Like A Rolling Stone….

Not to be one to sit still… the summer is upon us…and we are Canadians!

So it’s off to the East Coast Trail and a bit of Newfoundland.  We enjoyed standing on the most western point in Europe and we are now planning to stand on the most eastern point in Canada.   The Atlantic Ocean beckons yet once again.

  Cabo da Roca in Portugal

As the saying goes… A rolling stone gathers no moss, but it gains a certain polish…  add a bit more polish to the Grant-adventures.

How Did it all work out?

Good morning Torun…. Soon to be Good morning Vancouver.

In one week we will be once again on a ‘moving day’ only this one sets the stage for moving back to Vancouver from the land of travelling.

How did it all work out for us?  We started with plans and ideas and some came to fruition.  The best plans included some of the most memorable people and places:

  • The planned journey to Paris to get our much needed Visa lead to the best ever EatWith experience – a local dinner party hosted by Thomas.  This journey lead us to the first of many ‘political’ discussions during our travels.  A prediction on the French election we watched NOT happen and the understanding of politics in everyone’s lives even if they don’t think it does (or chose to vote).
  • Experiencing Madrid with a “local” and our dear friend, Federico.  Sleeping in his brother’s childhood bed, meeting his family and OMG the BEST langoustines we ate the entire trip.
  • 10 days in Florence in the fall sunshine in November with food markets, an amazing Airbnb experience and “all things”  Renaissance
  • Meeting the King of Campania, Gaetano and going with him on his Wine Bus Tour – who by the way did get engaged not because of us but we certainly left a lasting impression regarding marriage and perhaps a wedding invitation in the future to go back to a city, Napoli that also left a lasting impression on us.
  • Malta and Gozo – two islands that provided warm winter sunshine in November, amazing hiking and an idea that we wish more farms could do with a restaurant that is supplied by a family farm – eating local and seasonally with Diar il-Bniet on Malta
  • Vienna – by the time we landed here the churches and castles we were done with and thankfully Christmas markets filled our days.  Warm woollen hats and gloves with winter sunshine, no snow and cold beer.
  • 6-Grants together for Christmas in Poland followed by a trip to Greece and experiencing Crete during the coldest weather in the last 50 years.  Learning to alter plans and be happy when they change and making the best roasted Lamb with my wonderful Polish daughter.
  • No Cambodia and Thailand.  By altering these plans it turned out to be the beginning of more altered plans and being ‘right where we needed to be’
  • Unexpected Madeira – only because it fulfilled one plane, one train, one bus travel.  We found hiking, Madeira wine is actually good for more than cooking, and a surprise weekend with Thing Two to enjoy some February sunshine in 20 degree weather
  • A direct flight to Porto and then port wine, the ONLY Michelin star restaurant we ate in, another fabulous airbnb experience and confirming we really really LIKE all things Portugal.
  • Rota Vicentina – you stole our hearts, challenged our bodies and created a long lasting friendship with Nadja.  We learned to appreciate ‘a journey’ and how for each of us, it looks so different and we can honestly admit that a 200 km walk ‘altered’ us in ways that only the future will unveil, layer by layer.
  • Sagres with a bit of manipulation and planning – finally gave us 48 hours with friends who we always managed to be near but never close enough to share an experience.  A relaxing time with good wine, lazy days and Shelly and Brent from home.
  • Driving through Portugal gave us Evora with beautiful walks and history of an amazing aqua duct with glorious food once again.  Coimbra and the most beautiful ‘Harry Potter-ish’ library.   Back roads, fun locals met along the way, kisses from Portuguese men who were ‘strangers’ two hours before the kiss.

All these adventures and the one thing they shared in common was ‘people’.  Our connection to others and our need to be connected to others.  We are pure social creatures and have picked up and added new friends along the way.

“Travel, unlike anything else in life, has the beautiful ability to give you benefits you didn’t expect. It doesn’t just teach you what you don’t know, it also teaches you what you don’t know you don’t know.”

Gone is some things that we were both happy to say goodbye to.  It will be interesting if there are notable changes that are visible – apart from the sun-kissed faces from Portugal we are taking home in May.

