Blog, what blog?…Whoops!

Wow, it’s a good thing I do not blog professionally. Life gets in the way and this definitely has been put on the back burner. I know most of you keep up with me on Facebook and Instagram, so I tend to forget about updating my blog. It’s so much simpler to upload photos and let those tell the story of my travels for me, or maybe I’m just lazy? (ha) Plus, as most of you know after losing Presley I sort of lost myself in the mix of emotions. Now I am happy to report I have a new fur baby, Sir Winston PAW, whom takes up many hours of my day with kisses and cuddles. I like to joke and say this is Gods way of preparing me for (one day) having a child. Sir Winston is like a toddler, a ball full of energy and constantly getting in to things! He definitely keeps me on my toes.

So, enough with the excuses and let’s catch up! After my last post, I headed back home for a trip Stateside (yes, again), and ended up spending 2 1/2 months there. Bobby had accumulated enough leave to take an entire month off, so we were able to enjoy our time with both families over the Holidays.

Unfortunately for Bobby and fortunately for me, he also had a TDY in Las Vegas following his leave, so my Mother and I decided to take a short trip to the resort town. This was the first time I have ever been on a trip (aside from the beach) with just my Mother, and it was a blast. I think we should make it a “girls” tradition and do it more often. Bobby was able to get away from work a few of the days we were there, but even when he wasn’t, we made our own way traveling through innumerable casinos and sipping on Fat Tuesdays Daiquiris, while walking down the infamous Las Vegas Boulevard. We re-lived her trip to Italy, wandering through the Venetian and pretended we were paparazzi as we visited the Pawn Stars, Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. We enjoyed the light show on Fremont Street and of course spent some time at the historical “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign taking pictures. While Las Vegas’ elaborate themed hotels and 24 hour casinos are enough to get anyone buzzing, my favorite part of our trip was sitting front row at the Jersey Boys Broadway show. Anyone that knows me well, knows I could spend hours sitting in front of a stage watching live Broadway performances, and this one by far is at the top of my list.

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On Bobby’s days off we drove over the Hoover Dam, and straddled State lines (Arizona and Nevada). We then made the drive through Arizona to see the sights of the Grand Canyon, and eventually ending our adventure in Flagstaff. While our time there was short, it was memorable.

To see pictures from our trip, click here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Las%20Vegas-%20Grand%20Canyon-%20Hoover%20Dam

I eventually said Goodbye to my family and made the trek back over the Atlantic Ocean, with my new ball of fur (Sir Winston) in tow. It was finally time to introduce him to the European way of life. He’s adjusted well, in fact, a little too well- I no longer need an alarm clock, as he wakes me up between 5 and 6 am every morning. I guess he is enjoying his Italian home as much as we do. When we first arrived back Bobby was still stuck in Vegas for several weeks, so we spent that time recouping and preparing for his return. Once he got back, it was full steam ahead for traveling. We spent Easter Weekend in Lugano Switzerland, eventually making our way back to Lake Como, Italy. This was Sir Winston’s first trip in Europe and he was amazing. There are many things I wish America would adapt from European culture, but the main one is their love for dogs. Winston was able to sit at the dinner table with us (yes in a real “table cloth and all” restaurant) as well as walk through stores with us, while we shopped. He proved himself to fit in well with our little traveling family.

Click here to see photos of our Easter weekend:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Facebook/Easter%20Weekend%20in%20Lugano%20Switzerland%20and%20Lake%20Com

Just a few short weeks later we made one last trip out of the Country, before Bobby had to leave for work again. We paired up with another couple and made our way to Austria. We spent time at Hoher Dachstein (an Austrian Mountain), where I made my way across the Dachstein suspension bridge and stepped down on to the “Stairway to Nothingness.” If you have never heard of either of those, the suspension bridge is 100-meter long bridge (the highest in Austria) with a 1,300 ft drop to the bottom of the mountains. The “Stairway to Nothingness” is a descent of 14 steps off of the end of the bridge, with a glass view bottom. Bobby is not much for heights, so he kept his heels planted firmly on the ground below.

Pictures from our trip can be seen in this album:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Facebook/Austria

Also during Bobby’s short stent back in Italy, we spent time doing the one thing Italians do best- WINE TASTING!!! Saturday’s are meant for traveling along Prosecco road sipping on refreshing vino, and munching on fresh Salami and various Cheeses.

