Friday, April 30, 2010

A Friday full of errands.

Abbie has been having gray colored poops lately (sorry if that’s TMI), so I decided to take her to the doctor.  I wasn’t all that worried about it since she was acting pretty normal, but I read online that that can be a sign of her liver not working properly, so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything serious.  I had mentioned to my parents the night before that I was taking her in on Friday and apparently I freaked them out.  My mom already had plans to give Abbie a part of her liver and everything.  =)  I come by my worrying naturally, that’s for sure.  Mark said he was surprised half my mom’s liver wasn’t on ice and halfway to Italy by Friday morning.   But the pediatrician checked her out and Abbie’s just fine.  She was 20.01lbs, which concerned me a little since she was like 19.5lbs at her 9 months appointment 2.5 months ago.  But her ped. said that was normal and that she’s still at the 45% on the growth chart for weight.  (She was at the 50th, so nothing to be concerned about.)

Abbie and I ran a whole bunch of errands after her doctors appointment.  While we were waiting for Mark to get off work we ran into a guy that was in Mark’s IFF class at Vance in the post office.  The poor guy had just gotten to Italy a few hours earlier and the guy that picked him up at the airport dropped him off at the hotel on base and left him there.  He wasn’t familiar with the base or the area, had no way to get around, had no cell phone or anything – the guy had just dumped him there.  I was pretty upset for him.  So we got him a cell phone and went to the BX to get him adapters for his electronics.  I drove him around base and pointed out the buildings that I knew and then gave him a quick tour of Aviano before Mark called.  We went and met Mark and then we all went out for dinner.  I think it was an act of God that we ran into each other at the post office.  If we hadn’t he would have been stuck all weekend with no way to get a hold of anyone (he didn’t know Mark’s cell #) and no way to get around.

Before we ran into Mark’s friend we stopped by a greenhouse near base.  It was AMAZING!  I could have easily spent 200Euro on plants, but I didn’t buy anything because I knew if I started I wouldn’t stop.  So I’ll take Mark back there sometime soon and he can help me pick them out.  I’m very excited about that!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In our new house

Well we moved in to our house yesterday.  We’ve moved around quite a bit – this is our 5th in 5 years – so moving is nothing new to us.  However, moving into a house overseas is an entirely different ballgame and at least 10 times more difficult.  Granted, part (maybe most) of the added difficulty is trying to organize things while chasing after a very active 11 month old, but even taking her out of the picture, it’s still been tough.

You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to organize when you don’t have closets, and have VERY limited cabinet space.  We went from having a HUGE linen closet, 4 drawers, and a double cabinet in our master bathroom in Phoenix, to having a medicine cabinet here.  Things will get a little better once we get our HHG’s (household goods) since I’ll have a few more shelves to place around the house to put some of my junk.

Mark and I luckily loaded up half of the car we rented on Monday night.  And it’s a good thing we rented that car also, because we would have had to take at least 3-4 trips with our Lancia.  (We rented this piece of JUNK Opel Astra for 15Euros a day.  But seriously, I’m surprised it’s legal to rent this car.  We discovered yesterday that the brake lights don’t even work on it.  But it’s a station wagon so we had it loaded to the max with suitcases and dog cages and anything else we could shove in there.)  Mark had called on Monday to ask when the guys were going to deliver our FMO furniture and they told him late morning/ early afternoon.  So we got up around 8am and packed up a shopping cart full of plastic bags full of all of our stuff.  The cart was completely full and we crammed all that stuff into the back of the Opel.  Around 10am I ran to the BX to get a cooler to put all our refrigerated food in and then had to drop off cookware we borrowed from Airmen and Family Readiness.  I was just turning all the cookware in when Mark called and said that he just got a call from the FMO guys and they were at our house waiting for us.  Nice.  The one time the Italians are actually early for something was about the most inconvenient timing for us.  So I literally ran to the car, dropped the coolers off to Mark, traded him cars so I had the rental and he had the Lancia with Abbie’s car seat and the dogs, and left.  I got about a mile away from base before I realized that the damn house key was on the keys to the Lancia that I’d just given to Mark.  Grr..  So I turned back around, went back on base, got the keys, and headed out for the 2nd time.  I got from base to our house in about 16 mins, which is about 5 mins faster than normal.  Luckily when you drive like a maniac you blend in with the Italians and you pretty much don’t have to worry about getting pulled over for speeding.  (Because even when you are speeding, people are still passing you.)  Thankfully the FMO guys weren’t upset that they had to wait.