There is also this so called thing of ‘Grandparenting’ which has come with huge joys and happy moments for us both.  I cannot begin to share the love and joy of having my grandson sleep on me for over an hour and a half on the plane from Lisbon to Warsaw. Dave’s joy when it’s ‘tubbie’ time and the splashing that makes his clothes wet during the process.   We have seen the first steps, and first teeth.  Sometimes the simply moments with him – seeing him smile when we are there to pick him up from daycare, putting him to sleep when we are giving the parents a much needed ‘night out’.  Sharing a holiday home with them and having him sleep with us in his crib so the parents get uninterrupted sleep.  Cheerios on the bed in the morning.   He’s a joy and our gratitude of this trip has been 9 full months of connecting and creating a relationship.

It’s truly been a ‘grant-adventure’!

 

Everything Is A Story

What makes a story great?

It Goes Above the Five Senses

It Embraces idiosyncrasies

It Forgets about being pretty

 It has a Purpose

It Makes you Laugh

And It Makes you Cry

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Rota Vicentina became an integral part of our story in Portugal.  This is one thing I had planned and our trip here centred around the dates for the 200 kilometres of awesomeness.  Dave looked at the details on the first day in Santiago do Cacem and he said “how many kilometres is this a day??”… ummm well 18 at the very least was my response!  Often it’s best to be in the dark and just put your head down and go along with things – which is exactly what he did!  The walking became hiking.  We found trails that I was compelled to take pictures of.  Rota Vicentina touched all five of our senses along the way!  We even checked the ‘taste’ sensation as we ate wild thyme and rosemary picked along the way (and probably a bit of sand too!)

Often the “purpose” of your story does not always become clear when you are living in the moment.   We settled into our room on Day 2 of Rota Vicentina trip & we walked to the dining table room next door.  Our lovely Inn was in the middle of “nowhere” on the trail & we had one option for dinner – the one made by the owner for us (it was really good).  Our one and only dinner companion introduced herself to us – Nadja.  We shared a bottle of wine with her – surprise, surprise – often great friendships start with wine!   Slowly like peeling back the skin of an onion, Dave and I got a chance to ‘know’ Nadja.  Walking through puddles, sitting on the side of a road literally breaking bread for lunch, talking about how you got to right where you are today, sharing of our parents, siblings, friends… sometimes we 3 walked quietly but often we walked laughing.  This lovely young woman, Nadja has lived to her current 32 years so different to Dave and I to our 50+ years.  That is what makes it fun to be friends – she is a marvel in her wisdom and insights and we found ourselves ‘connected’.   The universe’s energy drew us to the Rota and part of our story is our friendship with Nadja Wallraff.

We also found ourselves sharing in someone else’s “great story” one night in Aljezur… the story of a message in a bottle, Burt’s Bees and how another Canadian woman will make her way to Portugal.  Randomly we wanted food that was something other than ‘traditional Portuguese’.  Dave found a ‘tapas’ that appealed and whilst eating there we got to talking with the two guys running the place.  We discovered food is their passion, but lifeguarding is their day job.   Fabio (yes I am not making this name up) found a message in a bottle on the beach.  Now I cannot do this story justice but I can share Lauren Jerzyk’s youtube video that will explain how everything makes a story…. (btw Lauren’s planning to go meet Fabio this summer… perhaps there will be more to their story)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_s0Lis705U

Not Chia seeds in yogurt – little tadpoles in a muddle puddle – they were not going to make it as the day was 25 and hot sunshine…. it just was a point of not being pretty but that is part of the story.

Five people… each on the journey to walk, some farther than others.  We picked up Rita in Napoli a city we loved and really didn’t love either.  She found us again and brought Tanja, her ‘early fall friend’ to meet her ‘late fall friends’ (that would be Dave and I) and Nadja became her ‘early spring’ friend.  Five people, five different people with their own idiosyncrasies  that combined to make a journey along the Rota a whole lot more interesting.

