GLOCCOVNAA is an abbreviation for 'Great Life of Conflict, Climax or Virtually Nothing At All'. That was the long and ridiculous name I came out for my blog when I was 18 years old. Do click on the colourful icons on the right to check out different types of posts in this blog.

10 October, 2012

Summer Holiday in Italy #3

If you know me well, you should know that I try my best not to consume alcohol. So going to a village known for growing and brewing the finest wine in the world may sound ridiculous. Wine may not attract me, but beautiful vineyards and sweet grapes are definitely my cup of tea.

One of the many Chianti wine districts.
We took a bus from Florence immediately after breakfast to a village 31km away called Greve. The bus ride was very bumpy and passes many vast fields of olive plants and vineyards. After visiting so many popular tourist locations, we finally settled in a peaceful village where their tourism industry is still in its infancy stages. Along the bus ride, we also noticed numerous travellers in full bicycle gear roaming through the narrow streets to enjoy the fresh air with the sweet scent of grapes breezing pass. We decided to rent bicycles as well for a round trip.
There were many wine tasting centres, but not everyone are free.
We got a map and some recommendations from the tourist information centre before heading out to a wine tasting centre just a few steps away from there. This centre had a vast range of wine at an old wine store. There are many round counters surrounded by 15-20 bottles of Chianti hooked into individual dispensers. With just €1-2, wine enthusiasts can get a small sample before deciding to buy their favourite bottle. We spent some time admiring a sample of wine history and continued our journey to the neighboring village. Along the way, we had to cycle in single file to avoid traffic. I was guiding the convoy at the front for a while before looking behind to find half of our convoy stopping at a vineyard taking photos. This vineyard was one of the few easily accessible from the road and is the first time I get to see grapes growing from a tree at close proximity. Many of my friends even took a few nibbles on the sugary sweet grapes... OOPS!!!
Little black wonders of nature cultivated only for one purpose.
On the way to our next destination, one of the bicycles in our convoy broke down. So we had to return back to Greve to return the bicycle and have lunch. Our convoy was divided into 3-4 groups (I don't really remember now), one group had lunch at a restaurant, one group had gelato, one group continued to cycle around town and I hiked up a small hill to get a better view of the fields. I read about a nice lookout point from the map showing a small village named Montefioralle which was just roughly a mile away from Greve which was rated as the most beautiful village in Italy. It took me 20 minutes to reach the village and I wasn't disappointed at all. The map boasted that this village doesn't have a single car, so the air there is almost totally unpolluted.
Continue to see rows of grape plants all over.
Awesome view from the top of a slope near Montefioralle.
It was definitely a long, hot and lonely journey to and from Montefioralle.
After returning to Greve, I met up with the rest of the group and took the bus returning to Florence. Everyone was exhausted that day. The guys planned to catch a football match at a pub near the hostel (AC Milan vs Barcelona) while the girls had dinner and rested at the hostel. The next day we had to travel to Isola de Capri. The journey includes a 5+ hour train to Naples, travelling to Mollo Beverello jetty and another 40 minutes ride on a hydrofoil to Marina Grande, Capri.
Marina Grande looks really beautiful
Planning for the Capri part of the trip was quite chaotic. When we arrived at Naples station, the planner didn't find the way to get on a boat to Capri! I was so surprised by the question "Where is the water?" when we were at the train station asked by the organizer. I remembered that I read about the hydrofoil ride starting from several jetties, the largest was Mollo Beverello, and I went to a convenience store to ask for directions. After several bumps and guidance from police officers and bus conductors, we were on our way to Marina Grande.
Taxis at Capri all had open tops, first time seeing this but no money to get a ride in it,
The frustration didn't end there. The hotel that we were staying in wasn't in Capri town itself but in the other side of the island known as Anacapri, which was another 20 minute bus ride from Marina Grande. Buses between Anacapri and the port is not frequent in the evening and we had to wait for more than an hour since we missed a bus (too many people, too infrequent). The planner only booked 9 beds for 11 of us since the hotel rates were astronomical there, this means that 2 of us had to avoid getting caught by the owner while sneaking in and out. (Bloody stingy Asians... lol!!!)
Mussles and clams on the stone-baked pizza.
We had one of the best pizza dinners in Italy that night thanks to recommendation from Tripadvisor. The restaurant Trattoria il Solitario served pizza that was baked using special wood oven. Besides that, their pizza was also served with some seafood from the port. The atmosphere there was also nice because the tables were all arranged in a garden of local flowers.

More of Capri Island in the next post... To be continued


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