Where has the time gone?

One year ago today Bobby and I boarded a plane destined for Northern Italy, not knowing what was in store for us… In 365 days I have established lifelong friendships, traveled through a handful of countries (including Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria), and eaten some of the most amazing foods in the world. I have broadened my wine palate and no longer look like the “typical American” who orders Moscato, a desert wine, WITH my meal (although it is still my favorite wine), and have learned which appliances can be on at the same time in our European home without the main breaker tripping! I have tried gelato ranging from Tiramisu to lemon, and had countless bowls of pasta. I now crave Melon WITH prosciutto on top, and feel it is a necessity to have oil and vinegar with my dinner bread.  

While I am still not where I want to be with narrowing the language barrier, I am still learning new words and phrases on a daily basis and hope that by the end of our tour here I can fluently speak the language. 

We have traveled most of the main points in Northern Italy, and this year plan to work our way further down South. Our main trip here in the next few months will be to Rome, which we are both looking forward to. We are also planning to venture out of the Country some more and have our sights on London, England and Paris, France. 

Presley has also become quite the world traveler; we take him as many places as possible. Thankfully Italy is one Country that treats their dogs as good as their children. I’d give anything to have Baleigh Skye here with us, but I am not so sure how they’d react to a 200 pound Great Dane sitting at the dinner table in a restaurant, in comparison to a 5 pound Chihuahua! 

Unfortunately Bobby is still in Portugal, so to celebrate our one year “Italy Anniversary” I acted in true Italian fashion…I met up with my girl friends at the winery and knocked back a few glasses before noon! I love how you can walk in anywhere, anytime, and people have wine glasses in their hands, no judgement! 

Life in Europe is definitely an adjustment, but I feel truly blessed that we were given this opportunity. How many people can get out of bed in the morning and say “Hey, lets take the train to Venice for lunch today!”…WE CAN!

I’m looking forward to what the next two years has in store for us….!! More family and friends visiting??…HINT HINT!!! 

xox

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Guten Tag!

We just spent the last 5 days traveling through Southern Germany, with most of our time spent in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Munchen (Munich) and Schwangau. It amazes me that in a 4.5 hour drive we were in 3 different Countries; Italy, Austria and Germany. We stayed at the Edelweiss Resort, which is a military resort located in the Bavarian Alps. Talk about breath taking! The 5 day weather forecast called for snow, snow and more snow- and while it did snow in the mountains, the base of the Alps did not see any of that fluffy white powder until the day we were leaving (Bummer).

Our two good friends Bree and Kory came along with us on our German Adventure. The first day we arrived in Garmisch we were suppose to take a 4.5 hour tour through the Partnach Gorge, unfortunately due to unseasonably “warm” weather (If you call 40 degrees warm) the Gorge was closed, so we pretty much just relaxed and learned our way around the resort.  The second morning we were suppose to take a guided tour through Munich city which is approximately 54 miles from Garmsich; the resort tour was cancelled due to lack of people signing up so we decided to brave it on our own. We hopped a train and headed for the Munchen Hauptbahnhof (Munich Train Station), quickly realizing, we needed a plan! With no cell service and no internet what does one do?…. we buy a paper map and hope we can follow it! It was cold and raining the entire day but well worth the trip. We went to the city center (Marienplatz) where we saw the gothic style, Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), which also contains the Rathaus Glockenspiel. Every day at 11 am, 12pm and 5pm the Glockenspiel chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 18th century. The top half tells the story of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm, while the bottom half reenacts the Coopers’ dance.  It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. This “show” lasts approximately 15 minutes and is a huge tourist attraction.

We also climbed the Alter Peter, which is part of St. Peter’s Church. It reaches a height of 298 feet and consists of 299 steps. This made the entire trip in the rain worthwhile. We enjoyed a panoramic view of the Alps which extends more than 62 miles on a clear day.

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Among other sites that day was:

*The Viktualienmarkt, which is the daily food market in the square of Munich. It covers 240,000 square feet and has over 140 stalls and shops, which contain liquors, meats, fruits, spices, and more.

*The BMW Welt, (BMW World) which is a exhibition facility for BMW. We were able to see Rolls Royce, Mini Cooper and BMW Cars/Motorcycles including concept cars.

*The BMW Museum

*The Frauenkirche, a church in the city that serves as the cathedral of the Archdioceses of Munich.

