing funicular ride, being not very steep and in a tunnel for the majority of the route. But it’s a short ride and at the top we must make our way to Montesanto in order to get the metro. Contrary to Helen’s interpretation of the map, our best route to Montesanto is, in fact ... another funicular! Hurrah!
Naples, being pretty hilly, has four funicular railways. This one is a bit steeper and more brightly coloured, and the station has a plaque with funicular statistics.
There are, in fact, tons of those streets because of course there are. The thunderstorms which had been forecast for the middle of the day are plainly not happening, apart from the brief spitting earlier we’ve had nothing but glorious sunshine and so it continues around here.
People are out in their droves, locals and tourists alike. Many of the streets are lined with restaurants all selling super-hyper-authentic UNESCO-approved pizza, since pizza was invented around here ‘n that. Every 10 yards is a church, there are a few museums, entrances to subterranean Naples, and a street comprising nothing but shops selling utter, utter, handcrafted religious iconography (and FC Napoli player) tat. Anyone want a giant nativity scene for €800,00? No, didn’t think so.
Oh god it’s so nice. Helen has a cup with two different toppings, one of which is made of 70% chocolate. So, so dirty.
Weaving into a churchyard for some respite from the crowds, we’re talking about the food we’re eating and have eaten so far. It’s been lovely, no doubt, but nothing has blown us away. Think we’re hugely spoilt by having such good authentic food from all over the world available to us in London tbh.
Anyway, that’s the lot for the Centro historico. The bit that had made Helen ask whether we should get off the train one stop early is still beckoning us, since it’s light and early and warm.
Not so bad as to stop us having a second drink, mind you. We too are given finger food - olives, nuts, beans, bready-things, y’know. Enough to not need real food for the evening.
My second beer is a 7% IPA, while Helen goes for another glass of the wine. Some people leave, others arrive, but it never really gets crowded despite the small size. What a cracking bar.
Another English couple come in, have one beer/wine combo, then get limoncello. That sounds like a good idea, so I go and ask for – on Helen’s instruction, since I am both ignorant and supine – recommendations for an aperitif. The man is confused, and with good reason: I of course mean digestif. Damn it. Look, we’re slightly drunk foreigners, please forgive us.
So, Curious Session IPA instead please thanks. Helen wants the (also new to this summer’s menu) pink gin, and they’re sold out of that too so has to settle for a Tanqueray.
The middle bit of the journey is totally nondescript. Helen plays some game on her phone, I play Bricks ‘n Balls on mine while listening to a podcast. I nod off a bit, she nods off a lot, to the point where during a rubbish run I hand over what I perceived to be an empty glass (with just a bit of melted ice in it). When she wakes up, she bemoans the fact I’ve given away the gin she’d been saving for the descent. Bah.