So now we’re kind of settled into the house.  We’re still living out of suitcases since they gave us 1 dresser for all 3 of us.  We now have 5 wardrobes, which will be our closets, but one wardrobe is about half the size of Abbie’s closet in Phoenix, so it’s going to be a trick to fit all our clothes into 3 of those.  (We put one downstairs for random junk and one upstairs for my craft stuff.)  I’m still trying to find places to shove things in the kitchen and it’s turning into a situation where you open a cabinet and things fall out of it they’re so full.  It’ll be better once we get our HHG’s and make our big Ikea run. 

Our biggest challenge moving here is figuring out the stupid outlets.  Germany and Italy have similar, but different, outlets and plugs.  They’re very similar, but Germany plugs are a tight fit into Italy outlets.  And naturally most of the things they sell here are German…  So we have to buy adapters to get the German plugs into the Italian outlets.  And Italian outlets aren’t like American outlets where there are 2 places to plug things in in each outlet.  There’s only 1 place to plug things in per outlet, so we had to buy a bunch of those adapters that have spaces to plug 3-4 things into one outlet.  And then we also need adapters to plug our American plugs into Italian outlets.  And I fried our modem because I forgot it needed to be plug into a transformer and I plugged it in just using an adapter instead of a transformer…  So now we need a new one of those.  Oops.  Oh, and every time we turn on our 2000 watt transformer, it blows the circuit breaker for the entire house, so we have no clue how to get that to work.  Even if everything else in the entire house is off, except for the fridge, it’ll still blow the breaker.  We haven’t figured that one out yet…

Monday, April 26, 2010

weekend happenings

We had a pretty good weekend this weekend.  The weather was beautiful and we got out and saw a little more of Italy.

Saturday we went to Ikea to ideas on what we wanted/needed to buy for our house.  We left Ikea after spending only 34Euros (about $42), mainly because everything we wanted/needed to buy wouldn’t fit into our car.  We’re going to have to rent a van to drive down there to get most of the stuff.  I did pick out a sewing table though, and it’s only going to be about 40Euros, which I’m super excited about.  That’s probably about the cheapest thing we’ll be buying though…  We’ll just have to go next month, after our CC is paid off.  (Buying a car on a CC is great for points, but it’s hard to see a balance that high on it.  We bought the Lancia on the CC.)

Sunday we were going to go to church, but I’ve been sick (again) so we didn’t set an alarm and none of us woke up until 9am.  So we didn’t go to church.  Instead we went out to the house to take a few more things out there, and then try to get some of the boxes from the fast shipment unpacked.  Abbie makes that next to impossible though. She screamed/whined/cried for the majority of the time we were there.  Mark and I feel bad for the neighbors.  The neighborhood is so quiet and calm and quaint, and then here comes Abbie, making more noise than all the 10+ other people that live on our street put together.  And so far every single time we’ve been out at the house, she’s been pretty pissy.  She’s quite the handful…

On our way back from the house, we decided to take the “back way” home and drive to Piancavallo, which is a town about 25km from our house.  (About 15 miles.)  We’d never been there, but we heard it was neat, so we followed the signs.  I guess I knew it was near/at the top of the mountain, but I wasn’t at all expecting the drive up or what we found when we got to the top.