..and many more!

We stopped for lunch at an Authentic German restaurant where we feasted on Cabbage Soup, Pretzels, Roast Pork and Wurstel. Of course this is where Bobby experienced his first German beer IN Germany (I’m still not a fan).

It was late when we arrived back at the resort so we decided to treat our self to some good ‘ol American style pizza… at…. Drum Roll, please…. Pizza Hut! Oh yes, it’s the little things that we miss from the states, which include cheesy crust supreme pizza! You laugh now, but when you live overseas it’s a treat to get this kind of stuff. Luckily, Germany had a lot more American fast food establishments than Italy. Here we are limited to McDonald’s and Burger King, which are few and far between.  Germany had McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut, and KFC.

Wednesday was pretty laid back for me. Bobby, Kory and Bree wanted to spend the day skiing…and well, if you would have seen me last year when I hit the slopes with Bobby, you’d agree that I am NOT a snow bunny! So while they were skiing, I spent the day at the resort spa! I’m not complaining!!

On our last full day in Germany, we got up bright and early and hopped on a tour bus with the resort. We passed through the Bavarian countryside and stopped off in Steingaden. Here we were able to go in the Weiskirche, a beautiful pilgrimage church. We also took a break in a small cafe adjacent to the church and had fresh (made in front of you) doughnuts. The highlight of the tour was our trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle, in Schwangau Germany. This castle is a nineteenth century Romanesque Revival palace, built for King Ludwig ll. To reach the castle we had to walk uphill for 40 minutes, and once inside we had over 300 steps to climb throughout the open parts of the castle. A little fun fact, this particular castle was inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle. After our tour of the castle we stopped off for lunch at a German Brewery. I think I have had enough schnitzel and dumplings to last me a while!

Friday we made the drive home in the snow. Bobby and I agree, we absolutely loved Germany and hope to go back. While we packed in as much as we could during our short stay, there is still so much left to see.

This was also my first time in 10 years that I have left Presley with someone other than my parents. I am happy to report he did wonderful- I guess I am just an over protective doggy mom!

On another note, for those of you whom we are always trying to explain just how expensive Europe is… here is a little tidbit to put it in to perspective.. The base gives us NATO Coupons for gas here in Italy, which makes the price of gas fairly close to half of the economy price. This is great when you are traveling around Italy. Unfortunately on our way back home Friday we had to stop for gas in Austria, or we’d be stranded! We decided to just put enough to get us across the border in to Italy, where we can use our Nato coupons. Bobby put 15 liters in my FJ, which is approximately 4 gallons of gas. This cost us 23,30 euro which is roughly $32.00. That makes it $8.00 a gallon for gas! If we had to fill up my tank, it would have cost us $128 for ONE tank of gas in the FJ, and the FJ only holds about 16 gallons! Even with the coupons we are still paying just over $4 a gallon for gas…I will NEVER complain in the states again!!

All in all, we’ve had a wonderful start to the New Year! Bobby has an upcoming TDY to Portugal, and shortly after he gets back I will once again be traveling stateside to visit family and friends. We already have so much going on this year…I love having a reason to countdown!!

To view our pictures from Germany, click here:

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

xox

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Buon Anno Friends and Family

New Year, New Me? Not so much…this year I decided not to make a New Years resolution, who really sticks to those things anyways? Bobby said two years ago he was going to quit smoking, I don’t think he ever even made an attempt! In 2014 I only HOPE to travel as much as our time (and money) allows, and thoroughly enjoy life to it’s fullest. I am already blessed with a beautiful family, wonderful friends and another day…

2013 was full of exciting new experiences. We moved to another county, celebrated 2 years of marriage, traveled to Venice, Pisa, Florence, Croatia, Cinque Terre, and many more! I saw things I thought I’d only see in text books and ate food I never knew existed. Made new friendships, began to learn a new language (its a slow process, but I’m working on it!) and started calling Italy “home.” 

While the Holidays weren’t spent in our traditional fashion, we made the most of it. For Thanksgiving we attended a potluck dinner with about 25 adults and 10 or so children, it was a loud mad house but fun nonetheless. We played games, the kids made crafts and by the end of the day our bellies and hearts were full. For Christmas we had another couple over and I made enough hors d’oeuvres for the 4 of us, to feed Bobby’s entire Squadron! We played games, drank lots of Italian Wine and enjoyed one another’s company. On Christmas day we were invited over to a friends house for a potluck lunch but decided not to go due to wanting to make Christmas feel somewhat normal. We Skyped with family and managed to open every single gift on the webcam with mine. Of course I wish more than anything that we could have been there in person, but I am grateful that we were able to use technology to at least feel like we were part of something. 

