Europe ’14: Naples – Rome – Athens – Cruise

 Central Naples, like Sicily, looks a lot poorer than central Rome.  The roads are rougher and the footpaths dirtier.  There are also overt signs of poverty: there are many more beggars and they are more aggressive.  You will come across them on railway platforms or they may nudge you in a cafe.  Naples is also famous for its pickpockets.  We had no problems but a guest at our hotel recounted how one thief tried to rip her necklace off her throat and another opened the backpack she was wearing and helped himself.


Naples is extremely well provided withpublic transport which is just as well as the road traffic is horrendous and the driving behaviour aggressive.  In other Italian cities you can generally get across pedestrian crossings if you are assertive and eyeball drivers.  This approach does not work in Naples.
Naples has heavy rail, light rail, a metro, and public buses.  The metro is fairly new and is expanding to the airport with plans to eventually complete a metro circuit.
drying clothesI noticed in Naples that the newer apartment blocks appear to be less energy efficient than the traditional 2-3 buildings so familiar across Italy and Sicily.  The older blocks have louvred shutters that are very efficient and practical in a warm country with less flies than Australia.  The newer units often have air tight security shutters that I expect would make the rooms stuffy and hot – hence the number of air conditioning units attached.
I did, however, notice that residents of newer apartments continue the practice of drying their washing on or hanging off their balconies.  This practical use of solar power is often forbidden by bodies corporate of Australian apartments.
After travelling back to Rome on the VFT we flew to Athens to join a short cruise of the Western Mediterranean.  On the 90 minute shuttle between Athens airport and the shipping port of Piraeus we noticed that solar hot water is very common even on apartment blocks where several units are often located.
Wind turbines are evident on the ridges of Crete and other sites we visited on the cruise.  I had to smile when our Turkish guide to the ancient city of Ephesus mentioned that it was a planned city with its own master plan.  2000 years later Woden town centre is still waiting for an enacted master plan to regulate building heights and preserve recreational facilities from residential and commercial encroachment.

petrol station with solar panels.At the conclusion of our cruise we were shuttled back from Rome’s port to Termini.  On the journey we passed a huge solar farm and other solar power units on petrol stations and providing shade in public car parks.  Over our five weeks in Italy it appeared Australia has more domestic solar panels.  Italy and Australia both have extensive solar hot water but Italy far exceeds Australia in large scale solar farms and commercial solar on factories and other commercial sites.

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