May 22, 2012


We ferried back to Sorrento, reclaimed our luggage that was held at our hotel and then we were off to the train station. The Circumvesuviana ride back to Naples was far better than the ride out – thank goodness. Still, it seemed to take forever; although, in reality it was over an hour. From the train station in Naples we walked over the metro system. There were many shady characters looming, one was trying to sell us socks and would not take no for an answer. It was highly obnoxious, but eventually he moved on.

We rode the subway to the Piazza Amedeo in the Chiaia district. Our hotel was just around the corner. We stayed at Pinto Storey our last night. It was a large room with a balcony. The accommodations were quite nice. We were a bit saddened that our stay would be no more than six hours.

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Pizza in Naples was a must so we fought the urge to collapse in bed and hit the streets in search of some. It proved to be more difficult than we imagined. We walked nearby blocks. The streets were pretty desolate, but cleaner than expected. I heard tales of strikes that cause garbage to rot on the streets. It must have been business as usual during our visit, but evidence of rotting garbage remained.

After walking a few blocks with no dining options we back tracked toward the hotel, down some stairs and by an alley, we found a pizzeria called Manfredi’s. It was a popular spot and seemed to have been around for a long time. Tables outside and inside on the main level were full so we were seated in the basement. At first, we were alone, but two large groups later joined us.

We had house wine, margarita pizza with buffalo mozzarella and a calzone with sausage and ricotta. Both were fine, but nothing terribly special. I loved the gooeyness of the cheese, but the crust could not support it.

Bellies full we returned to the hotel and promptly crashed. We slept for a few hours, packed one last time and headed out in search of a taxi. Fortunately, hailing a cab at 4am wasn’t difficult; they were lined up in the piazza. The ride to the airport was quick and less than €20.

We were flying from Naples to Frankfurt, Germany on Lufthansa, which is a great airline, by the way... Timely, roomy and comfortable. It was wild though, to board the flight we walked outside and up the stairs and onto the airplane. I’ve only seen that happen in the movies. The sun was rising above the mountains as I waived, “Arrivederci, Italia.”

Arriving in Frankfurt was so nice. The trams were so timely they counted down to the second for their arrival. After dealing with weeks of tardiness, this was so welcomed. Lines were structured and orderly. We loved Germany. And that was before we found beer and sausages.

We had a three hour layover so we went in search of food. We came upon Käfer's. We had the breakfast special with white sausage, pretzel and beer.

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We enjoyed it so much we asked them to bring us more sausage and our waiter brought us a sampler. It was fantastic. As was the beer! Germany was officially bumped near the top of our wander list.

We were flying United from Germany back to the states. That’s where the fun stopped. The plane we boarded was no roomier than those we fly for domestic travel in the states. We had eight hours on this bad boy. But it got worse; they had difficulty counting the number of passengers on the flight, some bug with the new software. So, we sat on the runway for an additional 1.5 hours. We only had a three hour layover in Chicago so I feared we would not make our connection. After nine hours on that ridiculous flight, the airline attendant took pity on Frank and offered to move us to the seats reserved for staff in Economy Plus. Those added inches felt like miles. We could breath. It was wonderful. Our original seats were in the last row of the plane and these were in the third row behind first class. It allowed us to deplane much faster and get into the line for customs before the masses. I think it made the difference of us making our connection.

The four hour flight to Las Vegas from Chicago was just as bad. Teeny tiny. I ached from being crammed for so long. I cannot imagine how Frank felt. Twenty-four hours after we started our day we touched down at McCarran. Home has never looked so beautiful.

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