Sunday, November 23, 2008

Piancavallo - An Italian Ski Resort

On Tuesday October 7 we stayed near Aviano visiting this picturesque town and the ski resort called Piancavallo which is minutes from the base.

The Resort was deserted except for some workers on the slopes.

Kevin balancing

Smileycons!The mountain air makes feel young.....

Resting after the beam workout on the stone shaped like a heart.

Deserted but Serene and Peaceful landscape

We ventured and took a little hike...and on the walk found a rock for Cliff.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Piazza San Marcos in Venice

The ride on the Vaporetto cost 6 Euros each which is equivalent to approximately $7.50 in US dollars. The vaporetto took us to Piazza San Marcos in English Saint Mark's Square. The Venetian pigeons are always looking for a hand out. I was greeted by one and she did not stay long at all since I had no food to give her. It was a nice surprise and she minded her manners.

Piazza San Marcos was crowded with tourists and vendors and fussy locals. One scolded Cliff who grabbed some crackers from a trash can to feed the pigeons.

While on the Piazza we saw the majestic St. Marks Basilica and Palazzo Ducale di Venezia (The Doge's Palace, home of the Doge which is the word for Duke.

The exterior of the basilica is adorned with mosaic murals and life size angel's statues.
Palazzo Ducale di Venezia

We walked the narrow streets and in each corner encountered wonders. It was so nice to be in a place with no cars around us. That is what is so neat about Venice. It is the ideal place to take walks.

All the walking made us hungry and we stopped in a tiny restaurant tucked in one of the alleys.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Venice - Unique in Every way

We decided to visit Venice first in part because it is so close to Aviano. We traveled about 20 minutes from Aviano Air Base to the Pordenone train station. We purchased train tickets and waited around 45 minutes for its departure. While waiting I made a trip to the potty. Kevin had warned me about the toilets in Pordenone Train Station which are on the ground. The whole experience was not bad as I thought. The trip from Pordenone to Venice took around one hour. The picture on the left shows Pordenone Train Station

I looked forward to seeing with my own eyes the beauty and uniqueness of Venice and I was not disappointed. I believe it truly is a unique place. Venice exists since the 10th century when it was considered a Byzantine Province and it was built on low mud banks facing the Adriatic Sea.

We walked outside the Venice Train station and came out to this open plaza, the Grand Canal was an incredible sight.

We walked in awe of the beauty surrounding us. Kevin who had already been to Venice suggested we take the Vaporetto (the water bus)to get to Plaza San Marco. This gave us the chance to ride on the Grand Canal which winds through the heart of the city and see the beautiful palaces and buildings. This is much economical and faster that riding the Gondola.

The Grand Canal
There was plenty of room inside the vaporetto, the most economical water transportation
At the mouth of the Grand Canal we saw the Baroque church of Santa Maria della Salute
Beautiful ornate architecture like this was in every corner
This picture represents a very old and not as ornate building but I was fascinated and in awe that such buildings are still standing up.
Artistic door knobs like this one are seeing on home doors.
This is one of my favorite pictures and it shows a typical narrow street in Venice.
We did a lot of walking and the best treat and my favorite was the gelato (italian ice cream). We paid 1.5 euros in Venice for one scoop but in some places like Rome you could pay as much as 3 euros.

Behold the amazing Gelato
More of Venice later on so..................

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Our First Night out in Aviano

We took it easy our first Sunday since we were so tired after the long plane ride. Our nice dark rooms in the apartment were just right for a nice nap. We both did rest some, we had not slept at all in the plane. It's amazing how much a good night rest is needed.

Sunday evening Kevin drove us around Pordenone and Aviano, the two nearest towns to Aviano Air base. We stopped at a restaurant which had a fixed menu, that is for 12 euros all courses were included including the wine.

Hearty Bean soup, a salad and wine was just what I needed.

Kevin enjoyed a pasta dish, a meat dish and patata fritta (french fries minus ketchup) You don't get any ketchup in Italy.

