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

Well hello YIN & YANG

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We (as in Dave and I) are 8 sleeps away from experimenting with a new found Wanderlust.   I’m excited and yet I have also come face-to-face with one other aspect that was honestly not on my radar too much leading up to this adventure:

 YIN and YANG

I have been hugged so long and tightly by friends and family in the last week that I am very much aware of what we are leaving here.

It’s not the physical stuff that sits in this house but our people!

Yes we will have the 6 Grants all within a one hour time zone of each other.  England, Poland  and all of the “Where in the World is Dave” places.   But… because that’s how life is, there is Dave’s Mother, sisters, niece, my sister, my nephews, this huge listing of friends that we share dinner, laughs and of course wine with.   We will miss the invites and being able to invite;  the last minute bbq’s.  The impromptu knock on the door and hearing “hey here I am, you must have missed me!”

And of course we will miss their hugs!

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Travel is more than seeing the sights

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Often it seems easy to follow the crowds… I mean there’s a line-up outside “Anne Frank’s” house – so it must be good right?   Travelling is often a whole lot more than seeing the sights and following the crowds (which btw the Anne Frank house is wonderful and so is the Vatican and there are huge crowds for both!).

What we have learned from this extended travel is that we prefer to be “bubble off plumb” and have bought into the “slow movement” ideology for travel & food.

STAFF PHOTO BY CHRIS GRANGER Tuesday November 8, 2005 A slight tilt to the levee wall on the New Orleans side of the 17th Street Canal at the Jefferson Parish line.

Our idea of ‘bubble off plumb’ means not to be right in the centre of everything.  We are happily staying in our friend’s flat in the heart of Amsterdam – 3 blocks from Dam Square, 3 blocks from the Red Light District, right on a canal, restaurants, coffee shops and anything and everything you could ever need to consume.   It’s great for 3 day weekend but does not fit with what we have learned – being slightly off centre – outside of the plumb line – means we get to interact with locals, walk leisurely around a neighbourhood and not be in the thrust of human energy and crowds.

Slow Movement is a cultural shift to slowing down life’s pace.  We have experienced a two hour dinner, sipping wine, talking to the chef, waiter, locals as we wait for our meal to be prepared and cooked.  Shifting down several gears to walk slowly, not the harried pace of moving through crowds in the street, or trying to get to the front of a line.  Of course, choosing green space or water space for us, achieves the ‘slow down’.  First physically and then we find we shift mentally into the slower pace.

Locals, locals, locals – I cannot say enough about talking with them by putting yourself out there. Sharing our plans with them has given us better places to see, eat and stay.  You do not see the locals hanging out at the “crowded-tourist-must see sights”.

Here are some of those bits of places for us….

<a day early for the Olympic rowing practise>

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<Sunny day, Amsteelveen, locks and some great boats>

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<some slow food in Bollington, England>

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<up close and personal with my hair sniffing friend>IMG_1210

 

Speaking of up close and personal – this was just simply funny:

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<short bread and side of the road, middle of no-where, stop>

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IMG_2575<heron taking flight>

 

<talked with a volunteer whilst visiting Treasurers House in York, we get a behind the scenes tour of the attic space – had to wear these helmuts!>

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IMG_1330 <green day on the farm>

Rushing means we would be missing the moments that are ‘right there’.   I might not take on the philosophy “Sit down, dinner will be ready in a month” but you maybe seeing a few more “2 hours for your dinner at Chez Grant” moments. Sounds great doesn’t it?!!?

<P.S. – there’s always wine while you wait!>

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Old City with New Friends

York, England… Old, Old, Old.  History abounds here.

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First off we are renting this amazing house through Claire with Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/6643331

Before we arrived, I was planning ‘cooking’ time and buying groceries, something that I have missed doing. We are staying just outside of the old city walls of York.  What an incredibly beautiful city.  As we walk into the city centre we walk by this every day:

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Clifford Tower

Our trip to “old” York begins the ‘new’ as we are here to start the exploration of the possible universities that Lara has chosen to visit for her journey after high school.   York St. John is a historical school that was established in 1841.  We also met with our new friends that we met on the Christmas/New Year cruise we were recently on.  They drove from their home in Scotland and shared this rental house with us for a couple of days.  We were given “Scotland” basket of treats and enjoyed several of them including Haggis and Bread pudding (best bread pudding with fish I have ever sampled – THANK YOU!!) As for the Haggis it wasn’t as unfriendly as I thought it would taste and we did enjoy it as part of our dinner one night.  Now the Whiskey was lovely as were the homemade treats Elaine made for us.

Together, we visited and climbed York Minister the lovely old cathedral.  David and Elaine shared their story of the last time they climbed to the top of the cathedral – she was pregnant with their son, Adam.  Now Adam joined the the journey:

 

We shared history of ourselves and family and friends.  We got to know our Scottish friends and we hope that they enjoyed getting to know their Canadian friends in the beautiful old city of York.