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Our story… life isn’t pretty… you can challenge yourself… you can laugh and seriously connect with other humans just because you are doing something difficult.  We found purpose, friendship and bucket loads of laughter along the journey.  Maybe it was less than 200 kilometres we walked in the end but we gained more than sore feet.  We found people at their best – simply being humans without the boundaries of what works and what doesn’t.  More people should try a seriously long walk… I get why the Camino do Santiago changes people.  We lived freely for 12 days and added to ‘our’ story!

You should stand in your underwear in public more often

 

you’re going to appreciate sand on the beach more than in your shoes on your journey

There are a whole lot more stories ahead… because EVERYTHING really, truly is a story!

Travelling + Perspective = Gratitude

YES two words can be altered by math and turned into one = GRATITUDE.  Here’s an explanation on how I did that!

Travelling is not just about food, wine and amazing landmark Selfies despite that being a huge part of our postings on Facebook. What I have not been sharing is our education & understanding of historical facts as shared by locals…. here’s my story today….

<DISCLAIMER – THIS IS MY OPINION SHARED SOLEY FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN READING AN OPINION>

I am watching North America – American and Canadian citizens react to a man who used to be called Mr. Trump and now has the glorious title “Mr. President”.   I have been watching this process on Facebook, the newspapers, TV whilst my feet are standing on ‘European’ soil.   I am appalled by various terms and references made to this new American President and comparisons made – mostly to one insane man.   Now here’s a few things for consideration, since my feet on on Europe soil….

  • Communism
  • Dictatorships
  • Sovereign Debt
  • Higher Taxes
  • Famines
  • Religion
  • Unemployment

As a Canadian, I have been blessed, growing up with 50 years of peace.  I was not born in Poland, during Communism and so I had shoes purchased for me when I needed them, not because suddenly the store had shoes.  I did not have to hold my sister’s hand, stand in line for milk, only to find we were two people behind the last to get it.   I was not born in Portugal, during a time of Dictatorship and my family was so poor that we were starving that my father had to take us from our Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and settle us into a new country called Canada, where I did not know how to speak English.

I have enjoyed freedom of speech, religion and relatively “acceptable taxes** for services” (** note this is changing and what my children and grandchildren will NOT experience).   I lived simply and obliviously.   I took for granted going to the store to find an abundance of food and had money for it.  Growing up as a teenager, listening to any and all types of music, I had nothing censored.  Arguing with my father that yes, my jeans were too tight, but of course I had a choice in jobs to earn the money to buy those extremely tight jeans, just to have that argument.  My bicycle was for fun, to take me to play with my friends after school.  It was not a luxury item nor a form of transportation.  My parents could travel to work using their car that they purchased fuel for anytime.

I’m sure you understand by now that I did not have a full understanding of what and how life was like for anyone growing up in the 1960’s, 1970’s and really 1980’s for many people in European countries (see the above considerations).

Sitting in Porto, Portugal, a placed that was ruled by a Dictatorship government for over 40 years until 1974, I am writing this blog.  Travelling here and in Poland, Germany, Italy etc has given me perspective to write this.  It has also given me perspective….

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I appreciate that some of my friends opinions on social media are screaming outrage over the new American President, which by the way as Canadian’s we had NO say in.  AND I ask, why should Canadians HAVE a say in who the American people silently chose as their President?  Would we appreciate Italians, Belgians or Malaysians telling us who we should have as our Prime Minister and then protesting our choice after we failed to vote in someone they liked?

Why are Canadian’s protesting against a USA President?  Why are we not protesting Brussels’ austerity measures against Greece?  The wars that caused ALL the immigrant refugees? Our own government’s irresponsible spending?  Higher taxes?

OK so some people from specific countries are not allowed into the USA because of a travel ban and people are being deported out of the USA because they are illegal immigrants.  Do you think as a Canadian we can travel freely to any country, simply cross any border into any country and decide to stay for as long as we want? Work there, get free medical, take jobs from a local and live there, not paying taxes?  Try going to UK, Germany, Singapore, Japan, Greece, Poland.  You would get deported as an illegal also.

I see young people protesting, taking a day off classes and having issues with not having” Safe spaces”.  Imagine yourself standing in a train station in Napoli, a pick-pocket who is ethnically, culturally and religiously different from you (and probably has opinions you don’t agree with);  they reach into your backpack and you yell for a Safe Space?

