Wednesday 13 May 2009

Walking the line in Naples

Sorrento is beginning to grow on me. I have never disliked being here, but today bel ragazzo and I were eating our lunch in the public gardens with Mount Vesuvius and the bay of Naples stretched out before us and we agreed that the views here are spectacular...there are worse places we could be ;)

Sorrento is getting busier by the day and I even survived my first experience at the insane Naples airport last Friday. The fact that I made it there is one piece was a good start as I drove the entire way! was so scary and people drive like maniacs cutting you off and not giving way, but I did it! I am not ready to drive into Napoli...and I don't think I ever will but the airport is a good start at least.

And speaking of airports Naples is one of the worst organised airports in Italy! It is a nightmare this year for package tour operators. Last year there were 2 terminals so all the tour operators had their arrivals in Terminal 2 which had a bus park outside. For some reason this year Naples Airport has decided to close Terminal 2, and only use Terminal 1 which is a good 15 minute walk from the old terminal. Thankfully my guests have only private cars on arrival and departure...but the poor other tour operators have their guests coming into Terminal 1 then having to walk unescorted to Terminal 2... Sounds simple but it is not...this is Naples after all!

Here in Sorrento the main tour operators have quite a bit of power with the airport and tourism boards...rightly so as we bring in most of their income. Bel ragazzo attended a meeting last week as to how to solve the airport situation. It was decided that the airport would paint a line from Terminal 1 to 2 for the customers to follow, leading them to the old bus terminal. All good in theory but not in reality.

The blue line starts across the zebra crossing in front of the arrival exit. So this causes immediate chaos as the tour agencies are telling customers to follow the blue line...but no one can see the blue line. Once they find the blue line they have to walk on this path and then the blue line suddenly stops at the roundabout where there is a set of traffic lights. The airport cannot paint the blue line on the road as the council own the road and will not allow it. So you sort of have to guess to cross the road. Airport staff are meant to be along the blue line assisting people...but of course they are not. You can imagine the situation with cars whizzing by, not stopping at the traffic lights...and why should they when the traffic lights were not even working!

If customers manage to cross the road in one piece, they have to keep walking and last week when I did a test 'walk the blue line' the line suddenly stopped smack bang in the middle of the street! I had no idea where to go as perhaps the airport ran out of paint, but the blue line just stopped in the middle of no where. Thousands of guests had come in by this stage so I am not sure how they managed to find the way. To solve the situation in the peak of the day, in the hotel sun, amidst hundreds of angry people trying to find Terminal 2...the airport decided to get some more paint and finish the line - thus blocking the 'safe' path which meant people had to walk on the road until the paint dried.

Oh well...just another day at the Naples airport and I will be having many of these since I will be on airport duty every Friday.


Laura said...

Mamma mia! That sounds about right. Unfortunately, I remember my first time trying to figure out how to get between the two terminals. That is not the easiest place to navigate to begin with, and then trying to follow that blue line you describe sounds like just too much! I hope things get straightened out a bit better soon.

Happy to hear you are enjoying Sorrento!

Chad said...

Glad to hear you are enjoying Sorrento! I went to Capri last year, but took the train to Naples and took the ferry from there. At the time there was no trash pickup in Naples and there were mountains of trash everywhere! We met some Canadians in Capri that were staying in Sorrento and taking the ferry over. Wish I would have done that!!

Rosa said...

I know the Naples airport like the back of my hand. Last time I left with Lufthansa, the gate was right next to the plane. They made us board a bus which then did a tour of the runway and came back to exactly the same place.

Hey, Do you want to give me a lift to Sorrento??? You're an old hand at driving now!

Monika said...

Leanne, the whole airport situation in Italy always makes me laugh. What is the worst thing is Pisa...although it is organised in comparison to what you write (well organised for Italy) you have to get on a bus to travel honestly about 20 metres to the waiting aeroplane. It is so strange and can so easily, quickly and efficiently be walked!

Kim B. said...

What you describe is simply absurd. Neapolitans!!

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Laura,
The airport really is so entertaining now with these coloured lines. It is just a tangle of foreigners walking around outside trying to dodge crazy drivers and not get lost!

Hi Chad said...
Capri is lovely, so at least you got to see that place.

Hi Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura,
I bet you know the NAP airport better then most! I-ll give you a lift if you ever come in on a Friday!

Hi Monika said...
They do the bus thing here too which is so odd as you stand around forever for the bus to move and then it takes you a few metres if that down the road!

Hi Kim B
Neapolitans...they are one of a kind.