First of all, it took us probably 30-40 mins to drive to the top of the mountains.  There were probably at least 40 switchback turns on the drive up.  It was crazy.  You don’t realize how tall the mountains are until you’re driving up them.  The views were BEAUTIFUL.  They say on a clear day, you can see Venice from the top, but it was hazy yesterday so we didn’t see it.  We did see a few hang-gliders though and we saw the little ramp near the top of the mountain where the hang-gliders and para-gliders take off.  On our way home there were SIX para-gliders floating around in the air.  It’s pretty neat to see.  Anyway, so we finally got to Piancavallo, and it was just beautiful.  It’s this quaint little Austrian looking town with lots of lodges and chalets in the middle of the mountains.  You can see quite a few of the ski slopes weaving further up into the mountains and there was still a foot of snow on the ground in some places up there.  It was really neat.

So we drove around Piancavallo a little bit, and then I saw a sign for Barcis – 15km.  (I think that’s pronounced Bar-keys.)  I’d seen pictures of Barcis on FB so we thought, eh, 15km, lets go check it out.  Yeah, that 15 km (9ish miles) took us at least 45 mins.  The road down the other side of the mountain was absolutely insane.  It was beautiful though.  The trees were so green, most of the time there was a “creek” – that is probably a raging river during snow melts – along the road about half the time.  There were sheer cliffs on one side of the road and sheer drop offs on the other.  We saw a few waterfalls and went through a tunnel.  It was amazing.  The 9 miles of road was probably less than a mile down the mountain as the crow flies, but the twists and turns of the road were just amazing.  It was on of the prettiest drives I’ve ever been on.  As we got near the bottom all of a sudden this GORGEOUS lake comes into view with this little town nestled along one side of it.  The water of the lake was the most aqua/green water I’ve ever seen.  We were trying to get to the town on the other side of the lake from where we were, so we turned left to try to go around the lake that way.  It was the wrong way to turn, but we saw neat scenery during our detour.  There was a mostly dry riverbed along the road we were driving on.  There was a little stream of water weaving through this riverbed, and LOTS of people had tents and tables and chairs set up in the middle of the dry part of the riverbed.  There were tiny little waterfalls coming down the mountain and several little parks right along the river, along with walking suspension bridges.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

We finally pulled out the GPS and it told us we needed to go the other way around the lake, so we back-tracked to our original turn off and then went straight and finally worked our way around to the town of Barcis.  We had the weinas with us, so we walked along the lake looking for food.  (It was 4pm and I was starving.)  We found a gelato place so we had some of that, and enjoyed the view.  We sat and looked at the lake and the surrounding mountains.  The lower mountains were so green and lush, and the higher mountains were a series of jagged cliffs and peaks that were still snow-covered.   And we discovered there is a MUCH easier way to get to Barcis on the way home.  There’s a main road that goes directly through the mountain, which is a heckuva lot faster than than driving up and over.

And you’re probably wondering why there are no pictures.  Well, I didn’t have my camera along.  And it wouldn’t have done any good if I had had it along since I only have 10 pictures left on the 3rd SD card.  HOPEFULLY the camera and SD card I ordered a MONTH ago will be here this week, but even if it isn’t, we should have our desktop computer hooked up this week so I can transfer all the pictures on the SD cards onto that.  Next time I’ll take LOTS of pictures.  Or better yet, some visit and you can see it for yourself!

Here’s a photo I got off the internet, just to give you an idea of what it looks like, but this photo does it absolutely NO justice.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2 firsts

We discovered today that Abbie can climb stairs.  I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but either way, she flies up them.  Coming down is a different story though.  We’re trying to teach her how to go down backwards, but she didn’t quite get it today.  However, by the 2nd time up the stairs, she wasn’t even using her knees anymore – just hands and feet!

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Hanging out in her new play pen while we were unpacking a few things. IMG_5483

The other thing she did today for the first time was stand up by herself without hanging on to anything!  I was laying on our front porch with her, waiting for the movers.  She crawled up next to me and pushed up to her feet on me, but still hand her hands on me, and then she just pushed off me with her hands and stood up next to me all by herself for about 3 seconds before she realized what she was doing and then grabbed on to me again.  But she wasn’t wobbly or anything.  She just straightened up and then stood there.  I think she’ll be walking soon.  Unfortunately Mark missed it.

