While my best friend Dani is still struggling with the heavy shutters, I unpack my suitcase and almost shoot the flip-flops under the bed with the pillow, which could also be a brick. Apart from that, however, our apartment in the Old Town is fantastically located and it almost seems to us as if we have been living in Florence for quite some time. The city hums, sounds and glows from the inside. Between magnificent church towers, cobblestone pavement disappears under the easels of numerous street painters who throw fantastic works of art made of oil, acrylic and watercolour onto their canvases. Just a minute from our accommodation is the Cathedral of Florence, whose greenish decorations on the white façade look like symmetrical flower tendrils. It was consecrated in 1436 and simply takes our breath away when we enter the square. The beauty of the huge red dome can hardly be seen from down here from an ant's perspective.
Not for very long, though. As we get off at the main station, a permanent, aggressive chorus of horns from the streets of Naples roars in our ears. Although we vehemently reject any encore and even stuff ear plugs into our ears at night, the Orchestra of Smog will not rest for the next few days. While blue exhausts are crawling down our lungs and Dani tries to avoid walking across dried urine with her suitcase, I briefly look again at the sign in front of the train station. Does it really say "Napoli Centrale" or "Calcutta Centrale"? The deep alleys with smeared walls block any sunlight from the asphalt. Down from the flaking facades are hanging tons of cables, while people shout at each other gruffly about the noise level of a German Autobahn. They don't argue, they just talk. First we flee to our apartment close to the Old Town and try to recover from the culture shock with mediocre red wine. In the evening we take a walk into the historic quarter. Naples is generally considered dangerous and is often associated with crime and violence. We don't notice this - not even in the dark, but it also doesn't make it any more attractive. It's like on a bad date - you just can't always drink to make it look nicer.