Monday, November 28, 2011

First Trip to Germany

Will has a buddy from back home who's in the army. It just so happened that they were both stationed in Alaska and now they're both in Europe. He and his wife invited us up for Thanksgiving so we took him up on their offer and had a blast exploring Germany.

Friday we headed to Nürnberg (Nuremberg). We checked out the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände...er...Documentation Centre & Nazi Rally Grounds. I got to geek out on one of my favorite history topics.

Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände
Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände
Listening to the English translations

By the time we got done there, the Christmas market was just getting underway. I've never understood the term “sea of people” until now. A lot of people showed up just for the opening ceremonies since it was the first night of the market. We had to fight against the stream of people to get to the market. It was crazy! There were lots of super cute things for sale, but we weren't really in the mood to fight the crowds to get to what we had our eye on.

Nuremberg Christmas Market
Yes, we all ran like small children when we saw a snowman walking around
Nuremberg Christmas Market
Nuremberg Christmas Market
Nuremberg Christmas Market
Of course we had to try out some real brats and sauerkraut

Saturday we headed south to Schloss Neuschwanstein (Neuschwanstein Castle). It was supposed to be the home for King Ludwig II, but he died before it was completed. The Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella castles were modeled after it. So cool right!? We took horse drawn carriages up to the castle and went on a tour through the finished rooms. Of course now I want a castle of my own.

Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle
We hiked up a short trail to get a pretty view of the castle.
Neuschwanstein Castle
Bonding with our horses.

As soon as we got home, we immediately began talking about when we could return. The drive wasn’t too bad, 5ish hours. It was really pretty driving through Austria. Someday we want to explore there too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Day in Pictures

Today Italy was showing off all its beautiful fall glory.

Aviano in the fall
Pretty mountains
pretty fall trees
Pretty fall trees in Aviano.
Will and I went to the Aviano weekly market. We got there super early so the vendors were still setting up. But we still managed to do some shopping. I picked out a present for my mama and Will picked out rugs for our kitchen. Our cold feet will be so grateful!

shopping bags
One of our new rugs! They're matching, one's just longer than the other.
After the market, we headed to the laundromat on base. I like the one on Area F better, but it seemed silly to go out of our way when Area 1 was right down the street.

laundromat

While we waited for the machines, Will treated me to a coffee at Deja Brew. I don't make it a habit of drinking coffee, so when I do get my white mocha fix it's an extra special day.

white chocolate mocha

When we got home, I made some apple muffins. Turns out, I'm terrible at cutting apples. But I'm great at baking muffins. After a lot of near finger chops and cursing, they came out beautifully!

making muffins
apple muffins

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jello Shots & Ribs

How do you make just plain old regular jello shots? Back in college my friends and I would do half and half. Melt the gelatin with hot water and instead of cold water, use whatever alcohol you want. Apparently, that's too strong for some people. I don't know about you, but I don't chew. I straight swallow it because I'm not trying to taste solidified hard alcohol.

jello shots

Anyway, one of the guys at Will's squadron invited us over for ribs and drinks. We had a blast!

Ech & Will
Watching the beer pong games.
The Boys
Some of the guys Will works with.
Dark Picture
Yes, we knew it was too dark to take a picture outside but we tried anyway.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Italian Dinner Party

Albino (our landlord) asked if he could borrow our family room for a dinner party and invited us to join them. A couple who used to be stationed here came back to visit and they were inviting people over to catch up with them. Helga (Abino's wife) made an amazing spread of all kinds of meat, polenta, and some kind of green leafy vegetable. I think I only made it through half my plate, I was so stuffed!

Italian cooking
Frying all the food on an enormous gas grill 
Italian dinner party
SO much food!
One of the family friend's brought over homemade tiramisu. I almost died it was so good! Think of the airiest,  creamiest, most flavorful tiramisu you've ever had and multiply it by 1,000 and maybe you can get an idea of how amazing it was. There was two extra pieces so of course I had seconds.

Italian homemade tiramisu
Last piece of tiramisu
Will had to work in the morning, so he went to bed after dinner. The rest of the Italians slowly petered out and went home. The other Americans, Albino, and I stayed up to play poker and have some drinks. We had a great time! The military wife was fluent in Italian so she interpreted for everyone if the language barrier became a problem.

poker
poker and 7 in 7's

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nuvola

Nuvola loves to come visit. She comes by when she hears us coming or going and will sometimes be waiting in our little courtyard when we open the door or gate. She only stays long enough to get some tummy rubs before wandering off. Today, I was writing a blog at the computer, when I had the sensation of being watched. I looked around for the mister, but he was nowhere in sight. I started getting a little creeped out until I looked at the door.

Nuvola
Nuvola checking in on us
I called Will over to see how cute she was. How could we ignore a cute little face like that? We went out and loved on her until she was tired of us. I'm bummed we can't have a dog here, but at least we have Nuvola around.

Festa della Zucca

Festa della Zucca pamphlet
When entering the town gates, we were handed this.
Legend has it, the medieval town of Venzone hired an artist to create a golden globe for the top of their tower clock. They only had enough money to pay him a third of his rate so he tricked them by painting a pumpkin and placing atop the tower. The town didn't realize his trick until the pumpkin began rotting and falling.

