Today has been one of those days where I'm going to go to sleep smiling from ear to ear. Though it hasn't been a perfect day (namely having to say goodbye to Natalie, getting pelted by ice during a freak frozen rain storm as I was boarding my plane in Prague, and getting ripped off by a taxi driver), it has overall been a pretty incredible day.
I picked a hostel in Ercolano for my first night in Italy because it's closer to Pompeii than Naples, and was significantly cheaper. I initially didn't plan to do anything here aside from arrive, relax, and sleep after my half marathon yesterday, then leave early in the morning to get to Pompeii. But as I arrived in Ercolano, the thunderstorm that had been happening when I landed passed and the skies were clear and beautiful so I decided to go exploring.
I stumbled upon Ercolano Scavi, an ancient city destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The last admission was at 6:00 PM, and I arrived at 5:55. Perfect timing.
Before entering the ruins, I noticed a restaurant that was miraculously open (it is Easter Sunday, after all) that I had planned on going to after I finished exploring the archaeological site. However, I discovered the restaurant had closed by the time I left. Slightly concerned about finding a place to eat (or even an open store to buy food to cook), I decided I would wander for 30 minutes or so before walking back to my hostel to ask the staff for suggestions. I stumbled upon a bar and restaurant that had its doors open and a man sitting at the cash register, but not a single customer appeared to be there. I asked if they were serving dinner and he tentatively said yes. He went and got another person, presumably the owner, who introduced himself as Nicoli. At first, his extremely kind and welcoming demeanour came across as slightly creepy but I quickly realised that he was just a genuinely nice and compassionate man. He asked me about where I’m from, what I’m doing in Italy, and treated me like royalty. Since I don’t think they were planning on serving dinner, he asked me if margherita was okay (presumably because it was the easiest to make) and I said absolutely! After all, I am in Naples (well, just outside of, but close enough) which is known for pizza. I was sitting outside directly across from the person making my pizza which made it even more perfect.
The sun was starting to set and I wanted to make it to the ocean to watch it set over the water so I quickly paid, and thanked Nicoli (who bid me farewell with two kisses on the cheek; how very European) and ran to the water front to catch the last bit of the setting sun (I thought I was done running on this trip after yesterday but clearly not).
I sat there, sandwiched between two couples making out about 10 yards away each, enjoying the view and just relaxing.
I slowly made my way back to the hostel which gave me some more beautiful views of Ecrolano lighting up at night.
Upon arrival back at my hostel, I snuggled into my bed to catch up on blogging when one of the hostel cats snuck into our room. She went around to different beds to greet the travellers, and even proved her agilie ability and climb the bunk ladders because clearly no one should be left out of the snuggles.
She even wanted to help me write my blog. I can't imagine a more perfect ending to a great day.