Photos here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Facebook/Vino%20Vino%20and%20More%20VINO

While I hate Bobby has been gone for work, especially during prime travel season- I did not want to pass up the opportunity to see more of what Europe has to offer. So, two weeks ago I boarded a flight for Sicily, not knowing what I was getting myself into! Day one started off on the Western Side of the Island, in a town called Palermo. I had heard so many amazing things about this area, however upon arriving I was quiet shocked. If you’ve ever traveled through Southern Italy, you may notice the influx of trash (Talk to the Mafia about that, it’s beyond our control) thank goodness where we live (Northern Italy) it is a lot cleaner! I found nothing “beautiful” about this area, with the exception of the Coastline. We spent our first full day in Sicily at Plait Mare, a private beach club. Which to me, was the only nice thing about our time spent in the Palermo area. Once we were scorched from the sun and got a good nights rest (and by we, I mean my friend Jennifer and I) we made the 4 hour trek to the Eastern Side of Sicily in the Province of Catania. Here we spent the day hiking the craters at Mt. Etna. We had all intentions of taking the cableway up and hiking the Volcano, however down pours and hail storms stopped us in our tracks. After an amazing 3pm lunch (pizza and cannolis in Sicily are SO much better, if that is even possible) , we gave up on the weather and decided to check out the small town of Taormina. We were able to capture amazing views from the Ancient Amphitheater, and walk through the Old Town. Taormina was by far one of those most beautiful, quaint towns I have traveled through in Italy.

Our next stop was the town of Milazzo. We only spent one short evening here, as our main reason for stopping was to catch the 3 hour ferry the next morning to the island of Stromboli. Stromboli is an island off of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and is home to one of the three active volcanoes in Italy. It is a very small town, consisting of a population between 400-500, and there did not seem to be much to do. However, we had a goal for Stromboli. We were making the 7 hour (partially nighttime) hike UP that Volcano to see the lava spewing…and we did just that!! Yes, I can now say the most craziest thing I have ever done was not jumping out of a plane (twice) or riding the white water rapids in Slovenia, it was hiking an active volcano. This excursion was not only the most physically challenging thing I have ever accomplished, but also the most rewarding. To sit at the top of that Volcano and watch bursts of hot lava spew out of its top, was the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed. I know, I know, I’m crazy and Bobby should probably up my life insurance policy, but where is the fun in life if you can’t truly experience it!?!!

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We ended our time in Sicily back on the Western side of the Island. What more can you  possibly do after an epic hike up an active volcano you ask? You spend the day going down what has been named “one of the world’s craziest” water slides! Citta Del Mare is the largest resort in Sicily, overlooking the Gulf of Castellammare. Located on the side of a cliff, this ultimate slide takes you right down in to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Talk about an awesome way to end a trip!!

Pictures of my travels in Sicily can be found here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Facebook/Sicily

I may have said goodbye to Sicily, but I am just starting off my Summer adventures in Europe. Less than a week after being home, once again I made my way to Austria. This time myself and two girl friends loaded up the car and headed to Salzburg for a weekend of “The Sound of Music.” If you are a fan of the movie, you’d thoroughly enjoy this trip. We went to a dinner show dedicated to not only the Sound of Music but the Sounds of Salzburg! As well as a 4 hour tour around Salzburg and neighboring towns to see the history behind the film. It may have rained on us practically the entire time, but it was worth it. THE HILLS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC!!

I have yet to upload and edit those photos- once I do, I will post them!