Our first adventure of 2014 is coming up in just a few short weeks. We will be heading off to Germany. This will be my first time in 10 years that I allow someone else (besides my Mom!) to watch Presley. I have come to the conclusion I cannot have kids because I will never be able to leave them with someone. Bobby laughed at me as I weighed out the pros and cons of those I trust to watch my precious fur baby. So far he has been able to travel with us, unfortunately this time we are staying at a Resort that does not allow pets. (We aren’t in Italy anymore, where dogs are welcomed EVERY WHERE) We have several tours booked as well as a Ski/Spa day planned. Bobby will be skiing (I proved last January that I am in no way a snow bunny) while I get pampered at the resort spa! Hopefully by my next post I’ll be able to tell you all about Munich City, the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Partnach gorge, among other things! 

We also have Bobby’s Mother and Aunt visiting this Spring, and my parents later this year… Good times ahead! 

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Getting back into the swing of (Italian) things…

Buonasera!

I know I am LONG overdo for an entry here on my blog. As most (or all) of you know I made a surprise visit stateside last month …talk about bittersweet. I’d be perfectly fine if I could just uproot my family (and by family I am talking parents, sibling, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents..the whole shebang!) to Italy for these next few years and live happily ever after in my perfect Italian bubble. Sounds fair, right? But since I can’t, I’ll just countdown until my next visit coughMARCHcough home. 

My trip was wonderful, although not long enough to truly spend the time I wanted with those that mean the most to me- and since it was a surprise, I wasn’t able to properly plan out my time. I did however manage to shop so much that I had to bring an extra suitcase back with me! I know what you are thinking, why shop there when I live in ITALY..the fashion capital of the world is just hours from my front door… well unless someone wants to write me a big fat check, or I win the lottery that I don’t play.. shopping sprees here aren’t going to happen!!

We have now been in Italy for 9 months and I have to say…time is flying by! We’ve managed to spend our first part of this tour sightseeing, traveling and embracing the culture. I’ve had more cappuccinos and pastries in the last 9 months, than I have in my entire 28 years of existence…now it’s Fall.. also known as the cold AND rainy season (winter too) so we are going to lay low these next couple of months (I’m sure our bank account will thank us). I don’t want to bore you with our day to day routines, so I probably won’t have as many posts during this time.

Since I’ve been back, we have pretty much spent our weekends at social gatherings, birthday dinners, blah blah blah. I have added a few new photos so you too can see our weekend shenanigans. I did experience my first Italian cooking class at San Giorgio’s recently, where we learned how to make Penne Fuego (a spicy pasta), Chicken with Cream Sauce, and Panna Cotta, which is an Italian dessert similar to a custard/gelatin that is typically served with a raspberry, caramel, or chocolate sauce. The language barrier was a bit frustrating at times, as the two main chefs did not seem to speak a lick of English!!…. but the endless wine served once we were able to sit down and eat our meal made it worthwhile! 

You can click here for the latest photos: 

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Italy%20November%202013?sort=3

Aside from that not much is new… with the Holidays approaching I am curious to see how our days play out. This is my favorite time of the year..I love my time with my family. My mother makes the holidays so special from the way she decorates the house to the dozens of sweets we bake leading up to Christmas Day…! We do have plans to spend Thanksgiving with our wonderful friends (there will be about 20 of us getting together for lunch) and again there are plans in the making for Christmas, but it will not compare to the warmth I feel in my heart when I am home, surrounded by the most important people in my little world. I would be lying if I said I was truly looking forward to this years festivities… Bah Humbug right? While I am appreciative of the open arms and new friendships here, I am the epitome of the saying,  “Home is where your Mom is.” 

Ok, Ok, enough of me being a debbie downer… on a completely unrelated note- here is a fun and ON POINT article about Italy/Italians!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/11/american-in-italy_n_4235479.html

 Ciao Ciao! 

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Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to Florence and Pisa we go!

