Following the usual slow waking of the sleeping ones we set off for Montesanto Station for our day trip to Baia to visit the amazing Roman version of Butlins.
Given we’d taken the very circuitous route yesterday meant we didn’t need to take it again. It took about 20 minutes as opposed to the four hours of yesterday.
It was then a long old train trip out to the bay made pleasant by a clean train and few customers. We all had seats and there was no unwarranted cuddling of smelly, thieving strangers.
It was another hot day but with promises of thunder, lightning and torrential rain which was reduced to a light drizzle for ten minutes when it finally happened. Given that the Roman Butlins is high on a hill, it was actually quite cool in the breeze.
What can I say about the Roman ruins at Baia? The others have been before but I was a Baia virgin before today. It is, quite simply, extraordinary.
It was basically a place for the wealthy to escape Rome for a bit in order to relax beside the Med and contemplate life. With slaves of all kinds to tender to their every need (and some they didn’t know they needed) life at Baia was pure bliss.
They didn’t even suffer at the hands of Vesuvius. It is too far and, today anyway, shrouded in mist.
The baths at Baia were famous throughout the empire with rooms of all temperatures and tastes. As long as you didn’t mind cats. There are a lot of cats at Baia.
The cats in Baia are divided into gangs. There’s the White Gang, for instance, that controls the area around the old train station. Or the Mottley Crew that control the long, sloping steps down to the marina.
For future reference, the boss cat of the Roman ruins is not a foe. If she stops at the flight of very big steps leading back up to the main entrance this means the lower entrance is closed and you’re giving yourself a long walk back by ignoring her. Like we did.
The lower entrance gives easy access to beer. We had to take the steps up then down. Still, there was beer at the end so it was kinda worth it.
But, back to the Baia ruins. The enormous complex was started in the 1st century BC and building was still going on in the 4th century AD as it continued to grow and be improved.
Obviously it was only for the wealthy and/or important people of Roman society though the local fishermen must have supplied the food.
The amazing thing, once again, was the incredible lack of other tourists. Here’s another example of Roman genius that you can walk around and touch and be lost in but no one really knows about it.
John says that the big sites pay for these forgotten ones because they’re all nationalised and share the pot. I guess the people running places like Baia prefer the easy life of no visitors.
Not that I’m complaining, though, if they were more then there’d be more bars. Not that we had a problem finding one today though it had run out of Peroni so we were forced to drink a 7.7% Danish beer.
All feeling ready to collapse, we made the long trek back to the train for the long, sleepy ride back to Naples. A very successful excursion it was.
Last year, John and his daughter, the highly decorated Sarah went to a restaurant. John recommended it so we went tonight. What a brilliant place! Really the best restaurant so far this visit and possibly ever visited, in Naples, ever.
It is called Osteria il Gobetto and is a family run place. The food is extraordinary, delicious and served with great panache. It was so good we booked for tomorrow night as well.
We did feel a bit sorry for the American couple who came in after us and were a bit confused by everything. He wanted a pizza but, I think, they felt committed even after they discovered there were no pizzas.
I really wanted to tell them to go with the patter and enjoy the food but I didn’t. They perused the menu and chose for themselves while we had our starters chosen for us.
The whole experience was amazing. For this I also felt sorry for the American couple: that they were alone in Naples and not capable of enjoying such a great treat.
Having walked back to the flat we settled into the balcony for coffee and a little bit of sweet alcohol to settle our not overfilled tummies.
It was a brilliant day, thoroughly enjoyed and experienced (for me at least). Last day tomorrow. Let’s make it last.