I was suppose to be going on yet another adventure with Jennifer today. She had a road trip from Northern Italy to Southern Italy planned, however I’ve had to cancel on that adventure. As of now my next stop is Lake Bled, Slovenia and then on to a girls weekend in Malta! This time, I promise to keep you all posted!

xox

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Thanksgiving in Paris

Bonjour! We just spent our Thanksgiving holiday in Paris! ….But before I fill you in on all of those details, let me back up a little…

Here are the pictures as promised in the last post from our all day Wine Tasting in Italia two weeks ago

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Wine%20Tasting%20Event

One thing I really wanted to do while in Europe was to experience at least one of their infamous Christmas Markets, so the weekend before our Paris trip, we decided to make the drive to Salzburg, Austria for their “Christkindl Markt.” Even after two years of living in Europe, it still blows my mind that within a couple of hours of driving you can be in a completely different Country…Something else that still blows my mind, gas prices! Enjoy your under $3 a gallon (for those of you living “back home”) We put in 51 liters (13 gallons) of gas in the FJ while in Austria and paid 80 euro ($100)- making it $7.60 per gallon of gas… And that price has gone down DOWN since we first moved overseas! I have to keep telling myself, the experience and travel makes it all worth while- even if our wallets are becoming thinner and thinner!

The Christmas Market was everything that I expected it to be. It is one of the largest attractions during the Advent season, dating as far back as the 15th century. There are 95 exhibitors which include: food, crafts, toys, jewelry, and of course tons and tons of Christmas Ornaments! The market is spread out at the foot of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, sparkling with more Christmas lights than you can imagine. While we did not buy any gifts (big surprise, huh?) we did spend quite a bit of money on chocolate and banana “pretzels,” fried apple rings, and hot White Russians, among other goodies. Needless to say we practically had to roll ourselves back to the hotel room when the day was done.

You can see pictures from our Salzburg Adventure here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Salzburg%20Austria%20Christmas%20Market

Now… for the main reason I am blogging today… PARIS! Can I just say, I have a new obsession with the EIffel Tower. I have been wanting to go to Paris since I was 18- now, I can’t believe I’ve actually been! Our first day in France was on Thanksgiving day…so what do you do on Thanksgiving in Paris? You have dinner IN the Eiffel Tower, of course. Sure, dinner cost more than our plane tickets to get there, but it was worth it for the experience. We were greeted with a champagne toast, feasted on Lobster Bisque and Ox Cheek (It is better than it sounds) and ended our meal with two very scrumptious chocolate desserts. My feet were killing me from walking a ridiculous distance in 4″ heels, but seeing the lights on the tower- and actually getting to go up and walk around in it made the pain ease (for the moment at least). I probably took 100 pictures of the Tower during our 4 day stay…but no worries, I did not post all of them! The rest of our trip consisted of A  LOT of walking… to Notre Dame, to the Louvre, to Arc de Triomphe, through Tuileries Gardens, along the River, and of course down Champs Elysees Avenue. We also stumbled upon their Christmas Market, where we feasted on Macaroons, Hun Dogs, Pork Knuckle and Potatoes and of course Champagne. Aside from the Tower, I really enjoyed the Catacombs…I have to be honest, I did not know anything about this Ossuary prior to our trip. The easiest way to put it, is that it is a massive underground cemetery…. where all of the bones and skulls are layered up in plain view…no coffins for these remains. The Catacombs are 65 feet (130 steps) below street level, and consists of a mile long tunnel underground.. Built in the 18th Century, over 6 million Parisians remains were stacked after cemeteries began to run out of space. Due to improper burial techniques, leading to contamination and disease, the bodies were removed and placed in this quarry.

You can see pictures of the Catacombs, as well as the rest of our Paris trip here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Facebook/Thanksgiving%20in%20Paris

….Nothing like getting back, unpacking and repacking to head out again. See you Stateside!!!

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I think we are trying to see how many places we can visit before the end of the year!

Wow we’ve been traveling so much, I have flat out forgot about updating my blog. Is it really November already?…and half way through the month at that! Where did this year go?

Shortly after my last post, Bobby and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary in Pula Croatia. Pula is located at the Southern Tip of the Istria Peninsula, known for it’s winemaking, fishing and shipbuilding. We stayed in a 4 star resort, just steps away from the beach- where we enjoyed drinks by the pool and a couple’s massage in the resorts Wellness Spa. The food was delicious and the weather was amazing during our weekend anniversary getaway. At this rate I am curious to see where we end up on our 10th and 20th Anniversaries, each one tends to top the last!

Check out our anniversary pictures here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Anniversary%20in%20Croatia

Shortly after our return from Croatia I decided to fly back to the States for a little family time. I was missing Presley more than you could imagine and I knew the one thing I needed was a hug from our 208 pound Great Dane… yes, 208 POUNDS (she was weighed at the vet during my visit home). It was a short, last minute trip so I did not “visit” with many people other than family. It was much needed and I am beyond thankful for being able to take the military hop back and fourth for such needed trips.