I acknowledge it’s ok to protest and stand up for immigrant refugees but what happens when that person expresses a different opinion? Or culturally treats you in a way you do not like?  Do you demand your right for a safe space?  The safe space concept is such a “Western” concept that it does NOT exist outside of Canada, USA and UK.  I do not see how this concept allows others freedom of expression?  What will happen when the person so use to a “safe space” leaves this, or the government no longer provides it, allows it?

Millennials are demanding affordable city centre living accommodations, high paying jobs, guaranteed wage-health benefits & pensions.  I can share with you a Millennial in Europe, holding a double masters in Physics and Chemistry, with the ability to build a bomb but instead working at the car rental counter at the airport in Madeira.  Her parents grew up under a Dictatorship and they have suffered from the economic meltdown of 2008, lack of jobs.  They are not counting on affordable city centre living or even having the government pension when they retire.  The sense of entitlement and even trust in the Government often does not exist.  It is a generational thing here –  2, 3 and 4 generations have not experienced the freedoms I grew up with.

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Perspective…. something garnered along this Grant-adventure.

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Gratitude…. yes I’m grateful I grew up Canadian.  I learned the art of leisure.  I was never hungry nor worried about food or shelter as a child.  I am grateful to know freedom of religion, have free speech and there is freedom in love.

There is gratitude that I grew up in a Democratic country and was able to choose education and use the education for a good paying job.  That I have friends who have freedom in who they love.  In Canada, I have friends and family that can share their differing opinions and I am grateful we have a relationship that allows such.  I’m grateful to raise children in a country that gave them freedom to travel and a Canadian passport to do this.   I am grateful my children are open minded and when they leave Canada can explore the world, other people’s different cultures and yes, different opinions based upon different perspective.

I am grateful to the people we have met and to those that we will meet along the way.  Their history, culture and differences are giving me a new perspective on being Canadian and most certainly a humble Gratitude for such.

A Polish Winter December 2016 & January 2017

After my lapse in blogs, for those wanting to know what we have been doing…. here’s our two Months in the Polish winter.

The Christmas season was, of course, Robert’s 1st Christmas.  I’m sure it was just another day but with some ‘new toys’ thrown in and a lot of ‘playtime’.  Being ONE of the 4 Grandparents, I loved it and was happy to share our time in one place as we got the Polish Christmas Eve at Kasia’s parents and then Christmas day at Tony & Kasia’s and her family joined for that dinner. Breaking bread and eating – we Grants do that well!  And for you, dear reader, a couple of “My First Christmas” moments of this wonderful boy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had 6-Grant moments in Greece, which by the way was THE coldest in the last 50 years – they had snow?!  Who knew that when it was planned, thinking 15+ degrees, would turn out closer to 1 degree.   No matter, we loved dinner of the best lamb that Kasia and I made in the oven on NYE with lovely wine and ringing in the New Year together.  (Sidebar – there was a bit of Metaxa involved for Two male Grants and a fire extinguisher but I think that was closer to 5 am on NY Day).

With all 6-Grants together, Lara was “Auntie, Daughter and Sister” in the 3 weeks she spent with us.  There is nothing better than being able to hug your sweet child that you are watching mature and come into her own away from you at University.   She is still our happy, bright, beautiful self:

There are things that you learn when you travel and set up a place that will be a ‘2nd home’ (with beds owned in both countries as the definition of ‘home’)

For my fellow Canadian family and friends reading this, a few interesting bits of life in Poland:

  • You are not in line if you are not physically touching the person in front of you or behind you – to which I heard it said but experienced this in the grocery store, Biedronka and the woman behind me had a nagging cough.
  • If someone doesn’t have their headlights on you flash yours at them. We seem to have an ‘auto’ button on our cars in Canada – not so much here.  We have been ‘flashed’ more times than we care to admit – now we are the flashers!
  • We no longer think it is strange that beer and water are the same price – this is NOT a complaint – just saying!
  • As a passenger – when stepping out of the car – you open the door, look down for dog shit and if all clear – step out.
  • You cannot go to the store and buy rice crackers or chocolate chips.
  • Coal is sold in hardware stores – so much for all of us in Canada trying to be environmentally conservative – they have to heat their homes with coal and wood here.
  • Please don’t say “pierogies’.  Pierogi is already the pluralized form of the singular “pierog’.