Oh, and she’s recently started taking our cell phones and holding them up to her ear.  It’s pretty cute.  Except she holds them in her hand, and then bends her wrist and holds the back of her hand up to her ear with the phone in her hand.  It’s pretty funny.  I need to get a picture of it.

Our house in Sarone

So we took a bunch of our big stuff from our TLF room over to the house today.  Our TLF looks much less cluttered now.  Unfortunately I can’t say the same thing for the house.  But I took pictures before we messed it all up with our unorganized junk.  (It is hard to organize though when you have nothing to organize with…)

Here’s the load in the back of the truck we borrowed.IMG_5440

This is going to be our guest room/ hang out room.  That little area in the back with the light on is where the guest bed will go.  We’re going to figure out how to make that opening smaller so it’s more private.


This is the other side of the guest/hang out room.  That’s a fireplace in the corner.  The stairs you see outside the door lead up to the main floor.


Stairs leading to the main floor.  That door on the right is the door to the garage.  The door on the left is a storage room, along with the door you can barely see, straight back.  Also, the wall behind the door on the right is the downstairs guest bathroom.


Same stairs, different angle.


Here’s the downstairs guest bathroom (half of it).  Our washer and dryer will also go in here.


I’m standing in the living room taking this picture.  That’s the front door on the left, and the kitchen straight ahead.  (Told you they have VERY small kitchens in Italy.  How I’m going to fit all my kitchen stuff in that space is beyond me…)


Here’s the outside of the house.  That’s the rock wall I was talking about before, that they’re going to put a fence along.


Here’s the yard behind the house, that you can see out the bathroom and master bedroom windows.


The side yard, and the landlords house off in the distance.


Here’s a better picture of the kitchen.


And here’s the living room, as viewed from the kitchen.


These are the views from our kitchen window.

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This is the view from the front door.  Straight back is the bathroom, and down the hallway to the left is our room, and to the right is Abbie’s room.


Here’s Abbie’s room.


Here’s the bathroom.  (Yes, it has a bidet.)


And here’s our master bedroom.  (The upstairs room is probably the master bedroom, because it has an attached bathroom, but there is no way in hell I’m having Abbie downstairs on the main level and us up on another level.  Not with the chance of random people breaking in to our house at night.)


Here’s the view from the upstairs bedroom window.  This is probably at least 60% of the reason we love the house.


This is the upstairs bedroom that we’ll be using as a computer/play/sewing/extra guest bedroom.

IMG_5475Here’s the attached bathroom on the upstairs bedroom.  (And it has a bidet also.)


The ceiling of the upstairs room.  We love it.


So there’s the grand tour.  We are excited about moving into this house, despite the fact that there’s not a single closet in it.  I really have no clue where I’m going to stash all my junk.  We went around today and installed little alarms on all of the ground floor windows.  I’m half tempted to spring for a security system to be put on it.  Kelly, from the previous post, said they paid like 2500Euro (which is a lot more in $$ right now) to have a security system installed on their house.  At this point, I think the piece of mind might be worth it, even though we don’t have $4000 laying around to spend on it, especially since we can’t take it with us when we leave if we did install it.  If any of you have any cheap home security tips, I’m all ears!  Let me know what you think of our house!

Who’s coming to stay with me?

We borrowed an F-150 from friends in the squadron today so we could move our stuff from the TLF’s into our house.  When we dropped the truck off at their house, I got to talking to Kelly (owner of the truck).  She was telling me about the time they got robbed.  And how one of their neighbors recently got robbed.  And how a different neighbor got robbed 3 times in ONE month.  And how a friend of hers woke up in the middle of the night because her German Sheppard was growling and found a man at the foot of her bed….