Immediately after returning from the states, Bobby wanted to “leave the Country” for a little time off-  so what else do you do at the end of September/beginning of October when you are a 6 hour drive from Munich Germany?… You go to Oktoberfest, of course!!! Even though I don’t personally drink beer I was 100% up for the trip!! How many people can say they’ve been to the REAL Oktoberfest in Germany?…well now we can! Imagine the State Fair…. now add several more thousands of people to the crowd that are all drunk- and you have Oktoberfest! It was beer tent, after beer tent- and when I say “tent” it is not a big white tent like you see at Wedding Receptions, these were massive decorated buildings with people shoulder to shoulder inside, and lined up outside waiting to consume liters of German’s finest beers! They had food stands and rides… and A LOT of emergency personnel. I cannot tell you how many people we saw being carried off in stretchers due to the over consumption of alcohol. We stayed at a very nice Bed and Breakfast that was just a short train ride from all of the festivities… and boy can German’s “do” breakfast!! It was worth every penny of our stay!

Check out pictures from our Oktoberfest trip here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Facebook/Oktoberfest%202014

Not two weeks after being back from my Stateside trip (and just days after getting back from Germany) Mom and Grandma flew to Italy!! I had been counting down the days for months! We packed a lot in to their two and a half week stay. Verona, Trieste, Venice, Rome, Barcis, Florence, Pisa, Nove, Marostica, Veneto, Villach Austria, and several surrounding towns. These two were real troopers- I was worn out from all of the travel long before they were. I’m pretty sure Mom and Grandma drank more wine in those two and a half weeks, than they have in the last several years combined! We made trips to the market, local pastry shops and cafes. We had lunch in a Castle, ate our weight in Gelato, and trekked through the Roman Coliseum. Their time here was not long enough, I was trying to convince Mom to book another trip before she even left Italy!

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See all of the pictures from their trip here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Facebook/Mom%20%20Grandmas%20trip%20to%20Italia

Once I finally stopped pouting over the fact that they had left, Bobby and I began to start planning out the rest of our year. This past weekend we spent 12 hours on a Wine Tour. Can you imagine? Starting at 8:30 in the morning and ending at 8:30 at night. If you so dare chose to drink every wine (and grappa!) offered, by the end of the day you would have consumed 14 glasses of wine and 7 shots of grappa! Second were offered- so truthfully many people probably had more than that! Now if you’ve been to a wine tasting in Italy, you know the Italians are a little more grateful when it comes to the “tasting”- each one is equivalent to 1 glass of wine, so it’s not just a small sip! Needless to say we had some drunk folks on the bus at the end of the evening! Me personally, I like to enjoy what I am drinking (and eating!) so I paced myself and turned down a few of the tastings. After all, I wanted to remember my day! I have not yet uploaded those pictures to my computer, once I do I will post them to the blog.

Up next… Christmas Markets in Salzburg Austria, Dinner in Paris- IN the Eiffel Tower, and a trip back to the States to see Family for Christmas! Which we already have many many small trips planned during that time….Including VEGAS! This year has truly been a year of travel! Looking forward to what 2015 will bring.

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Ya gotta take the good with the bad, I guess

I’ve been putting off writing this blog post for a week and a half. Not because I don’t want to tell you about all of the wonderful things we saw in London, but because with that trip also came heartache. By now all of my readers should know that we received some devastating news not 24 hours into our England trip. While I still pushed to enjoy our time there and tried my best to smile and laugh, my heart was breaking at the thought of coming home to an empty house… no more pitter patter feet across our hardwood floors, no more hidden dog bones under covers, no more sounds of excitement when I walk through the door. 

It has been just over two weeks since my sweet Presley was called home, and I have yet to start feeling a sense of peace. When something is a constant in your life for so long, it’s hard to not dwell. I find myself tuning people out as they talk, because my mind is wandering to him. I’ll pick up my phone to respond to a message and instead click on my photo albums to see him. I’m just not ready to accept the reality of it. Presley was the epitome of this quote ” My dog does this amazing thing where he just exists and makes my whole life better because of it.” For now I guess I’ll be waiting on time to heal the wounds. 