Venzone tower
The infamous tower (with a real golden sphere)
True or not, the town hosts a pumpkin festival within their walls every year. They have performances, medieval reenactments, vendors, and lots of pumpkins.

pumpkin pastry
The pastry was AMAZING! Ignore Will's crew chief fingernails.
festa della zucca
A ceremony of some sort before dancers performed in the square.
medieval sword fight
Sword fights
feather and bead earrings
My pretty new earrings!
The town is about an hour away from Aviano Air Base, so it was a good day trip. Luckily it was a great driving day. It rained a bit toward the end of our time at the festival. We would have stayed longer, but as soon as Will felt that first drop hit he was done.

driving in Italy
Great day for a drive.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Our (sort of) Set Up House

We're slowly getting the house in order. Here's a little look at what we've done so far.

game room

Our game room/spare room is set up. We tried to use tension rods to turn our wardrobes into closets, but the sides are too slipper so the rods keep falling. If you look at the bottom of the open one, you'll see half my clothes didn't make it back up after the last fall.

master bedroom

Our bedroom up on the third floor is very minimalist. Our floor will soon be covered with piles of laundry (both clean and dirty...separate piles of course).

makeshift closet

We're turning the third floor landing into a makeshift walk-in closet. I'm super excited about it! For now it's just boxes, but it'll be fixed up soon.

As a finish to our day, our landlord dropped off a couple plates of food and beer for us.

German dinner

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Real Ikea Trip

After our last attempt to visit Ikea, we made sure to really research the address of the closest Ikea. Since our car was blocked in, Drake offered to drive. I love the autostrada. Drivers here respect and follow the rule of slower cars to the right. It's something you can actually get fined for if you're driving in the fast lane.

Ikea

We had a bit of trouble with the toll booth, but eventually we figured it out. Ticket first (look for the arrow on the ticket), card goes in same slot as ticket or toss change into bucket, take change if applicable, and go! There's a way to change the instructions to English, but it's really not necessary.

toll booth

I'm glad we brought Drake's car just because we couldn't go nuts buying things since it wouldn't fit. We did find a dresser/storage closet type thing for our upstairs bathroom, but we couldn't find all the pieces in the warehouse. So we gave up and walked away with some candles instead. They smell amazing! I can't describe what the scent is, but it reminds me of Hawaii. It's not flowery or anything like that...it's fruity. It's hard to explain.

On our way home we were treated with a beautiful sunset.

sunset

Ikea
Via Cividale
34070 Villesse (Gorizia)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Laundromat

I've always considered the laundromat to be a really fun way to do chores. It's second only to car washes in my mind. I remember being fascinated by the dryers whenever my mom took Seester and me with her to do laundry. I'm (sort of) all grown up now and I still love watching dryers and front loading washers.

dryers


We went in at night on a weekday so we almost had the place to ourselves. Will and I played with the rolling baskets while we waited and generally acted like small children would if no one was around.

laundromat
laundromat

Monday, October 10, 2011

What is going on!?

This afternoon, an Italian man knocked on our door and asked if we could move our car out of our driveway. We couldn't ask much questions, but it also didn't bother us to move our car out to the square. I thought maybe they needed to deliver something to the bar. I was right, but I just didn't expect...well...this...

crane delivery
crane delivery

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oil Change

So our car is up for an oil change, but we only know of the shop on base. They're pretty spendy so we  asked our friends if anyone wanted to help the mister to do it ourselves. Drake came over today and the two of them shimmied under the car. I was thinking they'd take it to the shop, rent a stall, and raise the car up to work on it. They were thinking they could fit under the car. Well, they were right...barely.

oil change
oil change

They couldn't fit their heads under so they were feeling around and hoping for the best. Of course I'm laughing and taking pictures because it was just so silly. They ended up just changing the filter and calling it good. I think that when the time comes to actually drain the oil we'll just take it into the shop.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bai-Li Market

Today Will and I were a little bored so we went to explore some stores in Pordenone near the Emisfero mall. We spent a while poking around Bai-Li Market. It's like a cross between Walmart and Dollar Store. We didn't end up buying anything, but we had fun finding things we could buy if we had a little extra money.

elephant basket
Don't ask me what I'd do with an elephant basket, but I wanted it so badly! If you look behind me on the shelf there were other styles. They were a little kid-y so I'll have to hurry up and have a baby before I can buy these.

polizia lollipop
So the police (polizia) or military police (carabinieri) carry these sticks that look like lollipops. If they hold it out, you have to pull over. If you don't, it's considered running from the police and they have the right to shoot at your car (to shoot out your tires, but you just never know). They call it lollipopping. They'll lollipop you for alcohol testing, to check your papers, or just as a random stop to make sure you're on the up and up.

Bai-Li Market
Via Maestri del Lavoro, 37
33084 Pordenone (PN)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pretty Views

Like I said, I'm a complete city girl. So all these open lands and big skies are just absolutely gorgeous to me. I'm always taking a million pictures when the mister and I are driving.

Italian countryside

I feel so lucky and blessed to be living in such a beautiful country.