I think that I have mentioned this before but the port of Naples is a form of controlled mayhem. Ferries going in and out, ships at anchor, ships drifting near the breakwater, and little fishing boats all over the place. That makes for a very interesting arrival. On our final approach we were sandwiched between two ferries, whose only intent seemed to be to get into port as quickly as possible, regardless of the rest of the world. Blocking our course was a drifting container ship, obviously waiting for a berth but its position was right in the middle of the normal approach and exit route of the port. It was a very nice and wind still morning, while we swerved around him, but the weather was extremely hazy. We never saw Mount Vesuvius and ships around us loomed in the haze as grey lumbering mastodons.
We docked again at the regular passenger pier, only this time on the West side as the East side was taken up by the Carnival Freedom. They had arrived just ahead of us and by the time the Veendam was docked they were discharging their thousands of guests via two gangways. One gangway on the pier area for the tours and gangway on the Upper level which has the normal terminal access. For the guests I had hoped, that it being a Saturday, the traffic in Naples would be a little bit less hectic than normal but unfortenately regular pandemonium prevailed outside the terminal entrance. Naples is a town steeped in history and a great place to visit, and so is the surrounding country side, but the traffic is a challenge. Most of our guests were wise and had either chosen a ship organized tour or used a taxi to get to where they wanted to go.
I remember an incident from a few years ago, when I was with the old Noordam in Naples. I had gone for a walk around the Castle that dominates the port and was just on my way back. On the other side of the street was a lady walking whose body weight was, letâ€™s say, considerable. She had her hand bag, a big one, slung over her right shoulder with the straps across her breast so that the bag itself hung on her left hip. Out of nowhere came a scooter with two guys on it. They zipped by very close. Then the one on the backseat grabbed the handbag with the intention that the strap would break and he would be able to steal the bag while the speed of the scooter ensured a quick escape.
However this strap was of some strong elastic material and did not break, it just stretched. The lady noticing what was happening froze on the spot. But because of her weight, she did not move an inch while the scooter tried to sped off but could not as the strap did not break and the thief did not let go. The rest of the scene was something out of a movie. The scooter came to a sudden halt, the driver lost control and both scooter and men crashed into the wall in front of the lady. The handbag remained in one piece. The lady quickly recovered from the shock and started bashing the two men with the same handbag while they were lying dazed on the ground. A few seconds later a policeman came around the corner, and the two thieves made a hurried exit, while still receiving the occasional hit from the hand bag. The policeman walked to the lady, obviously asked if she was ok, congratulated her with her actions, started the scooter and drove off in the traffic.
I then found out that the lady was one of the Noordam guests, so I sent her a bottle of wine for dinner that evening, to congratulate her with her heroic actions. I still wonder what that police officer did with the scooterâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦, I guess the two drivers never claimed it back. Naples, controlled mayhemâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.