Aside from the black cloud of his passing hanging over us, we experienced some really great things in England… and a lot of rain! London was the top destination on Bobby’s list of places to see while we are residing in Italy; mine being Paris (side note: hoping for a trip during the Thanksgiving holiday!) Once we landed and made the trek into the city of London our first stop was none other than… a PUB! We all know I am not one for beer, and I have taken a liking to the beverages of choice here in Italy so while Bobby was enjoying his first pint of authentic English Ale, I found myself sipping on a Spritz Aperol. It seemed that every pub we went in, Bobby of course ordered something English while I ordered something Italian (including Prosecco!) Our first day we became aquatinted with the East End neighborhood we’d be staying in, and still managed to do a little tourist sightseeing as well. We saw the Tower Bridge, and Tower of London..and talk about great timing. Ceramic artist Paul Cummins has created 888,246 ceramic poppies that will progressively fill the Tower’s moat throughout this summer, ending on November 11. This piece of work is titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red,” marking 100 years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in WWI. Seeing these poppies cascade from the side of the tower, and throughout the moat, was the most beautiful sight. The poppies are also for sale, with funds going to 6 different service charities. Even though the intentions of this was to represent the British fatalities during the war, I found myself having another reason for wanting a poppy of my own. The poppy is a symbol of sleep, peace and death… Well, we were at the Tower on Presley’s last day on earth- so I have purchased a “Poppy for Presley” and will receive it when the installation is complete in November. 

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Day one ended with dinner of Bobby’s choice… bet you’ll never guess what we had… CHIPOTLE! Poor guy has been excited about having a burrito since before we even booked the trip! I think he needs some stateside time. 

We started our second day bright and early with London’s East End 4 hour walking food tour. I highly recommend this tour if you ever find yourself in London. Not only was our guide Hanna very knowledgeable, she was also theatrical and made the entire tour entertaining. We were able to experience some of London’s acclaimed best kept secrets, with 8 authentic tastings. This included the most amazing (and I mean it, we went back for seconds 3 days later) Old Spot Bacon Sandwich, Fish and Chips, a variety of English cheeses, Bread pudding, Ale and Cider at a local pub, a salted beef bagel, 3 different curries, traditional English tea and a salted caramel tart. My mouth is watering just thinking about it all! Did you know that some of the Nation’s finest Curry restaurants are in London, England? We surely didn’t, but now we know why! We spent the second half of our day enjoying the sights at Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street, Oxford Street, Covent Garden. 

Day three started with a quick pit stop at Krispy Kreme, unfortunately it was only a kiosk so we didn’t get the real deal “melt in your mouth” donuts, but it was still delicious! We were able to see St. Paul’s cathedral, House of Parliament, Big Ben, and Wesminster Abbey before the sky fell out and we had to run for cover. Later in the day we enjoyed one of London’s newer attractions called “The London Dungeon.” This attraction is a walkthrough experience with a cast of theatrical actors and actresses set throughout several stages, scenes and rides. Each interactive show tells stories of the history of London, including Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper. At the end, you buckle in for the Drop Ride to Doom…we won’t talk about my dress flying up when they snapped the picture of us dropping down! 

Day four was long, and exhausting but well worth it! We Started the morning with a tour of the Queen’s “favorite” home (or so we were told) Windsor Castle. While it was beautiful, I was mostly entertained by one of the guards. He was very obviously getting annoyed by several tourists that were huddling up against him to take photographs. Needless to say by his reactions, Bobby and I chose to snap a picture from afar! After Windsor Castle we took a 2 hour bus ride to the city of Bath, where we had a panoramic view of the hot springs and Roman Baths. We only had a short time allotted for our trip to Bath; although I’d love to go back- the town was absolutely stunning. Our trip ended with yet another 2 hour drive to Wiltshire England, where the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge is located. This monument was believed to be built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC , and consists of a ring of these massive standing stones set within the earths surface. This monument is literally out in the middle of no where, and to this day it cannot be explained as to how or why the stones were set there. One of our favorite meals was on our fourth night. We stopped at a local pub for Bangers and Mash, and Cottage Pie… for everyone that says English food in bland, you were just eating at the wrong places! 

