The People and Pizza of Naples

Time has an incredible way of flying by, I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I’ve updated and there is so much to say! Three weeks at Monte Ofelix gone in the blink of an eye, have I really been gone for six weeks already? I just arrived at Farm #3 near Assisi which I will write about more once the days unfold and my spine isn’t screaming in response to carrying my pack. So for right now we are going to travel back in time to cover the last week or so. I ran encountered writers block earlier when I tried to explain Naples- there is so much how do you fit it all! So I asked the another wwoofer, Lolo from France, what she would say about Naples and Monte Ofelix. Her answers pinned everything I couldn’t fit and her excitement refueled my inspiration. Every observation bursts out when she shares them- in her voice, her expressions, and her movements with a huge amount of positive energy. What a blessing for me to see from anothers perspective! Whenever I give my camera to Lolo she goes off on an adventure taking pictures of anything that excites her, looking through the pictures afterwords is like rediscovered my surroundings. So here we go- Napoli through the combined observations of Lolo and Samantha.

Napoli. Some cities just lack personality after so many years of order or tourism, like Roma. I used to love Roma but after wandering around lost I realized that it was all repetition. City dwellers rush by each other with no spontaneous reunions in the streets or casual jokes. And all the buildings are the same- antique but not too much so and only ever two shades away from grey or brown. In Napoli laundry is strung between buildings like flags criss-crossing in every color- blues, oranges, purples, greens. The buildings are the same as if they are life sizer version of Tetris.There are older buildings decorated in swirls of marble filigree like Roma two shades away from grey. Yet the bottom of the building is peppered with graffiti ranging from just tagging to works of art with trash piled up in the crevices. Napoli has somehow found a mild balance between pain and pleasure. Musicians fill the streets with upbeat music enticing strangers to dance underneath webs of laundry. Simply walk five meters and you encounter a woman with no nose and few fingers clutching her child, begging for change. Naples is no stranger to either but despite the rumors it isn’t an overtly bad place unless you are acting dumb. Like Phoenix in Arizona, some parts are worse than others but I wouldn’t tell anyone to not go to Phoenix because of that. I’d just tell them not to go because it’s ‘blah’ for the lack of a better descriptive word.

Besides, Napoli has better street food than Phoenix. Baba is a very prominent dolce (sweet) in Napoli. It is very spongy, moist and shaped like an overgrown cupcake. There is baba with Nutella in it, cream or plain- all have rum drizzled over the top of it. Not too sweet or heavy and all for €1.50. Of course the pizza too! How could I forget the pizza? After the farmers market Gianpy, Senem, Luca and I went to the most popular pizzeria’s in Napoli- the one from Eat, Pray, Love. It would be very inconspicuous and passable were it not for the crowd of people outside waiting for their fresh piece of heaven. When you arrive you must battle you way through the crowd to the front of the pizzeria where you take a ticket from an employee then wait for anywhere from 1/2hr to 4. When a table opens up the employee goes out front and starts rattling off numbers, if you’re not right there to give him your ticket he skips right past you. While waiting a couple of guys came out with their pizza’s and ate from the back of their Vespa. The inside of the pizzeria is very simple tile with a more limited menu than inNout. I ordered Doppia Mozzarella- completely mind blowing. I have no idea how something so simple could taste so incredible, everything about it melts in your mouth. I’m not sure American pizza will ever be edible again. We left the restaraunt in a bit of a rush for an appointment and as we were zipping through the streets we came to a stop light and were crossed with what initially looking like a parade. It was actually a small group of about seven people playing music and carrying a large memorial banner. So not a parade but a families funeral procession. What an incredible way to celebrate and mourn.

Now I better continue about the farm Monte Ofelix before this post becomes too incredibly long. I will actually be returning in two weeks it is such an incredible place! Lolo said that if she were to choose a phrase for Monte Ofelix it would be “Piano, piano.” (slowly/softly/gently) even though time has a way of flying by there the attitude is to enjoy the little things. There is so much to experience here as the seasons shift- most of it is piano piano. It took me two days to notice that a couple of the mimosa trees had bloomed covering themselves in a thick veil of giallo (yellow). The willow tree began to slowly let out her leafs too. The farm continues to change with the season as new plots of land to plant sprang up from vacant space. We created fenced off spaces for planting seeding (semenzaio?) in one space and planted potatoes in another. Monte Ofelix is what I had hoped for before setting out for wwoofing, it is full of knowledge, community and learning opportunities. Every wwoofer falls in loce with the people and the place revisiting and extending stays. Senem and I went wild asparagus hunting as dusk began; you have to go out and look for the bush then go digging around through blackberries to find the roots and to look for new sprouts. New sprouts can be very easy to overlook because of color and size and as the sun set they became harder to find. We watched the sunset deep orange through the neighbors olive tree’s with raggae music drifting across the creek from Monte Ofelix. It’s pretty time consuming work for such little yield- definitely not something a starving person would go out and look for. But for meditations sake and to sell at the market it’s good.

Whenever there is down time in the mornings, after lunch and in the evening about half the folks here wwoofers and residents alike gather together for a drum circle. It is like a brain massage to sit and listen to them, it can take several minutes for everyone to get on the same beat but once they do it’s incredible. A couple arrived shortly before I left with a daughter about a year and a half old. I was blessed with a beautiful half hour with the daughter Mataya one sunny afternoon while pushing her on the swing. She was so quiet and still I had no idea she had fallen asleep until one of the other wwoofers pointed it out. So i gently lifted her up into my lap and we kept swinging. For half and hour she slept resting on me with sun shine, a spring tipped willow, oak leaf covered grass and a bubbling spring. Mama mia there is magic everywhere here.

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About Sami

I paint, I move my feet, I try to experience everything I can; through this I learn love. View all posts by Sami

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