Lastly, we have not experienced the ‘snowy’ cold winter we thought we would get.  It’s dry and cold and we are looking forward to a February and March in all parts of Portugal.  Increasing the ‘weather’ by an extra 15 degrees – I shall have warmer feet!!!

Off we go…. road tripping via planes, trains and automobiles and a bit of our own two feet….

 

 

 

A little blogging negligence

Yes, I’ve been totally negligent to the We Are The Grants website, sharing the update and random miscellaneous thoughts.

Quite a few things have happened in the last 2 full months since I wrote the last blogs whereby we had hit 100 days of travelling.  Dave and I are now more than 1/2 way through this journey, completed 2016 with all 6-Grants together and started a new year and for us, that which feels like our ‘next 5 year’ beginning.

The truth is that life changes – for us it seems to be incremental around ‘5 years’.  We took the ending of one time period to begin this Grant-Adventure and have discovered a whole new ‘us’ within the questions of  Who, What, Where, When, Why.

WHO: that’s pretty clear… there are two people in this relationship that move around the many orbiting planets entitled ‘family’ and ‘friends’.  We are defined by the first relationship of ‘spouse’ and then comes parent, grandparents, sibling, friend, cousin, Aunt, Uncle etc.

WHAT:  as in what did this trip do?  What have we learned? What does the next bit look like? What should we do?  What plans should we make…. and the what, what, what… question that turned into multiple.

WHERE:  We have two places that on paper seem to fit our where.  Vancouver is our home and we have many connections to this place and there is an inherent need to be near water, as in a huge large body of water.  Of course Torun keeps us heart grounded in a way that being a Grandparent should.  So where seems to have two answers for us also.

WHEN: Being Vancouver-homeless was an issue at least until June 30th when the lease on our place was due with the current family in it.  When has been moved up because graciously our one tenant has complained enough about ‘noise’ issues that their lease will not be renewed and thus gave us a change to say ‘let’s downsize’ and that means a 1 bedroom space and we have to pay more than lip service to ‘less is more’ life.   Thankfully the current tenant in our 3 bedroom space wants to stay – so bonus to us and when is June 18th when we land back in Vancouver and sleeping in another bed we are buying! 

WHY: because we took 10 months to explore possibilities and that we wrote down on paper what our needs were and that gave us a chance to change plans.  “Why” became the “who” which gave us “where” that gave us “when” and only lead to a whole lot of “What”.

 

Things from the first 100 days

Since we have left there are quite a few things that we have learned along the way.  Sure.. I have been sharing pictures on Facebook and Instagram and putting some interesting tidbits on these along the way.  BUT there is only so much that a picture can convey and share of these emotional happy moments, as captured by a picture.

Here’s some things about our first 100 days in words:

