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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 26, 2009

Friday and Off to Greve

Friday started out as usual although I took my time finishing my packing and walking down for breakfast because there was a 7:something bus and a 9:something bus - neither of which appealed to me and then the next one wasn't until 12:08.  But finally it was time to bid farewell to my basically pathetic room in Florence and set my sights on Greve in Chianti.  By the way, ever since I came across it, I've pronounced Greve as grieve but have discovered it's pronounced Grev-a (short e sound, gently rolling r's), so I'm trying to say it like that and feeling kind of foolish, but if I say "grieve" people don't know what I'm talking about.

So I get myself down to the bus stop, go in and check again with the man that I'm in the right place and everything's as it should be, and go outside to wait.  There's another woman waiting and, hoping to be reassured, I ask my standard question "Inglese?" meaning do you speak English.  She said no, but then must have felt sorry for me cause she asked "Siena?" and I responded Grev-a and she said something that indicated to me I was in the right place so I indicated to her that I would follow her on.  So here came the bus and it was even about 8 or 10 minutes early, (do you sense a trauma developing?), she gets on, I get on and say timidly to the quite surly looking driver "Grev-a?" and he looks at me with a "god, I hate tourists" look, so I go sit down and off we go.  In a short while I hear the two ladies sitting next to me speaking English and so say something to them and we have a little conversation about where we're going.  They're going to Siena...I'm going to Grev-a.  We talk about that for awhile and are done.  At some point, I notice the sign thing they have on the front of buses and it says where they're going (it was visible inside too) and this one says Sienna Diretta via Pongibonssi which somehow doesn't sound too good.  After not too long we pull into Pongibossi and after a little more discussion we all decide that probably I need to get off and start over.  Which I do.  I go to a tourist information office that is just across the square, find out that I indeed managed to get on the wrong bus, buy a ticket back to Florence hoping to make it back in time to catch the 2:25 bus to Greve which she tells me will, strangely enough, say Greve on the front (duh!)  I DO make it back in time, I DO get on the bus, and by darn, I DO get to Greve!!!  So there - I feel like the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" sometimes.

I met a nice American couple on the Greve bus who were staying in Greve with people they knew.  I need to have some of you people move to foreign lands so I could come visit you!  Anyway, I called my landlady (Guiliana Grassini when I got there as she had instructed me, she came down to get me and we started up into the beautiful, beautiful hills of Chianti country.  In a very short while we are in Montefioralle and she brings me into this apartment, and it was love at first sight.  I had seen pictures on line and so was hopeful it would be all right, but then I had seen pictures of supposedly a room at my hotel in Florence too which turned out to not really tell the whole story.  But this apartment...my oh my.  And there was a bottle of wine waiting on the table, there were nice smelling bags of something in the wardrobe, there were pictures, pillows, little rugs - it was home!  And that's enough - here are pictures...

Entry way - step up into living area

 
Kitchen, eating area - baskets, little tablecloth...

 
Corner cabinet filled with full set of nicely patterned dishes
(a plain set is in kitchen cabinets)

 
Milady's dressing table and huge wardrobe

 
Believe it or not, the late afternoon view from the bedroom

 
And this is the view out the entryway window

So, about all I did after rejoicing, unpacking, having an incredible shower with no billowing shower curtain, and settling in was to wander through the tiny, twisting streets of this little jewel of a village.  My only reservation about Montefioralle would be that the traveler without a car is at a disadvantage - there is nothing in the village except for one restaurant and a bar.  If you wanted to set up housekeeping for a week or so and didn't have a car, it would be tricky getting groceries, etc. up here.  My landlady has said she'd be happy to bring me up the hill any time I feel like walking down, but I'd really hesitate to take advantage of that offer.  My only solution to that problem is for me to move here, buy a place with a couple spare bedrooms to rent out and open a little "essentials" market. But you all need to promise you'd give me your business!

Here are my wandering pictures, all either of the village streets or views from the streets. 





 

 





 



 

Buona sera...

15 comments:

Christopher said...

Wow oh wow... Now THAT is what I think of when I think of "Tuscan countryside"... Looks fantastic! So glad the bus ordeal didn't break your stride... You really will be capable of travelling anywhere you want after this trip---way to show this vacation who's boss! :)

Mary Lynne said...

In case any of you don't know, Chris, who has been a constant and steady supporter on this blog is my son. Ain't he a good one?

Marlene said...

Mary Lynne, I'm caught up with your blogs and looking forward to others. I'm impressed with how you roll with the daily traumas, and continue to enjoy your Italian life! Your photos in "Grev-a" would be an inspiration for creating a miniature setting. Maybe you will do one in the future! Marlene

Mary Lynne said...

Hi Marlene! Nice to hear from another Petitpointer! I've sure been thinking that my next trip, I will bring something to work on in the evenings - especially if I were to spend a longer time in the country rather than a city. But, either way, the evenings are long...

January said...

You're never coming home again, are you Mama? I can just tell that you've decided you're exactly where you want to be! It sure is beautiful and charming. Enjoy it! And keep telling us about it so we can enjoy it too.

Nancye said...

Mary Lynne, I think I have caught up with your posts now and have enjoyed all!! I totally agree with what Chris said.."Way to show this vacation who's boss!" The pictures of your tiny village are wonderful; am sure you are enjoying the walks, but if the evenings are long, it is a shame you don't have a bit of needlework with you. Enjoy....we are all enjoying with you.

Stephanie said...

Of course I would come bring my business to you! That is a given. Especially since you are in Italy. :)

Mary Lynne said...

Hi Stephanie! Wish I could bring some business to you - I'm missing my favorite haunts at home and you certainly know Starbucks is one of them! To my other readers, Stephanie is my favorite barrista of all the great barristas at my Starbucks.

Jamie said...

OMG! I am so jealous! The apartment looks so quaint and cozy. The views are incredible! I love, love, love it! I'm with Chris - this is what I would have envisioned for Tuscany. I'm so happy you are having a great time. You are coming home, right? I don't think I can take care of the orchids! I would think you would spend your long evenings organizing and writing your blogs. You should write a book of your adventures! Can't wait for the next episode!

Mary Lynne said...

Good grief, Jamie - I blather on so long on these blogs that it IS a book!

Heather said...

Okay, I L - O - V - E your apartment in Greve!!!!! I can't believe how quaint and perfect it is. You must have really felt whisked away to another world there. I really like the photos from your strolling too... you are one tough traveler mama - nothing has kept you down and you keep on tooling!

Mary Lynne said...

So, Heather, does that mean ou want to do a mother/daughter trip sometime - rent my little apartment and a car and tour Tuscany? It's a 2-bedroom apartment, even!

Heather said...

Wow - I have to say I think my favorite pictures so far are of your day touring Tuscan countryside and making pasta! That seems like it was much fun and I wish I had one of those terracotta pots they use before boiling. So will you now want a pasta maker for Xmas???

Please don't volunteer to clean the facade of the Duomo or we may never see you again! That could take a lifetime, but what beauty!

Love you.

Heather

Heather said...

I would love to do a mother/daughter trip sometime and stay there with a car! We could stop at every winery we find along the way - thats my idea of fun in the Tuscan countryside!

Mary Lynne said...

Heather - I'm confused - your comment about the cooking class on Tuesday was sent in for the Friday in Greve post, and you mention terra cotta pots for boiling - that would have been on the cooking class tour, but those are used to let the olive oil rest briefly before it is bottled.

Love,
Mama

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