So while in Naples, we went to see the ruins of Pompei- and the journey itself turned out to be an adventure of epic proportions.
The first thing to note is to get to Pompei, you need an early start. The second thing is that Italin bus conductors love to catch unsuspecting foreigners on their buses without tickets. Case in point: In London, you can buy tickets on the bus. So when there was no ticket machine at our bus stop, and no signs around explaining how to get a ticket, why wouldn't we assume we could get one on the bus? Well, assuming makes an ass out of u and me. We got on the bus, Euros in hand, and tried to pay the bus driver- he waved us on the bus, and to what we thought was the ticket machine. Laura attempted to feed notes into the machine to no avail, and we were still trying to figure out what to do next when two men got on, yelled 'Controller! Tickets!' and came right for us, flashing a badge. We tried quickly to explain to this very aggressive man that we were trying to buy tickets, but as we don't speak Italian and they didn't speak English, it was lost in translation. He then tried to get us to show him our passports- which we didn't have with us. Before we knew it, he had called the police and we were being shoved off the bus in the middle of the road to pay a 'penalite'. In retrospect, we think the bus driver made the controllers aware before they got on the bus that we were there. Luckily, we weren't the only ones duped- there was a family of 5 English people also arguing the point. We were told to pay a €41 fine EACH- ridiculous! We spent a good half an hour arguing with the policeman (who didn't speak English and was looking more and more sorry he was called to the scene) with the controller screaming at us in Italian the entire time. Sarah suggested we run for it... so we tried to sidle away slowly, but were caught. Thanks to Sarah's fantastic arguing skills (and Laura's expert puppy dog face) we got the fine down to €41 for the whole group- €20.50 instead of what would have been €82. A rip off, but the best was made of a bad situation. The single worst thing about it was that we saw the controller pocket the money we gave him!
A word to the wise- dont get on a bus without a ticket. And if you do, REFUSE to pay the fine- argue it down as low as possible.