Ahhh my favorite time of the year is upon us..FALL! You know what that means, Pumpkin EVERYTHING, bonfires, hoodies and riding boots! I will forever be a beach baby (a Topsail Island beach baby, that is) but there is just something about the cool crisp autumn air and the leaves changing colors that makes me want to sit outside in my oversized sweater and ugg boots, drinking a pumpkin spiced latte and planning out which haunted house we will go to first this year. Too bad we live in Italy, where Starbucks doesn’t exist and Halloween isn’t exactly “celebrated.”….Although I hear the past few years Italians have slowly been catching on to the American “tradition.” ….I still highly doubt we will find any corn mazes to run through…

By this time, I am usually making a list of the newest and fattiest fair food I can try. What’s the fried specialty this year? Will I have the Krispy Kreme burger with lettuce, tomato and cheese, or stick to the usual deep fried snickers and chocolate covered bacon? Talk about making life decisions here people! Although I count my blessings everyday, and I am beyond grateful that we were given this opportunity to live in Europe, I have to say- come this time of year, I am jealous of everyone back home. Guess the homesickness is starting to set in. Hey, I did good- we are getting close to the 8 month mark here in Italy…most thought I wouldn’t last 30 days!  

The past few weeks have been jam packed with all kinds of traveling and fun new adventures. Right after my last post Bobby and I decided to go to a Medieval Festival in a neighboring town. It was our first frustrating experience with the language barrier. Not only could we not understand any part of the reenactments taking place, but even ordering dinner was a feat. Typically we can pick out a few things on a menu that we are familiar with in Italian (if we are in a touristy spot, the menus are always in English and Italian anyways) However, this particular night we ended up at multiple “food booths” trying to figure out what in the world we were going to order. I am sure the experience would have been a lot more pleasurable if we fluently spoke Italian, but since we don’t, I just felt like a lost puppy the entire night, not having a clue what was going on around me! I personally plan to take Italian courses ASAP, however the “next one” started while Alexis was in town so I will probably have to wait until the new year to begin lessons. 

Speaking of Alexis… she came, she saw, and she conquered Italy. We packed more in to a two week period than most probably do within months of living here. Vino and pastries were definitely a staple during her trip….When in Italia! 

 The first week we tried to keep the traveling “nearby.” Unfortunately around here, nothing is exactly a hop, skip and a jump away. I managed to fill up the FJ FIVE times while Alexis was here. The sad part is, I didn’t even drive the entire time…We took the train to Venice and Bobby drove his Scion to Florence and Pisa (Which was two more tanks of gas!). We started off week one with a trip to Nove. Nove is the “home” of local ceramic industries, with over 100 ceramic stores in the 3 square mile town. Ever heard of Williams-Sonoma, Lennox, and Tiffany’s? Well Nove is known as the epicenter for these handcrafted ceramics. I won’t go in to details on what we purchased, many gifts were bought (and will be bought in the future) in Nove. We ended our day in Marostica, which is a town known for their Human Chess match. The upper and lower castles are joined by a wall around the center of the town and the main Piazza (square) is made of a giant chess board. On even numbered years, over 700 people participate in the live version of this game. Marostica is where Alexis had her first taste of true Italian Pizza and Gelato! 

The following days we explored Piancovallo, Lake Barcis, the Sacile Market, Trieste, and may other local favorites, including wine tasting at Bessich and Geilisi. Wine that is manufactured and sold in Italy is different from the States, here there are no preservatives or additives in the wine…aka No raging headache the next day! The wine doesn’t typically last for more than a year or two when sitting, but who wants to wait around to drink it anyways!?! 

Before I skip ahead I have to share our little Trieste experience with my readers. Bobby and I have been to Trieste once before, in fact, it was out very first “trip” here in Italy. We had no issues getting there and the town itself was not too touristy. We were able to find parking and enjoy our day (for the most part..until Bobby got rear ended by an Italian lady that drove off, but that’s another story in itself!) So I thought, no problem, I’m familiar with the area, we didn’t take Bobby’s car down any streets that my FJ wouldn’t fit, we’ve got this covered…We get in to Trieste no problem… however, the town is PACKED for a Friday morning. Parking was unheard of and people were everywhere. I asked Alexis to find a parking garage and/or a pay lot nearby on my GPS since we were just driving in circles…Bad idea. TomTom doesn’t know what kind of car I drive, and TomTom isn’t aware that I am an American driving an oversized vehicle on Italian roads… I am pretty sure I had a mild heart attack that morning. We drove down streets that I could guarantee were intended for scooters only..at one point I was down a road that was so narrow, I couldn’t turn around… I ended up having to push my side mirrors in and drive the wrong way down a one way road! Thank God we got out safely without a scratch on the car (even though you could stick your hand out either window and touch the brick walls on both sides of the road) Needless to say when we finally found parking, we sat down at the first cafe we saw for an Aperol Spritz! I didn’t care what time of day it was (although, neither do the Italians) drinking here has no time limit period.