Our last full day in London also happened to be my birthday… Last one in my twenties..sigh! The day started off a bit rocky, as I got my brand new maxi skirt caught in the tube station’s escalator.. yep, I managed to do that! I’m still mad about ruining that skirt! Once we got past that hurdle we made our way over to the world’s famous department store, Harrods! I’ll just say it now, I could live in there!! The store takes over a 5 acre piece of land and is over one million square feet! It has over 300 departments and consists of 5 stories! The price tags where hefty (Bobby picked up a scarf for over 300 pounds) but the store was magnificent. They had a steakhouse, Asian restaurant, and Oyster bar among other eateries inside. You went from room to room filled with truffles, fruits, sandwiches..oh the list goes on. I was more in awe of the “grocery” area than anything. But don’t go into Harrods looking like a hot mess, you can and will be turned away! Bobby said he had to get me out of there before I lost all control! After experiencing my very own Heaven on Earth, we made a pit stop for a little Birthday Lunch…how does Champagne and Gourmet Hot dogs sound? Oh yes, it is possible! Welcome to Bubbledogs “A champagne bar that does not serve Caviar” instead…HOT DOGS! I had the Philly Cheez which consisted of sauteed onions, mushrooms, and peppers with a layer of cheese sauce- Bobby had the New Yorker, grilled sauerkraut and caramelized onions, he also added chili. I could not have asked for a better Birthday lunch!

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Once our bellies were full, we made our way to the infamous London Eye. Now, if you know Bobby- he hates heights (and flying… ironic for someone in the Air Force!) I asked him several times before booking our tickets if he was sure he wanted to do it and each time he told me yes…. However, he had a different story when we physically got IN the London Eye! Thank goodness for the bench in the middle..where he sat for a good 27 minutes out of the 30 we were in there!! I myself enjoyed the 4D experience and 360* panoramic views. We also toured Buckingham Palace and went to the mall (what, you don’t go all the way to London and not go for a little mall shopping??!!!) 

Overall it was a nice trip. We did have to invest in umbrellas half way through because we were tired of getting soaked..but it was well worth it. Next up, we will be celebrating our third wedding anniversary in Croatia- followed by my Mother and Grandmother coming to visit!!! We have Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice and Austria on our “to do” list, among other things.

 

Click here to see all of our London photos: 

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/London-Windsor-Bath%20and%20Stonehenge

 

Ciao Ciao 

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Oh, the places you’ll go…

ne·glect
niˈglekt
verb
1. fail to care for properly.
noun
1. the state of fact of being uncared for.

Which is exactly what I have been doing to this blog…neglecting it! You know the saying “life just gets in the way” – well, let me just use that as an excuse! We have been so busy these past few months, I have not even thought about sitting down to play catch up with my readers.

Shortly after my last post, Bobby’s Mother, Marsha and his Aunt, Sheila arrived in Italy and stayed with us two and a half weeks! While I am sure they were sad to leave this beautiful Country, I am positive they were grateful to get a break from my non-stop travel itinerary. Aside from the usual day to day hustle and bustle where we live, we managed to venture to Pisa, Florence, Venice, Treiste, Verona, Milan, Nove, and even Slovenia, during their stay. We road a Gondola along the Venetian Canals, shopped for hand painted Ceramics, traveled through caves 377 feet below ground, viewed the infamous Last Supper Painting by Leonardo da Vinci, toured a Renaissance castle that was built within the side of a cave, and walked through a Roman Amphitheater build in AD 30. Not bad for such a short stay, huh? We filled our bellies with Italian pastries, tasted countless wines, sipped on grande cappuccinos, and even managed to get the both of them hooked on Turkish Doner Kebabs. Overall I’d say it was a great trip!

Here are several albums with pictures from their trip:

Verona and Milan- http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Verona%20and%20Milan

Slovenia- http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Slovenia

Treiste- http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Trieste

Pisa- http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Pisa

Venice- http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Overflow%20of%20Venice

Florence- http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Florence

Barcis- http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Barcis

and a few other randoms- http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Italia%202014

June was less about travel and more about social events close to home. We attended several birthday parties, went on a couple of beach trips, and broke the bank at the Spring Bazaar on base! While more low key, we enjoyed each and every day.

