I had a question about the Naples port actually. I've been reading on other sites that Naples is known for petty crime. What I was thinking of doing is taking the train from Naples to Sorrento or Pompeii....but I was reading that the train station isn't exactly "safe." I just wanted to know, has anyone here been on the Circumvesuviana line going to Sorrento? Have they experienced any pick pocketting? I was thinking of doing the hydrofoil to Sorrento then taking the train back, would this be advisable over taking the train all the way to Sorrento?
My only concern is that the hydrofoil doesn't run as frequent as the trains and I am wanting to get to Sorrento fast...I also understand that the hydrofoil drops me at the port of Sorrento whereas the train drops me in the city center?
Sorry I did not address your safety question in the other post. Naples is a very large city with lots of traffic, noise, etc. During the daytime, the walk from the port to the train station is relatively safe from crime (my wife has no problem walking in this part of Naples) with the major danger being getting hit by a car or bus. Or course there are pickpockets in Naples, and everywhere else in western Europe) but they are not a problem for those that take some reasonable precautions and always keep alert to their surroundings. As to the hydrofoil pier in Sorrento, it is a short walk from the main part of town, but unfortunately that walk is all up a pretty steep hill (or you can climb what seems like a hundred steps).
You bring back a memory from 1982 when my Navy ship pulled into Napoli for liberty. A man of Italian heritage in my division had boasted for weeks about how capable he was in fitting in with native Italians. I'd been there many times but didn't say anything as he warned everyone about pick-pockets and so forth.
And so it was that we arrived, and he proudly boarded the first liberty boat ashore. He walked to the security gate and out into the main drag that goes past the port and the castle.
Within two minutes a pickpocket duo on a Vespa scooter had lifted his wallet and driven off, leaving "the expert" without his military ID or his lira.
That is a funny story Dave. We have heard that they still have some of those Vespa bandits but we have never seen it happen. A few years back we heard a rumor that a lady on one of our cruises had her purse snatched by a guy on a motor cycle, but we could never verify if it was true.
It gets better. I am prejudiced, but we Navy nukes are perhaps the most merciless people out there when it comes to playing mind games with each other. After the pickpocket event, and a brief period of mocking and razzing, a guy in our division developed a board game - I think he called it La Bella Napoli or some such thing. The goal was to get to the end without losing your wallet along the way. A roll of the dice might put you on the "Mazzola" square where "you lose all a you money". Other options were squares with the cambio operators who would constantly say "change-a-money" to us sailors, or one with the shady guy touting tours of the cameo factory. It was really quite impressive that this guy designed and built this game in just a couple of days. The problem was he made it so hard that nobody ever won - we all were broke or robbed by the end.
Hank, the "Vespa Bandits" are alive and well; I personally know of two incidents: one in Naples and one in Barcelona. A woman on a tour with us in Barcelona had her purse grabbed by a guy on a motor scooter; the force knocked her to the ground and she suffered minor injuries. In Naples a good friend, who is 6'4" and in excellent shape, was jostled by a group of thugs and had his wallet lifted. But he was immediately aware of the theft and able to grab one of the guys as he was hopping on the back of a scooter, pulling him off and knocking the scooter off balance, throwing it and the driver to the ground. My friend and a passer-by were able to detain the one thug, who by chance was the one with his wallet, until police arrived; all the rest got away.
Am really laughing (guess I am a cruel ole Air Force guy) at the stories. We never had experiences quite as bad as some described. But, in Bologna, a gypsy lady (and yes, she had a fake baby) tried to pick my pocket in the busy downtown section in the middle of the day. There were thousands of people around, but not one darn cop. She first put her hand in one of my pockets (it was empty except for a map) and I started hitting her arm with my Tote umbrella. She than started for my other pocket (this one had my wallet) and I kept hitting her with the Tote thinking somebody would arrest me! As her hand entered my other pocket (some guys might get a thrill from this experience) I got angry and slammed her very hard right in the middle of her chest. I than grabbed her hand and started to twist until she finally let out a small scream and walked away. Not one of those thousands of folks around us did anything but smile and there were a few laughs. By the way, she did get my map. My wife just stood there with a total look of disbelief. Thinking of Dave's story it occurs to me that us ex Air Force guys still can out maneuver those Navy guys