  1. A delay in a flight or train really isn’t a big deal when you don’t have anywhere you really need to be.
  2. Making dumplings is a form of ART – alas eating them is just pure pleasure.
  3. You do not magically pick up a language by hiding in your rented apartment or hotel room because you are too scared to talk to people.
  4. You do not always need to be suspicious of people – unless you are in Napoli (sorry to the Napoletane).
  5. Orange is the new black as far as shower curtains go in one apartment we rented in Lisbon.
  6. We are not meant to ride scooters in Italy.
  7. Patience can be developed – it requires a change in your attitude about life.
  8. Not getting up for work everyday is like having a life of Saturdays.
  9. You really need to know how to squat if you want to use a public toilet
  10. Traveling REALLY is a privilege.
  11. Wake up early – honest hardworking people wake up early; touts, scammers, and criminals sleep in
  12. Not always wearing a Canadian flag can be a good thing – you won’t stand out as a tourist when walking through a park where people are shooting drugs into their veins
  13. Eat local food – it’s often the best quality and the best price.
  14. Sometimes you have to embrace anarchy.
  15. Sunshine, no matter what the temperature outside, makes people happy.
  16. If anyone goes out of their way to help you at train station, they most likely are doing it for their own benefit not yours.
  17. Pack your own pillow – there’s a lot of shitty beds and pillows you will sleep on.
  18. You can actually visit too many churches.
  19. Pack less stuff. Trade Less stuff to have more experiences.
  20. You can judge a place by how good it’s public transport in the form of local buses are.
  21. Portuguese people are really friendly.
  22. Drink local wine & beer.
  23. Find a farmer’s market to buy your food.
  24. No one really gives a shit about Donald Trump as President too much, outside the USA.
  25. Pack a small umbrella – it does rain at the most inopportune moments.
  26. You really do learn a lot about your relationships when you are away for over 3 months.
  27. The world is a lot more interesting with people of varying interests and beliefs.
  28. We don’t miss the PVR and the TV.
  29. Making new friends is fun but so is appreciating the friends you have at home.
  30. Some of the lessons Dave and I have learned cannot be shared in black and white, they were experienced.
  31. Human capacity for happiness is often quite flexible.
  32. The best part of a country or culture is sometimes also the worst part.
  33. Uncertainty can be a good thing – it helps you evolve.
  34. Language barriers are easily overcome with a bit of charades.
  35. Travel, like life, is personal.
  36. You can gain perspective on certain things you thought mattered.
  37. You end up with some pretty cool stories to tell.

It’s been a Grant-Adventure the First 100 days

The Wine Bus Tour?? – Count Us In!

No matter the nationality, the one language humanity has in common is Food (& Wine)

And thus begins my story of Gaetano Petrillo

Being a reader of financial and economic magazines – the ones I love the most are the free ones in British Airway lounge – which is how I came upon Gaetano.   I always  start a magazine from the back  and this time that’s where I found the article that made me say: ‘oh wow we’re meeting this guy’.  I cannot even tell you which magazine it was, I only know that it was an unlikely place for one page article on Food and Wine in Campania Italy.

My search started with knowing that I needed to find “thewinebus.it” – so me and my friend, Mr. Google got started on the search.  You would think easy peasy right?  I was given the exact website to go to?  Well, not so fast my friend.  It just wasn’t an active website (at the time), which caused me to try to locate him via other Mr. Google searches.  And this is what I found:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm6VTlUY6Lk

Alright I was HOOKED – his charismatic gestures, eyebrows smiling for the filming, his “spritzer” at the end along with his wonderful words “but ah thees night I don’t work because I’m drinking and when I am drinking I don’t work”.   Now… because of Gaetano video & the Wine Bus, it seemed like a natural thing to add to our ‘to do list’ – since Napoli was where we wanted to go to see Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. So to anyone who’s every played Mario Cart on the Nintendo – I shall use Mario’s phrase “Let’s-go”!

I eventually sourced Gaetano and his wine bus tour through Facebook and voila we were off with a date and time, which meant it was our last wonderful thing to do before leaving Napoli.

About the Wine Bus Tour.  His service is a 10 out of 10.  We were picked up and right away he hooks us into his WiFi so that we can stay connected during the tour – which was great for posting fun pictures on Facebook.  We travel for just over an hour into the wine region of Campania in Italy.   The conversation is easy as well as interesting – because the happy, easy going person I found on Youtube video is even better in person.

Our first winery was Antico Castello Winery.  We were greeted by Francesco and shown the production and explained the history, grape varietal and all methods used in their final product we love so much – WINE!   Here’s a link to their winery and wines:  http://www.anticocastello.com/default.aspx?Id=2

Dave and I also met Chiara – Francesco’s sister.  Together they are the winery.  Their love and passion for all things wine is best tasted in the most delicious wine (I think) they make called Taurasi.

As part of The Wine Bus Tour – I had asked Gaetano to organise lunch knowing we would be ‘tasting’ wine.  Let me explain how wine tasting is done with this fabulous tour.  First off it’s wine drinking!  No tasting and spitting out, I mean a lot of work, time and effort went into making that wine.  Second the family at Antico Castello – including Mom, a retired doctor, made us lunch! So food and wine! Now that’s a combination I can live with!  “Mamma’s Tiramisu” was the lovely finishing tasting to the food and Dave said that if his Mother could cook like this we may not have been married!  (hahaha said the Wife!)