The month of July has been full of weekend adventures. Shortly after Bobby’s Mom and Aunt left, we made the drive down towards Bologna with two of our dear friends (Kory and Bree) for Kory’s Birthday. Bobby and Kory were both given the ultimate Ferrari experience in Maranello Italy; where they each drove a Ferrari F430 and a Formula 1 simulator. We were also able to tour the Ferrari Museum.

Click here for pictures:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Ferrari

We also spent the following weekend with Kory and Bree in Ravenna Italy, where we channeled our inner kid at Mirabilandia Amusement Park. We accelerated from
0 to 100km/h in 2.2 seconds on the infamous iSpeed and braved the Katun, which is the number 1 inverted roller coaster in Europe, traveling at 110 km/h for 1,200 meters with 360* loops.

Our adventures did not stop there…the next weekend we boarded a 15 passenger van with several of our closest friends and headed to Slovenia for a day of White Water Rafting on the Soca River. We trekked along class 3+rapids in Western Slovenia, stopping mid day in Slovenia’s highlands for a hike that ended with us experiencing the cool mist of a scenic waterfall. Bobby and I both agreed it would not be our last time white water rafting, we look forward to future trips!

Bobby’s Go Pro was not working properly when we got to Slovenia so unfortunately we do not have pictures while on the raft, however we have a few of the hike in my Slovenia Album:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Slovenia

This past weekend Bobby and I learned of a hidden gem just a mere 20 minutes from our house. It is called Grotta Del Caglieron. I have never been on such a beautiful hike. You venture in and out of caves, there are runs that suspend over the falls and several waterfalls along the way. At the end of your walk, the area opens up near an old mill that is now a restaurant. We didn’t stop for lunch this particular day, however I have going back on my “to do” list and lunch is a must!

For pictures of the Grotta click here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Grotta%20Del%20Caglieron

Now here we are moving into August and our traveling hasn’t come to an end! In just a few short weeks we will be boarding a plane headed for London!! I am beyond excited to eat my weight in Fish and Chips, along with other traditional English fare. We are also counting down the days until my Mom and Grandma make the 4,544 mile trip here!! We have plans to go to Rome for the first time, among many other exciting places!

2014 may have started off a little rough with Bobby constantly being sent to other Countries for work, but it has quickly turned into a nonstop traveling adventure with no end in sight! We are looking forward to seeing what else the future has in store for us!

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A degree in Gelato, who knew?

As a military spouse in Italy, job opportunities are a rare occurrence. While we are here on visas, they are not for work. Therefore, we are limited to base available jobs; which tend to fall into the hands of more Italians than Americans. So, one question I’ve asked myself many times since moving here has been “what can I do to make my resume look good for the next three years?” I’m sure my future employer would not be impressed by “Winery hopping and sight seeing in Italy.” Although it sounds like the best job in the world to me!

With that being said, these past few months I’ve began dabbling in a few things here and there. I’ve started volunteering once a week at the Aviano Air Base Thrift Store. I’m sure you’re saying “really Tiff, once a week is all?” but, in my defense it’s only open two days out of the week! Also, regardless of lack of experience I am now the Secretary of Girl Scouts for the Overseas Committee Management Team,  Grandma, are you proud? Maybe you can teach me a thing or two. I also recently have become a hospitality co-chair, working alongside my wonderful friend Tresca, for the Aviano Community of Enlisted Spouses; also known as ACES. ACES is a non-profit private organization promoted to community relations, support and social interaction. In other words, “Spouses helping Spouses.” 

This past Saturday I attended my first “Community Trip.” About 20 of us boarded a bus bright and early and headed 2 hours South for Bologna. Our first stop was Gelato University. Founded by ice cream machine maker, Carpigiani in 2003, the University offers over 500 courses, available for beginners and experts. These courses teach anything from how to make the Gelato, to how to start up a business plan. We started with an interactive tour that highlights the evolution of Gelato, followed by an Instructor from the University teaching us how to turn fresh fruit into gelato that can be made at home. Ending with of course a tasting of several different gelato flavors. I just had to try the cheesecake and snickers! I definitely want to go back to the University and take other day courses (some last weeks, even months) that are more hands on. 