So Kelly woke up one morning and found a rug from their porch all rolled up in the middle of the hallway outside their bedroom door.  She thought it was strange, but thought it was her kids.  (She has 3 boys.)  She walked a little further and found PVC piping from the yard in their house also.  After wandering around find odd things all over the place (apples from their kitchen table in the front yard, passport, wallets, visas on a bench on their front porch) they realized they’d been robbed while they all were sleeping.  The scary thing was, the wallets that they found on the front porch had been on the night stand right next to her husband, who was asleep.  They think they were gassed because they all woke up with horrible headaches, and they (not even the dog) didn’t wake up while people were roaming their house.  They found where the robbers drilled 2 holes in their window to break the lock and open it.

So this is the 3rd personal account I’ve heard of people getting robbed here.  Apparently the gypsies are only after gold and Euros.  They’ll leave all electronics, credit cards, and usually leave dollars, but they take Euros.  The thing about Italian law is that they won’t prosecute people for stealing from someone.  Even if you catch them in the act and call the police, the police here won’t do anything about it.  When Kelly got robbed and called the police, they didn’t even write anything down that she said.  And it is illegal for you to do anything to the robbers, even if you find them in your bedroom in the middle of the night.  You cannot physically harm them at all because Italians value people more than property and you will get in serious trouble for even scratching an intruder.  If we, as Americans, were to harm someone, even in defense of our property, the Air Force would deport us immediately, to protect us from the Italian government, which could lock you up for a long time if they caught you.  If an intruder comes on to your property and your dog bites them, that’s not good at all.  Even if you have “beware of dog” signs up, the robber can get your dog in trouble if it bites them, even if they’re on your property uninvited.   Talk about messed up, and scary!

Kelly was also telling me about a friend of hers who had a yellow lab.  Her friend got a call from the Italian police telling her to come to the station with 1200Euro to get her dog.  Apparently someone had hit her dog with their car, and it did damage to the persons car, so her friend had to bring money to pay for the damage to the persons car to get her dog back.  That’s also why they don’t have garage sales here.  I guess one of her friends tried to have a garage sale and the people that came to the sale just walked in to her house and started helping themselves to things in her house that weren’t for sale.  She was plucking things out of people’s arms as she was yelling at them to get out of her house.  The people here know that you can’t do anything to them when they take your things, without you getting into serious trouble, so they help themselves.  The gypsies also come to your house when they know you’ll be home, because they know your wallet full of money will be there when you are.

Needless to say, it’s scary to hear about all of this.  It wouldn’t be nearly as bad if I knew Mark was going to be home every night, but the reality is that he’ll be gone the majority of the time, and I’ll be there by myself with Abbie and the weinas.  So, who wants to come stay with me for 4 months early next year?  Or 4 different people can come for a month each.  Or 16 different people can come for a week each?  Please?  Anything so I don’t have to be alone.  With the gypsies.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More house drama

So the military give us an allowance for our housing here.  Our cap is 1280Euro, meaning they’ll give us up to that amount to use for a house, unless they decide the house isn’t worth that much, and then they’ll give us whatever they decide the house is worth.

We’ve been trying to get our housing contract back from the inspection guy for the past week.  Yesterday Mark got a hold of the inspection office on the 3rd try and they said the guy had inspected the house and was waiting for a call back from our landlords…  So Mark called the landlord and Cinzia said that she wanted us to come out to the house so she could talk to us.  …. Uh oh.

So since Mark was busy, as he usually is these days, Abbie and I drove out to the house to meet with Cinzia and Loras.  Cinzia is Loras’ daughter and I think Loras actually owns the house, but he doesn’t speak any English and I think Cinzia and her husband Luca get the money from the rent we pay.  Anyway, so I met those to at the house to figure out what’s going on with all of this.

Turns out, the housing inspections guy has put the fear of God into them.  He came out and deemed that the house was only worth 1050Euro, and told them that if they don’t agree to rent it to us for that amount that the military will not give us ANY money at all the rent the house and they’ll make us find another house to rent.  (They were asking 1150Euro + 80Euro for water and trash per month.)  They also told them that now they can’t just charge a flat rate for water and trash, that they have to get receipts for these things from the city and give us the receipts and then we pay them from the receipts.