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We ended the morning into the early afternoon with some wine purchased and shipped to Poland (Sorry friends in Canada wine is duty free within the EU); a couple of Italian kisses and wine for Christmas dinner!

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ROUND 2 Winery was off to Sella delle Spine and guess what?  MORE WINE and MORE FOOD!  The owner is Luigi Caggiano – better known as Gino.  He also grows the wine of the region – grape that is the Taurasi wine.   How can we resist drinking – not tasting – such wonderful wine, accompanied by the food that Gino served us (& made).

Here’s the link to his website and vineyard (seems to be only in Italian though): http://www.selladellespine.com/index.php

We enjoyed the village that his wine tasting room was in and we had the place to ourselves, along with Gaetano.

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Once we had tasted – ummm drank – the wonderful wines that Gino produces at Sella delle Spine, we were off to his winery and family home.   It was a beautiful day, in the late fall afternoon to visit his vineyard.  The tour of his production facility was nice but the beauty of his location was the draw!

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Now back to my story of Gaetano Petrillo….

Sometimes in life you look for one thing and you discover that you are given something else.

What I mean is that we found Gaetano & thewinebustour.it  because of our love and interest in Wine & Food.  What the universe gave us was a kind, thoughtful, gregarious, happy man that we will stay in touch with.  He will be welcome to our home, family & friends in Vancouver.  He’s a friend to bring home.  Gaetano has the “gioia di vivere” (the French use joie de vivre).   It’s infectious and why anyone travelling to see Pompeii or Mount Vesuvius on their bucket list really needs to add his tour: http://www.thewinebus.it

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THANK YOU Gaetano for an amazing day and sharing your local love of all things Campania!

best-wines

Why we’ll be talking about Napoli long after we have visited

Napoli is like your mad Auntie at a wedding. Everyone avoids her but boy does she have some interesting stories to tell!

I put this place onto our list for travelling and scheduled us for 9 nights to stay.  After all, we are trying to travel in a manner that is meant to allow us to really get to know a city and to appreciate it’s culture and people.   We realised within 5 days that this crazy Aunty called Naples is beyond mad!

Choosing to travel for 10 months – you must keep an open mind.  What you find charming and cool can also become uncool and irritating and nothing could be more true for us here than THAT.   When we first roamed the streets we liked the constant buzz of energy.  The scooters zipping 10 centimetres past you or beeping for you to move out of their way.  The guy riding a scooter, delivering a tray of coffee in one hand whilst somehow managing to smoke a cigarette.  Another a passenger on a scooter holding a 6 foot closet door.  A woman tucking her 2 year old without a helmut on in front of her and off she rode.  ALL that was a mere 2 minutes on the street.

This ‘charm’ as you first see it – actually becomes less charming as the days go on.  You step over dog shit everywhere and watch people move around in a ‘frantic’ pace.  You begin you realise that this frantic pace of life is at the core of Napoli.  People are so busy working and moving around to get laundry done, groceries, fixing the scooters, recycling furniture, selling produce….

You forget to find the beauty in this city, that can be and should be charming.  You start to scowl walking down the street. Not because you mean to be that type of person.  But let’s face it, no one else smiles at you and if they do, they’re picking your pocket!   So you start to put your head down and move from one place to another at the same frantic level as the people living in this city without smiling, not feeling happy or even looking happy.

We came here because no one will bring to you the beauty of Mount Vesuvius or Pompeii.  To shared these places with Dave, slipping my hand into his and standing in Pompeii at sunset – we had to come to Napoli find that. Exploring history and standing in a site that you read about in a book in school – or in Dave’s case wrote a book report on in Grade 6 – again it was because of being here.

Yet we are walking around not being our true self.  Sometimes when a place starts to change you and not in positive ways, it’s time to move on.

So…. we are off to Malta early.  Although we booked another Airbnb in Valletta,  it wasn’t free earlier.  That’s a good thing as we are going to stay at a small farm house/inn and go walking in the sunshine on the cliffs of Dingli – nature and ocean – grounding ourselves to be the polite Canadians again.