I usually do not order desserts after a meal but I could pass this delicious Tiramisu.


We Settle in the Temporary Lodging Facility

Our home away from home in Aviano Air Base was very comfortable. The small apartment which is also part of the Mountain View Lodge was within walking distance of Kevin's dorm, the Commissary, the food court, the gym and the theater. The apartment was fully furnished so we were able to fix meals when we did not eat out. Each bedroom had a TV. Kevin brought some of his movies. He was surprised we had not seen Iron Man.

I really liked the sink drainer which was a eye level.

Full view of the kitchen


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Arrival to Aviano Air Base October 5, 2008

The trip from the Marco Polo Airport to Aviano Air Base took just under an hour. As I said we pleaded with our son to slow down a bit on the autostrada. Thank you so much Kevin for driving us around.

The Air Base is located in Aviano very close to a portion of the Alps. This is a striking and beautiful facility which was established by Italy in 1911. Read about it the Wikepedia link. We stayed in the largest Area F also known as the Flight Line Area. We had access to the commissary, food court, movie theater, gym...etc...during our stay. Our small apartment was part of the Mountain View Lodge. I loved the sight of the mountains every morning. Our apartment was a short distance from Kevin's dorm. On this our first day we took it easy, getting familiar with the surroundings and walked to the commissary, post office, the movie theater and the food court. Admission to the matinee cost only $4.00 and $4.50 at night. During our stay we saw two movies: Hancock with Will Smith and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

View of the temporary lodging facility where we stayed.

Ready to take a walk on a beautiful Sunday afternoon

View of the dorms

Smileycons!We had great weather every day. Temperatures were in the seventies on most days.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Italian Autostrada - A Speeder's Dream...Not Mine

We took the Autostrada from the Marco Polo Airport and exited at Pordenone a town about 15 minutes from the Aviano Air base.

There is no speed limit and to us it was a little scary. Cliff took a picture of Kevin's speedometer. We told him to slow down and he did to make us happy.

The video I found in You Tube will give you an idea on how fast people can go.

My Italy Trip - The Beginning

Our exciting adventure began on Saturday October 4, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. when my dear friend Connie picked us up to take us to the Airport. There is something so special about a friend picking you up and not having to worry about long term parking and parking fees. Connie you are a blessing, this really meant a lot to us. Our first destination to Atlanta left around 1 p.m. The next flight from Atlanta to Venice would take 10 hours. Most of this flight was at night and we did not sleep at all, due to the jet noise, people talking on the back constantly and the toilet noise. Our seats were at the very back of the plane. At some point in the night there was a commotion, I looked back and saw a lady laying on the floor. The doctors on board were called to help out. Turned out the lady's blood pressure rose and after giving her oxygen she was okay. We were both worn out but excited about meeting Kevin.
Waiting for our Venice flight in Atlanta

Me and Kevin at the Marco Polo Airport in Venice
It was so nice to see Kevin after almost a year.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ghoulish Carrots

Our carrot harvest turned out a little strange.

These carrots have been growing all summer in the garden in decent soil so I don't know what went wrong. Maybe we planted them at the wrong time and this makes a difference.

These three really stood out from the bunch. Mama Carrot, Papa Carrot and Junior.

These two I peeled look ok, but they were not sweet at all.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I love Chai !!

My Mother's Day Gift from AndreaGot a nice surprise this Friday afternoon. I had been meaning to order Chai from Flip Flop Mamma but before I could do it my darling daughter sent me some. Flip Flop Mamma makes a very good instant Chai Mix. I just love it. My daughter knows how much I love it. During my last visit every afternoon I wanted my chai. It's very refreshing and uplifting. Thank You -- Thank You. You made me feel special.

Iced chai is my favorite. Here I am enjoying the smell of the warm chai.
Smelling the chai

Cheers - Happy Mothers Day to my wonderful daughter and to all the Mothers I know!!

The best Chai