Thursday, August 29, 2013

As per usual...

Holy crap it's been wayyyyy too long.  But honestly, I've been enjoying myself quite nicely over the past few months.  I've been lovin' the fabulous weather and traveling with my husband, when he hasn't been "under the weather" in one form or another.  Poor thing has been falling apart in his old 26 years of age and I've been doing my best to take care of him. Over the past... whew 39 days I think it's been, we've spent a lot of time together, out and about in the wonderful world of Italy, and planning travel for the near future.  Though I do miss home daily, Aviano and it's surrounding countryside has really grown on me.  I still have numerous things that annoy and anger me daily (the amount of wattage our home can output - or rather lack of, nothing staying open past 8pm, the cost of actually enjoying living here, the ridiculous trash system, the list could continue), but I have come to an understanding with this country and we are quite content living together.

As you all know I document pretty much everything I do in either written or visual form.  I want to be able to look back on my time here and remember more than, "Oh yeah I saw beautiful things" and "I wish we hadn't been there so long" (it'll be four years by the time we're done here).  Because my  memory is that of a goldfish, I take pictures and I write blogs about my experiences... that will also allow me to share these memories with my family who are so very far away, and any future children we may have.  So, picking up where I left off with the last big adventure I informed you of, which I'm pretty sure was my trip home in friggin' May (eeeek):

My love had his birthday soiree on May 18th and it was all things pig-related.  The menu consisted of cheesey bacon dip, bacon-wrapped jalepeno poppers, bbq pork sliders, smoked pork spare ribs, and bacon cake & cupcakes, just to name the main items.  All the decorations were pigish and I had quite a blast putting the whole thing together!

The next thing we did after this get-together was a long-awaited trip to Lake Barcis on May 20th.  It is a large, man-made lake located in the quaint little town of Valcellina up on the top of the Alps.  It's a beautiful drive, going through and around the mountains with a crystal clear view of the skies (on a good day) and surrounding landscape.  We happened to go when it was a bit chilly and overcast, but we could still totally appreciate the beauty.  My hubby had already been a few times, but this was my first venture up there and I was pleasantly surprised.  We're talking about going up there sometime in the next month or so for a couple's camping trip... we shall see!
So pretty :)

 This tiny little bridge (barely wide enough for the car) is the quickest way to get from one side to the other.  Eeeeek!

After this we ventured into something a little outside of my comfort zone... hiking.  On June 18th we went to this placed called the Brent de l'Art, a gorge located in a little town called Trichiana in the province of Belluno, about an hour from home.  Doing the research on the place, because let's be honest my hubby is an outdoorsman through and through and going to all these museums and cathedrals are just not his thing, I had to make sure it would be challenging for him but doable for me.  A lot of reviewers said "anyone could do it" and "very beautiful, worth the trek, and easy to navigate."  Naturally, I thought I'd just scored the mother-load.  I packed all three of us (we brought along another outdoorsman) lunch, brought plenty of water, sunscreen, a few towels for my inevitable sweat, my camera because I'm me, and of course our pooch and her supplies.  Getting there was a bit confusing as it was COMPLETELY off the beaten path.  If it hadn't been for a very detailed description of the exact landmarks and where to turn, we never would've found it (thanks Alerock).  Once we got there I thought I was prepared for the day (hey, the hike down is the easy part, right?) but I was completely misled and under-prepared.  The hike down led me to realizing we were going at a solid 75% decline (I guess telling myself, hey we're going hiking in the ALPS wasn't enough for me to realize we were literally going to be scaling MOUNTAINS!), and it was difficult.  When going downhill is hard, that can only mean going back up was going to be even more of a challenge; man was I completely naive in thinking it'd be an easy day.  After about 10ish minutes, we were there.  We were all awed by the pretty scenery and the cool rocks and the possibility of what was hidden in the shadows, but after about 10 minutes we realized... this is it.  Of course we're in the mountains so the possibility for adventure is great, but the reason we came was for the gorge and it wasn't as amazing as I'd envisioned it.  We wandered the trails, followed the fairly dry river/creek bed until it went too far out of my comfort zone and turned around and went back.  We sat at the gorge area and had lunch, chatted, and after about an hour we decided to trek back up.  HOLY.  JEEBUS.  Not only was it the most difficult thing I'd ever done, but I LITERALLY thought they were going to have to abandon me in the friggin' mountain forest for eternity.  There's only one way in, one way out here people and this big mama did not think her body or her lack of will power was going to get her back to the safety of the air-conditioned car.  If the hike down took 10 minutes, the hike back up took 45, no friggin' joke.  I LITERALLY (and I know I'm overusing this word here but it conveys the seriousness of my situation) thought I was dying.  Of course I was holding the guys up the whole way and my dog was rubbing her amazing animal athleticism (like that alliteration?) in my face.  Running 50 yards ahead of us, looking back to see what was taking so long (me, obviously), running back to us, and then gaining another 50 yards on us just to do that whole scenario all over again.  Needless to say, I finally made it, and the guys were troopers about it.  I got some awesome pics, got a shitton of exercise, and will never volunteer myself to go hiking again unless it's on flat land :)