Afterwards, we ventured into the heart of the city. Bologna is known for its culinary arts. For lunch, I had the world renowned Tagliatelle al ragu, a traditional type of flat ribbon pasta with (Bolognese) meat sauce. We also went to the Piazza Maggiore, where we saw the San Petronio Basilica and the City Hall. A little fact, the San Petronio Basilica is one of the world’s largest churches. As well as the Due Torri, “Two Towers” both of which lean dramatically. 

One afternoon in the city was not enough, the streets are filled with a shopping lovers dream. This will not be the last time I visit Bologna- Hopefully Bobby will get to go on the next trip! 

Here are my pictures from the trip:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Bologna

Bobby’s Mother and Aunt will be here in two weeks, and we have a full itinerary. Check back for more updates and pictures! 

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All of the colors of the rainbow…and then some!

Man, I am getting really bad with these blog updates. Readers, don’t loose hope with me just yet- in my defense I did spend roughly 3 weeks in the States last month and with Bobby being gone (yep, this time Poland), I haven’t been venturing out as much. It’s finally beginning to warm up here in Northern Italy and I dare say, the rain hasn’t come around nearly as much as this time last year. The vineyards are starting to bloom and poppy fields are “popping” up all over the place. I even bought a hammock for the yard… Presley seems to love it as much as I do! 

I’ve been keeping myself busy during Bobby’s absence by re-vamping the house. It has only taken me a year to fill our flower boxes on the balcony! I also got crafty this weekend (Pinterest is the best website ever created) by changing up our coffee table- it is now stained on the top and painted a distressed red on the bottom. I even found time to give our guest bedroom a little face lift…just in time for Bobby’s Mother and Aunt to visit! I created a floating headboard by staining cut 2×6’s and attaching them to the wall, I painted lettering for a center piece above the new headboard and even attached shelves to the corner wall as a make shift side table. 

Here is the before and after, what do you think?

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As most of you know Bobby was sent on an unplanned TDY while I was stateside. We are hoping for his return home within the next month. 2014 has started off with him being gone more than he has been home, and the next few months are looking to continue this fad. 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit two islands in the Venetian Lagoon: Murano and Burano. I am beyond thankful that I took this trip before attempting to travel with family in tow. It is roughly an hour Vaporetto (Water Taxi) ride back to Venice from Burano. Easy enough, right? Not so much, I can’t even begin to describe how hectic these Vaporettos can be. They cram as many people as possible in a confined space, I am talking shoulder to shoulder, front to back…For those of you who are tall, be thankful, short folks like me get a beating in these situations. With the 24 hour operation and 19 different Taxi lines, these guys are on a tight come and go schedule. You must be quick to get on, and pray you are not last in the bunch because when the driver is ready, the boat will pull off from the Water Bus Station (similar to a dock) without pausing. I have seen these Vaporettos begin to pull away while people are in mid step getting on and off the boat. 

We began our day in Murano. Murano is actually a series of islands that are linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon. These particular islands are known for glass blowing. As soon as you step off of the Water Taxi you become overwhelmed with endless storefronts full of chandeliers, beads, drink ware, the list goes on, all of which are glass that has been blown right there in these large warehouses. If you are looking for a unique (and fragile) piece, Murano is your go-to place. I felt the atmosphere was much like Venice, with a few colorful buildings here and there. However, if you are looking for bright, Burano is the spot. I’ll admit, I was reluctant to even travel to Burano, as it is known for its lacework, which really isn’t my cup of tea…boy was I wrong. I could have roamed these bright colored water channels all day. There was store after store full of lace dresses, lace handkerchiefs, doilies, table runners, I can’t even name it all. We had lunch in an adorable Trattoria called Al Raspo de Ua, where I had some of the most amazing broiled Sea Bass. While over the years both of these islands have become tourist attractions, there is not a lot to see or do in comparison to other places. Personally, the view makes the trip worthwhile. Hands down, it has been one of my favorite places for pictures. 

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To see more pictures from my trip to Murano and Burano click here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Murano%20and%20Burano

In order to get to and from the train station you have to get on and off of these taxis in Venice- I seized the opportunity to get in a few more pictures. 

Click here for more Venice pictures:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Overflow%20of%20Venice

Until next time..Ciao! 

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