Saturday, September 7, 2013

New Friends & New Adventures

So these past... 23 days or so one of the hub's co-workers had visitors: his mom and his girlfriend.  We're pretty close with this guy and so naturally, we wanted to make sure we helped in giving his loved ones the royal treatment.  This wonderful update is going to showcase all the awesome places we accompanied them to... enjoy :)

First off, they flew into Milan, which is a good 3 1/2 hour drive from our little village, and just so happened to be a city we'd yet to venture to.  It has definitely been on my list of places to go, but it wasn't at the top, and honestly, if we'd left Italy without ever going there, I wouldn't be mad.  Having an actual reason to go was quite nice, and if the ladies were up for it (after almost a full 24 hours of traveling) we were gonna get in a few sights while we were there, which luckily we did.
Waiting for the ladies to arrive while sippin' some cappuccino!
They're here :)

The Duomo di Milano

On TOP of the duomo :)

Our next adventure was to the beach only two days later.  Because both the hubs and I had been so unhappy with the beach at Jesolo, we decided to trust in one of his co-workers who had been to the beach in Lignano and said it was way better.  Man am I glad we did.  Accompanied by a few of the co-workers, in addition to our friend's guests, we hit up the beach and had a blast.  Since it's already turning fall here now, another beach trip is out for this year, but you bet your asses we'll be going back next year :)

After that little outing, we celebrated our friend's birthday on August 27.  We went to Colorado's, a place we'd been before, and had a blast together.  Next, we hit up a winery (got a little sloshed) and Lake Barcis with the ladies, and they loved it just as much as I had (and did again).  Then on August 31, we heard of a food and wine festival in a little community outside of our town called San Quirino.  You pay 15 euro and you get tasting portions of a starter, first course, second course, and dessert, all paired with recommended wines for each one.  It was fabulous.  They had live music and cool people and we had a blast!!

The "blues" band (they sang some Frank Sinatra)!

The following day was our next adventure in which we drove the hour and a half to the sea-coast town of Trieste which borders Slovenia and Croatia.  It contains a beautiful seaside castle, Castello Miramare, as well as some Roman ruins, a few museums, gorgeous landscapes, and the Grotta Gigante, a huge cave!  We hit up the castle first and although it was a bit overcast, we still enjoyed a fabulous breeze and calm sea filled with sailboats and swimmers.  After we toured the castle and the grounds, we headed up the mountain to the entrance of the Grotta Gigante cave.  After 500 steps down and a 15-20 degree Celsius temperature difference, we learned about the cave and it's history, then trekked back up a different 500-step stair case.  I ended the day drenched in sweat and guzzling water like I had survived the desert!

Gotta love my goofball husband :)

What do I do with my hands?!?!

As if that day wasn't filled with enough, we went home that night ready for a super early start the next day, September 2nd was a day for VENICE!!  Yes, I know how ridiculous it is that we've lived here for over a year, a mere hour away from Venice, and we STILL HAVEN'T BEEN.  Well, we have been to the airport (I know, I know that doesn't count).  We planned to do full-on Italian experience, which meant taking an early train, being walking, touristy Americans, eating in a delicious restaurant, and riding the train back home, of course making sure to hit every major attraction we could.  I was so dead set on two things: 1. I desperately wanted to ride in a gondola.  Yes I know that it's super expensive, but it's so cool and an awesome way to see the city, and 2. thanks to reddit I had to discover this hidden gem of a bookshop among the many tiny side streets and canals.  Unfortunately #1 was vetoed by almost everyone so the hubs and I vowed to return to Venice for our anniversary next year and make it a romantic and memorable experience, complete with a gondola ride for two.  Fortunately #2 DID happen.  Thanks to my hubby's amazing navigational skills, he directed us right to it and I was not disappointed.  Of course I could've spent all freaking day in there, even if I don't read Italian, but we only dedicated about half an hour, and that was okay.  Like I said... we can always go back :)  We were lucky enough to ride on a "vaporetto" which is basically the water equivalent of the city bus routes.  It was cheaper and took us all through the Grand Canal, letting us see the city from the water like a I desperately wanted.  It was gorgeous and fun and we ended up getting dropped off right at San Marco's Square.  We went up in the campanille, ate a restaurant, and wandered the city for hours, eventually heading back around 5 and not getting home until 730!  It was a fabulous day and I can't wait to go back!

Our view as soon as we get out of the train station

Picture Perfect

These suckers went off while we were in the tower!  It was soooo cool!

My lover and me <3

The time with them was fabulous and really got us out of the house and adventuring!  As I told you last time, we've booked an apartment for Rome for December and I have purchased a ticket home for January-March!!!!  I have to go alone, sadly, but I am looking forward to seeing family (and the new addition brewing in my cousin's belly).  I'm also looking into making a trip within the trip to the pacific northwest to visit family I haven't seen in many many years!  Things are looking bright for my traveling future!!

Until next time...

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