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we walked 20 km from Florence to Impruneta
VolPaia, Friday 16 September early morning sunny
The scenery changed somewhat from that between Florence and Impruneta. We saw lots of pine forests and no fig trees. In Strada we bought lunch at an alimentaria. They had the crustiest whole grain bread. T bought some tunafish to make a sandwich. I asked the woman to cut my bread in half and then she put peccorino di San Giomani and the most gorgeous green coloured pesto on it. P had prociutto and peccorino. Then on to a frutteria(?) for some pears. We continued walking and shortly after saw all the shops closing for siesta. Whoosh! Lunch bought just in time! The road became quite busy because everyone was going home for lunch. Just before reaching Giobbole, we stopped for lunch by the side of the road. We went into an olive grove and sat looking down into the valley at a huge wine estate. T's fish was v good as was P's prociutto and cheese. My sandwich was simply fabulous. (a sandwich by which all subsequent sandwiches are measured; none have surpassed that sandwich) The pesto, that had so much basil and clearly the most wonderful golden olive oil, had oozed into the bread but not so much that it made the bread mushy. It was... well, what can I say? All words are inadequate to describe that sandwich! The pears were exquisite and it was with a little reluctance that we got up from that shady spot beneath the olives.
However, sated, we continued on. About 2 km south of Strada, P pointed out grapes trained up a tree, saying it was Etruscan style. They twined up making the tree look like a grape tree! It was covered in big clumps of frosty blue grapes. In Giobolle saw a small church covered in ivy and surrounded by topiary hedges shaped like ostrich and armadillo. Across the road and in the distance, there was a field checkerboard planted with olives and grapes. And from then on to Greve we encountered many big wine estates.
A fellow wearing a grey fidora, long sleeved undershirt and vest was picking little red berries that he called Giugiole. We tried one - strange and slightly wild tasting; we couldn't tell what it is in English.
We arrived in Greve about 4:00. It is very touristy. I bought some postcards and wrote postcards as we waited in the square for J and G. We also waited for 3/4 hour at a crowded barbershop so T could have a shave but we had to leave. I was going to have my hair washed at the hair salon down the street but the same thing - it would have taken too long. While we were waiting, T went into a butcher's shop and asked where we should eat dinner, asking for a not so touristy place that had regional food and that she would go if she went out. The woman there directed us to a place that is about 8 km out of Greve..
When J and G arrived at 7:10 (ten minutes after our planned meeting time - NOT BAD!) we walkers changed our clothes in the car and off we went up a narrow mountain road. We weren't sure how far and when there was an opportunity to stop and ask a van, T did. He felt strange saying to someone, "Parla Italiano?" because if they did, he knew he wasn't dealing with a tourist. We were still on the right track.
And the butcher lady didn't steer us incorrectly. We had the most fantastic dinner! T and I tried only speaking Italian even though the waiter spoke English. He was kind to speak Italian back to us.
When the waiter was describing desserts, he asked T(!) for the English translation for uva secca. (We looked it up in our dictionaries afterward - raisins) We were so impressed that he thought T lived in Italy and that's why his Italian was so good!! (Not bad for someone who spoke no Italian 6 months previously!)
After a lot of discussion with the waiters about our route to Vol Paia, we headed out - up and down a very narrow sometimes unpaved road for about 10 km. We arrived here to our palatial apartment. It is now 8:45 am. Coffee has just been delivered to me by P and T is badgering me to come out into the gorgeous kitchen to start our day. This is too much happiness!
Italy 1994 . travel index