Greetings from Naples Italy!
Hello! I have made it to Naples Italy! The ferry ride over was easy enough, although I didn’t get much sleep over the night and was really tired when I showed up to the hostel. I arrived at the hostel early in the morning but I had sent a message remarking about that when I booked it, hoping it would ok and now hoping I could get in to have a rest. Apparently they don’t read those messages about booking details at this hostel, not to bad mouth them as the rest of my stay was actually quite pleasant there but this was a bit annoying. So anyways, it wasn’t even 7am yet and I had to wait until 2pm before I could check in, so I found an outlet to pug in and charge my phone and curled up on a chair to rest a bit. After a short nap I decided to explore the area and take some pictures of the city, I was still really tired so I didn’t go too far but I did want to see what was around the hostel. I found a museum and checked it out, it was a great way to use up some time waiting to be allowed to check into the hostel, I will talk more about it in the sights section. Once I returned to the hostel I still had some time to waste so I pulled out my laptop and started doing some work online. I decided I should look up the status of my luggage while I’m at it, which looked to now be Naples and should be on it’s way to hostel. I finally checked into my room to get shower and some sleep, letting the front desk know that my luggage should be on the way. Everything was coming together.
After a good sleep I woke up and checked with the front desk to see if my luggage had been dropped off yet. It was no where to be found so I looked it up again and it said that indeed it was in Naples so I called the airport. It took a while to find the right number but once I got it I asked about my bag, it was there but it wasn’t being delivered. Apparently my bag had been there since 1030am and it was now after 6pm and I hadn’t been notified. I asked “When was I going to be notified to come pick up my luggage?” and the response I got was “Look, it’s here, are you coming to pick it up or not?” So obviously I don’t have a great review for Naples International Airport lost luggage department. I took a taxi to the airport to pick up the bag and was wanting to see exactly who was giving me the attitude on the phone, as it happens he was a tiny little man who was really apologetic when facing someone from across his desk. He had to deal with 3 big, loud and very upset Americans before me, so I figured he got what he deserved already. I picked up my bag, had it quickly searched as I signed off on customs for it and was on my way. Later I realized I had lost my tripod for my video camera, which was cheap and everything else was there so all in all it wasn’t so bad. I’ll give up a cheap tripod for my training gear and all my clothes.
I will say one last thing about my lost luggage debacle, trying to fill out a lost items claim report is pretty much useless. I looked it up and there are a lot of things you have to do in order to claim any expenses or lost items, making it near impossible to actually make any claims. For instance you have to make the claim within a short time frame from when it happened but it needs to sent to a specific office my mail with copies of receipts etc, but after your trip, not during. So needless to say the $40 Euros I spent in taxis and the $20 CDN it cost for my tripod I never got back. Oh well, I got bigger things to worry about, like which pizza place should I eat at first?
Naples is full of things to see around the city, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see a lot of them especially the down town harbour area, which I wish I had ventured out to. I did however get to see a few good view points from around the hostel area .
I also checked out the Naples National Archaeological Museum which had some cool arches and columns and other building pieces, I’m guessing from old towns around the area or maybe even Pompeii, as well as many, many statues.
Then there was this section on phallic statues, sexual paintings, and well, flying penis wind chimes…
I also went out to Gino Sorbillo’s acclaimed as the best pizza in Naples, I planned to get there for an early lunch, which proves to be smart as there was quite the mob waiting when I left.
Of course there’s tons more photos on my Flickr account, so check it them out if you’re digging them!
I spent a day and went to see Pompeii, the city that was swallowed up by a volcano over night. It’s about an hour ride out of Naples but easy enough to get to, and very much worth the trek. One thing I didn’t think of is that Pompeii was indeed a full city and it’s a very big place to see. I would say be prepared to spend a least 3 hours or more of walking around there if you want to see everything.
When looking for places to train in Naples I asked the BJJ Globetrotters Facebook community and I was told of two places by several people, O-Nami Jiu-Jitsu was one of them. I contacted them and we kept in contact while I traveled and planned out my visit. I missed my first night training with the club because I spent way too long out in the sun walking around Pompeii but I made it out the next class. Through talking to the club I met the black belt, Renato Avallone who offered to pick me up and bring me to class. Renato picked me up on his scooter, which are very popular in Italy and apparently have the right of way to go anywhere, and gave me a little tour telling me about the city as we drove to the gym. Classes are held in two different locations, the night I came out it was held in a government sports building, a big building filled with gymnasiums and matted rooms for all kinds of sports, I believe the room we were using was also used for Judo.
Unfortunately it was a slow night at the gym and there were only a few of us there so we just spent rounds grappling with one another. It was a great time, everyone there was friendly and happy to have me, we would talk between rounds about different things, my traveling, the club, or different techniques that did or didn’t work during the previous round. The rounds were tough, not that they were going hard crushing me but Renato is a black belt and his other students that came out this night were a brown belt and a very game white who I only got to roll with after several rounds with the other two. I had my hands full the entire time, mostly just trying to survive, and often times failing, but that’s all part of training. This would be the only time training with O-Nami, I wish we were able to train more than once and that I was able to meet more of the team. Renato was a great help and very friendly, even inviting me out for food after training the next time, but I was unable to make it as I had already promised to visit another gym. I will definitely have to visit again, thank you Renato for the great night!
Ground Pressure Team
The second gym I was told I have to visit was Ground Pressure Team who train out of Naples Pro Fighting club. I sent out a message to the club and soon had a reply telling me I was more than welcome to come train at their gym anytime. I checked out the schedule, decided which day would be best to visit and set out to meet another gym. I took the transit to the gym and it was easy enough to find, provided you don’t miss the side street it’s on. Naples is very hilly and some streets branch off and suddenly go down hill while the main street continues uphill, and it’s easy enough to miss these little turn offs when navigating around the city. Anyways I found the gym and made it to class, the gym is a bit intimidating at first, right in front directly behind the front desk was a rather enthusiastic fitness class taking place and a quick tour showed lot of serious guys in the change room, I thought I may have my night cut our for myself, but they were all there for kickboxing. Then I met the Jiu-Jitsu guys and the instructor Cristian de Maio on the mats in the back of the gym, just relaxing and stretching all very chill compared to the rest of the gym. I introduced myself to everyone and they all seemed very happy to have a visitor.
After a quick warm up we got into working grips and entries for throws, the object was just to try off balancing your partner. I like doing this drill, in a world of guard pullers I don’t think grip fighting is trained near enough these days. I did ok to defend and attain grip control with a few students but then Prof. de Maio made me feel like a rag doll. After grip fighting we got into guard passing drills, working from passing to side, knee on belly, switch to other side, and I think I remember throwing in an armbar and choke too. I was teamed up with a young strong guy, an American who was living and going to school in Italy, he was very helpful with translating and showing me the drills, it was a good time training together, talking about the area and my travels and Jiu-Jitsu, I would have liked to roll with him and the other class members but my stomach started to act up and I by the time rolling came around I wasn’t feeling too well. I sat out and watched at the class rolled, taking pictures of the action I wish I was a part of, the guys all seemed to have a strong game and I’m sure I would have been put to the test there. This was the one and only time I was able to make it to Ground Pressure team and although I wasn’t able to roll I had a good time meeting and training with everyone and hope one day I can come back and finish an entire class, thank you for having me guys!
After a full schedule of pizza, Jiu-Jitsu, Pompeii and finally getting my luggage back it was time to head to one of the top cities on my list, not for Jiu-Jitsu but for sight seeing, Rome! You can be sure there’s going to be a lot of photos!
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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