Tha hillllllssss are aliiiiiivvee... with the sooound of muuuuusic!

Friggin daredevils.

Of course my husband got my fat ass tryin' to get back up this montser!

A couple days later (on June 21st) we hit up Jesolo Beach, about an hour's drive away.  The water was a nice temperature, but it had lots of debris & driftwood and murky water, which I wasn't a fan of.  Plus, the people there seemed, I dunno, weirdly rudish.  It was nice to get some sun, but it wasn't my favorite excursion.  On the following day, June 22nd, I took a lady day and went with two friends to Nove.  Nove is the capital of ceramic land (deemed so by myself)... but seriously, this city is world-famous for it's ceramics.  It's the home to La Ceramica VBC which creates items and supplies stores like Tiffany's, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Lennox, and Macy's; and the cool thing is, since you're getting it direct from the source, you're paying like 25% of the price!  For instance, one of the ladies saw matching elephant, rabbits, and pigs that were piggy banks; she said she saw the EXACT same ones in a Tiffany's catalog for $120 - she got hers for 8 euro!  I scored as well, purchasing a 3-tier candy/cupcake stand thingie in a beautiful black and white lace pattern for only 35 euro when it was featured in Home Magazine at WAY more than that!  We hit up a few other shops and wandered the town.  I really hope to go back and hit up all the shops that were closed by the time we made our way to them - there's just so much to see!!

On June 29, I took another, more involved trip, again without my hubby, but with some of his fellow workers to Bavaria, Germany.  We were to visit Neuschwanstein castle and the surrounding town and then head to Innsbruck, Austria.  It was an early start, and a long bus ride, but we made it and were greeted with... rain :(  It made the day quite miserable, but we tried to have a good time nonetheless.  Our first stop when getting off the bus was for umbrellas and ponchos, which was conveniently placed right outside the bus parking lot.  Then we wandered around town, trekked up another freaking mountain (didn't I just vow to never hik again?! what's wrong with me?), explored the castle grounds, and got back on the bus to head to Innsbruck, which turned out to be a bit of bust since by the time we got there (traffic, yuck) everything was pretty much closed.  So we took some pics in the town center and ate some McDonald's - YAY not.  But it was my first time in Austria & Germany so I was excited about that.  Of course I barely crossed the German boarder, so it really doesn't count, and I will be going back (with the hubby) to see so many other great cities and places there!!

This was another castle in the town that we explored the grounds but didn't go inside
Silly boys and their caps

This feels like a legit family photo or something :)

In Innsbruck, Austria

Our last big trip of these 39 days was on July 6th, a gathering and outing of the hubby's co-workers.  We went to a little town called Aquileia where they had some Roman ruins, a basilica, a few museums, and a good time.  We caravaned down there, enjoyed the city and it's sights as a group, and headed on back.  It was a fun-filled day and we went somewhere a little off the beaten path.

The whole gang minus the one lady taking the pic

Silly boys :)

So... basically that's what's been going on in our lives here in the wonderful country of Italy.  Things are looking up daily, especially considering we've booked an apartment in Rome for December 1-5 with three other friends.  It will be a fabulous few days and a place I've wanted to go ever since I was a little girl.  I can't wait, and of course, I'll keep you all informed of the activities I partake in when I get around to it :)

Until next time...