Pizza and Piazzas in Napoli

For those who were worried because I missed a day, never fear. We were in Monaco yesterday and did an eight-hour excursion that had us wiped out by the time we got back, so we had dinner and slept. But I am back now with my short tail of pizza and Piazzas—a Napoli excursion.

We had initially decided to do this elective (as opposed to included) excursion because, being the pizza-crazy Italian-American that I am, I wanted to watch them make pizza in the home of pizza—Napoli. But first, the Piazzas.

Wait! I should mention that when I got up for my morning walk on deck 2, I was treated to an incredible display of lightning on the sea about (I am guessing now—using the old count, the time between the lightning and thunder) 20 miles behind us. Every time my walk would take me aft, I would see five or ten streak lightning bursts hit the sea behind us. As we were trying to get into port, the storm caught up to us. Luckily for me, I had finished my walk by then and was safely inside. The storm was pretty much very heavy rain by this time. But it also meant that the visibility was cut down so much that we could not get into the port. It wasn’t because we couldn’t see to get in by because the pilot boat could not bring us the pilot. So Viking Sky kind of went back and forth just outside the port until the pilot boat could come in and get us. Here are a couple of photos I took while I was waiting for us to be able to dock. Don’t forget, if you click the first shot, you can then scroll through with your arrow keys or by swiping…and PLEASE…don’t look at my photography on a phone. Please…

I should mention here that when we eventually got into the harbor, we (Viking Sky) were moored very close to Wonder of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world. This Royal Caribbean behemoth made Sky look like a lifeboat. We have 9 decks; she has 18. We carry 928 passengers while she carries as many as 6,590. I didn’t notice a huge difference in how crowded the port was, but my brother, who went to Pompei (we had been there before), said the place was swamped with her passengers.

Before I tell you more about the pizza, I should tell you that Kathleen bowed out of this excursion. She still had not been sleeping well, and we were worried that the old stones of granite and marble that made up most of the walking surfaces in Naples would not be conducive to her not falling again as she had in San Francisco on our last trip and in Taormina on this one. So I was off on my own. The “luxury motor coach” picked us up just outside a flooded parking lot at the cruise terminal in Naples, and off we went for about two hours of just driving around. I think we stopped once to take pictures, but that was it.

This needs to be mentioned here (and it was just as true when we were here on a previous trip); Naples is a dirty city. There is garbage everywhere. Since it is highly industrial, the air isn’t the cleanest. So when you see my pics, realize that they do reflect the place.

Then it was lunchtime (we were running late due to getting into port late), so it was pizza time. This was fine with me because that’s why I was there. We stopped at Viking’s designated pizza stop. As you can see from the sign, Solopizza has been in business since 1979. Since pizza was invented in Napoli, I kind of thought we would get a place that had been in business since 1799, but it was not to be.

Inside we all sat down and waited while our pies were made. I was under the impression that we were going to be able to see a demonstration of how the pizzas were being made. I love making pizza, and I am always looking for new techniques, so this was the real reason I signed up for this tour. I asked the guide, and she said she would see what she could do. I got really lucky. Since I was the only one who even asked about it, she got them to let me watch them make the pizzas in the kitchen and take as many pictures as I wanted. I got some great technique ideas from the two pizza makers. You could tell they had been working together for quite a while as they made the pizzas with very little discussion, just one after the other. And let me tell you, the pizza was amazing. The hit was the Pizza Margherita, the most traditional Napoli pizza with just tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil on it. The crust was as close to perfection as I had ever eaten. They also had a rule, “One person, one pizza.” Thankfully when they brought the pizza, it was to be split among the groups at each table. But then they just kept bringing pizzas. They brought enough (and left the empty trays in the middle of the table) that we (9 of us at the table) realized we had almost eaten one pizza per person. It was a great lunch.

We then hopped back on the “luxury motor coach” and drove back into downtown Naples where we disembarked for a short tour of downtown followed by 30 minutes of “on-our-own” time. To me, this meant go take some pictures, which I did. Here are the fruits of my picture-taking in Naples. Don’t forget, if you click the first shot, you can then scroll through with your arrow keys or by swiping…and PLEASE…don’t look at my photography on a phone. Please…

After our downtown walk about, it was back on the “luxury motor coach” and off to Viking Sky at the pier. Kathleen had a relaxing day, and we kept in touch by text. I want to conclude my report on Naples by showing this amazing work of art. The best thing I saw there all day.

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.  —Yogi Berra

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