 

More photos have been added to each of these albums:

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

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

Viva Italia:  http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Viva%20Italia

 

On Saturday we got up bright and early to meet on base for the ITT Croatia trip..and when I say early, I am talking 4:30am we were on the bus, headed to Croatia! This is a trip that Bobby and I have been wanting to take since April, so we were really looking forward to sharing the experience with Alexis. Unfortunately, after going to Cinque Terre earlier in the month, Croatia wasn’t as exciting as we hoped for. While still beautiful, it was a little disappointing in comparison. Never in my life have I seen so many nude people…yep, you read that right. We traveled along the Croatian Coast by boat, passing more nudest beaches and resorts than I could count! Men standing around fishing in the nude, women laying out reading the newspaper completely naked..my oh my, they didn’t warn us about this. I am use to the beaches here being topless but I was not expecting to get a peep show on this trip! We stopped in several towns for shopping and sightseeing, and they served us lunch on the boat (wine included!) It was a LONG day, but hey- I can add Croatia to my list of places I’ve been to now! 

 

Click here for photos from our Croatia Trip:  

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

 

The second week we started off with a day trip to Venice, followed by a day of Wine tasting on Prosecco Road. Prosecco is an Italian sparking wine that is made from Glera grapes. It comes in three different forms: Brut, Extra Dry and Dry… however, in Italy these terms are not what you think. Brut is a dry wine, extra dry is actually semi sweet and Dry is considered “sweet.” Prosecco also comes with one of two labels, Doc which is a median quality wine and DOCG with is a top quality Prosecco that is guaranteed of origin in the Veneto and Friuli Giulia region of Italy (which is where we live) Prosecco Road is a 20 mile stretch, that conveniently starts roughly 7 miles from our house, full of wineries and cantinas that specialize in this particular wine. The list of wineries goes on for pages, so obviously it cannot be done all in one day. We were able to tackle 4 or 5 wineries before calling it a night. If you plan to visit, be prepared to travel along Prosecco road with us. It’s a destination that you do not want to miss! 

 

A few fun facts: 

Prosecco is made from the same grape each time, it’s the different soils that the grapes are harvested in that change the taste of the wine. 

One particular winery (which does import to the states) is now making Organic Prosecco!

Both Alexis and myself bought a special blue label bottle that is numbered; they only make 10,000 bottles of this particular wine a year….I’ll be saving that one for a spacial occasion.  

 

Click here for photos of Prosecco road: 

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Prosecco%20Road

 

New photos added to the Venice album:

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

 

We ended our second week with a two nights stay in Florence, but not before making a quick trip to Pisa. I must say, of all of our sightseeing in Italy thus far, the leaning tower of Pisa is by far my most favorite. It was so surreal standing in front of this massive structure that is literally leaning to one side. Of course I had to take a picture doing the typical tourist pose, holding up the tower! 

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Click here to see more photos of Pisa: 

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

 

Florence was a blast. We picked the wrong time to go…they were having a massive bike race and many of the roads were blocked off…parking was a nightmare! But once we got settled in to our precious Italian loft-style apartment, we made the most of it! We attended our second Italian wedding, which was two of Alexis’ co-workers, we saw the Statue of David, Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, and many other tourist sights. We also learned a very valuable lesson…Next time we go to Florence and/or Pisa…We are taking the train! It cost us over $70 in toll fees and $76 to park for TWO nights in Florence.

Click here to see more photos from our Florence trip:

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

 

I was sad to see Alexis go, it was nice having a little piece of home here with me in Italy. But, we’ve done more traveling in these first 7 months here than most people I know have in their first 2 years…I think it is time to lay low for a while and stay local. Working on a possible trip to Germany for Christmas, OR Barcelona for New Years…we really need to play the lottery! 

 

Ciao Y’all!

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Birthday and Anniversary Celebrations Italian Style

Since my last post we’ve celebrated my 28th Birthday and our 2 year wedding anniversary here in Italy (Awwwwwe!) I would never have guessed that just 6 short months into our Italian journey I’d be blessed with such a great group of friends. We are all from very different places, we’ve all been brought up in such different ways, and yet we’ve managed to grow so close, so fast. Even though I miss my family and friends terribly, these girls (and their amazing husbands) have truly made our transition here so much easier than I would have imagined.

We celebrated my birthday by going out to dinner at an American 50’s style diner in Sacile. Who would have thought they’d have such a restaurant here in Northern Italy. They served American style burgers, ribs, and shakes…the list goes on…. the food was delicious and it was one of the few places here that didn’t break the bank at the end of your meal. The atmosphere was full of American vintage memorabilia, and “oldies” music. I felt like I needed to be in a poodle skirt.

After dinner we all gathered back up at my house for Sangria and cake. My friend Bree made me a “favorite things” cake. It was a layered  s’mores cake, complete with toasted marshmallows as the frosting. The decorations were made of fondant and were all created to depict my personality and favorite things. The front had my initials monogrammed…what southern girl doesn’t love monogrammed EVERYTHING! As well as an adorable (edible) banner across the top that said Buon Compleanno (Happy Birthday in Italian). Around the side of the cake there was a fondant North Carolina, with a heart where Raleigh is located, two dog tags, one with Baleigh and one with Presley, and an anchor to complete the cake! I managed to eat cake for a week straight before reluctantly throwing the left overs away. (Not before freezing a few slices for down the road cravings!) The last thing I need is a larger waistline for my 28th Birthday!

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The girls also surprised me with wonderful gifts including, jewelry, wine, perfume, and clothes… I could not have felt more loved!! After cake and presents all of us girls were dropped off at the Sacile square where we enjoyed an eventful night at Sfrsico cafe (a bar) surrounded by Italians who were celebrating the Sagra die Osei (Bird Festival). We managed to celebrate until 6am!! I’d say it was a wonderful first Italian Birthday!!

To see more pictures of my birthday celebration click here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/28th%20Birthday%20in%20Italy

This past weekend Bobby was lucky enough to have 4 days off, just in time for our 2nd wedding Anniversary celebration. We decided to take a road trip with two of our closest friends here (Bree and Kory) to Cinque Terre, La Spezia and Porto Venere.

Cinque Terre consists of five towns, hence the name (Cinque in Italian is “5”…it literally translates to “Five Lands”) on the French Riviera. The five towns include Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. These are not towns you can easily access by car.  In fact, that is part of the “charm” of Cinque Terre; it lacks corporate development. Paths, trains and boats are what connects these five villages. We had to take the train and/or ferry into each of the towns. The ferry (although expensive) was most definitely worth it for the most breathtaking views of these pastel painted homes built on the side of the cliffs.

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We decided to stay in a town just a short train ride from Cinque Terre called La Spezia. It is one of the main Italian military and commercial harbors, and hosts the arsenal of the Italian Navy. Lucky for us most hotels accommodate dogs without question (or extra fees!) so Presley was able to go with us on this adventure. We spent 4 days and 3 nights trekking through the “Five Lands” and swimming in the Mediterranean.

On our last night we decided to hop on the ferry to Porto Venere. It is another town located on the Ligurian coast of Italy, with pastel colored homes and a castle on a cliff!

Our weekend was full of pasta, pastries, seafood and endless prosecco!

To see more pictures from our Anniversary celebration click here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Cinque%20Terre%20La%20Spezia%20Portovenere

Before I had the chance to post the above to my blog, our internet decided to not work for almost an entire week….when you live in another Country, that feels like an eternity!! Last night we attended our first Air Force Ball. Unlike most girls, I decided not to buy a new dress for this event. Instead I had the privilege of wearing the dress my mother wore on our wedding day. I don’t know what was more exciting, wearing her Vera Wang or the fact I could actually FIT in something of hers! The lighting was terrible for pictures but here is what I have :

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/2013%20Air%20Force%20Ball

In just one week Alexis will be here for a 2 week vacation. I can’t believe how fast time has flown by, she booked this trip in April! We have plans to go to Croatia, Florence, Pisa, Venice..and many other places while she is here!! I CAN’T WAIT!

Until next time….. Ciao!

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The Great Outdoors

Well hello there readers,

I promise I haven’t forgotten about you. We’ve just been so caught up in social events as well as our own explorations that I can’t seem to find the time to really sit down and focus on my blog.

Since my last post, we’ve managed to spend a lot of time outdoors. I recently mentioned that we would be taking a trip to Aqualandia, and we did just that! Unfortunately we were not able to go on the original date planned, so it ended up just being me and Bobby for the day. (So, no bungee jumping…Mom you can breathe a sigh of relief) Now, I can’t remember the last time I went to a water park. I had to be in elementary school, and Bobby has never been, so we both were pretty excited for this day trip.

Aqualandia is really more than a water park, it’s like a theme park. There are 26 attractions, 7 shows and 4 animations activities throughout the park. One of the main attractions is the world’s highest water slide…yep let me repeat that…WORLD’S HIGHEST water slide. The “spacemaker” is 42 meters in height, along a 60 degree slope. You ride on an inflatable raft and reach speeds up to 100 km/h. Now, want me to put that in American conversions? The water slide is 137.79 feet tall and you accelerate at a speed of 62.13 miles per hour as you go down! Talk about a thrill…and you better believe me and Bobby did it!

Here is a picture of the slide. I wish I had taken a video of someone going down, just to show you how intense (and fast) it truly is. You feel like you are going to go airborne right off of the slide. (It is the one on the right)

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The weather was water park perfect! Here are some other pictures from the day.

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

Last weekend we discovered a little gem called Tramonti di Sopra. For the town to only be 47 square miles, it sure packs in an abundance of beauty. We spent the day with friends hanging out in the creeks along the mountainside. Now I am sure you are thinking, creeks? Really Tiffany…that’s what little boys play in on Saturday afternoons… so instead of me even remotely trying to describe where we were…I’ll show you.

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Creeks..which turn in to larger bodies of water, and include waterfalls! How gorgeous is that? Unfortunately I learned a hard lesson… if you hear that there will be cliffs to jump from, that means it is rocky…and if it is rocky you probably need shoes you are willing to get wet. I didn’t think it through and ended up having to walk around barefoot all day, walking and climbing up rocks. Mission this week, acquire water shoes!

Here are some more pictures from Tramonti

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

Bobby preplanned a little better than I did and hooked his GoPro camera up to a broomstick (hey, ya gotta do, what ya gotta do!) so he could take video in the water for all to see. Here is the video where you can watch him Cliff jump off the side of the waterfall.

We also went hiking in the Dolomites last weekend. (I told you, we’ve spent a lot of time out doors) Again, it was another day full of ROCKS, and uphill trekking! Talk about a great workout, I am still sore two days later. These mountains are right behind our house, so we are planning to make trips like this a habit.

To see pictures from our hiking adventure, click here

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/MrsTEAvery/slideshow/Hiking%20in%20the%20Dolomites

On another completely unrelated note, have you ever heard of Challenge coins? It is a coin (or medallion) given in the military that bears the organizations insignia (for example a squadron’s mascot). These coins are given by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement. Welllllllll… many of you know I have befriended an extremely talented girl named Bree here at Aviano who has her own baking business, and she has asked me to help her from time to time as her “associate” at certain military (and civilian functions). About a month ago I attended a 603rd Air Control Squadron formal dinner. Unfortunately the 603rd is closing here at Aviano and the commander wanted to have a special night for the squadron and their spouses. Bree was asked to make two cakes for this event, and I was her right hand (wo)man in doing so. We were honored to be able to attend such an event and serve some outstanding military members….fast forward to last week and Bree comes up to me all excited telling me she has something special. She hands me a letter signed by the COMMANDER thanking us for what we did, and to show his appreciation he “coined” us! In other words, I received my first coin from a military commander!! Bobby was surprised to say the least. He said he has never personally known of a civilian to be coined by a commander.

Here is it! How cool!!

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These next couple of months are going to be full of adventures. My Birthday is this Friday and we have plans with all of our amazing new friends. Not that I need to be reminded of just how close I am to 30! We also have plans in the works to go to Cinque Terre for Labor Day weekend, which also happens to be our 2 year wedding anniversary (Awwwww) and just two short weeks later Alexis will be flying in for more Italian adventures, including Florence and Pisa!

I can’t even begin to explain how blessed I feel.

Hugs & Kisses,

Tiff

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