I felt bad for them and it was a really awkward situation.  They’ve been renting that house for 1150Euro for 8 years and then this guy, who was very rude to them, comes in and tells them is going to be his way or the highway and they just need to deal with it or they won’t let them rent to Americans anymore.  (Side note: the Italians make VERY good money off of the Americans around here.  They charge other people less than half of the amount of rent they charge the Americans typically, because they know what the Americans get in allowances.  So the military put this system into place because the Italians just kept raising their rents to the caps of the allowances, even though they weren’t worth it.  They also made them all put air conditioners in any unit they rent to Americans.  So they’re making good money off of the Americans, and they know it, so they don’t want to lose the contract with the base.)  But anyway, our landlords seem to be very fair and honest people and aren’t trying to screw anyone over, but they were scared and upset after the inspections guy left.  I tried to reassure them that one we got the contract out of the way, that we’d work directly with them and not go through the housing office for everything, but I don’t speak any Italian yet and Cinzia’s English is limited.  I think I got my point across though.

So Mark is supposed to get another contract from housing today and I’m supposed to go out there and meet with them again today after 6pm.  Which is going to be a trick since Mark has to work from 4pm-midnight and we have one car.  So that means I get to take him to work and then wake Abbie up and pick him up at midnight…  Did I mention how much having only one car sucks?  Our unaccompanied baggage is supposed to be at the house tomorrow so we’re supposed to be there from 8am – 8pm…  Don’t think that’s going to happen really, but a couple in Mark’s squadron is letting us borrow their F-150 so we can make 1-2 trips from the TLF’s to the house in the truck vs 10-15 trips in our tiny Lancia.  (That thing is smaller than an Escort, by a lot.)

Anyway, I’m very ready for this housing mess to be behind us.  It’s turned into a much bigger ordeal than it needs to be and has everyone on edge.  Hopefully it’ll all work out.

Abbie Rose is 11 months old!


Yesterday was Abbie’s 11 month birthday.  It’s hard to believe in a month she’ll be a year old..

It’s not the prettiest picture of her, but I finally got a picture of her teeth!  She’s also getting the teeth on either side of her top front teeth, so she now has 6 teeth total.IMG_5374

This is how we find her every morning, standing up in her crib, hanging on to her pony.  (Rachie, did you get her that?)  She loves that pony and is always dragging it around by the leg, and she snuggles with it sometimes at night.

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She can now reach down and pick things up off the floor while she’s standing, as long as she’s holding on to sometime.  And she’s still spitting food out ALL the time.  I don’t know how to stop her from spitting food out.  Pretty much the ONLY food she won’t spit out is cheese and whole wheat bagels and broccoli.  But any other fruit of veggie, she’ll put in her mouth, and chew, but then spit it all out.  It’s super annoying.  And anything pureed, she pretty much spits out right away.  You put it in, and she immediately spits it out.  Sometimes after the 3rd or 4th try she’ll actually swallow it..IMG_5391

Her sleeping is still an issue…  Sometimes she does great, and sleeps from 9pm to 8:30am.  Other times it takes us 2 hrs to get her down, and she wakes up 3 times during the night and screams and then is up at 7am.  I really don’t understand her sleeping habits at all.  And her naps are still a huge fight.  I just gave her a bottle and she was pretty much asleep on me, but as soon as I put her in her crib, she’s up and screaming, and she’s currently in there screaming.  Either I let her scream and she’ll eventually fall asleep, or I go in there and then she won’t go to sleep at all and she’ll miss this nap for the day and then the rest of the day is hell.  I was hoping that one day she’ll just lay down and go to sleep when she’s tired, but she hasn’t yet, and I’m not holding my breath for the future. IMG_5396So she was better from being sick, but now her nose is running all over the place again and she’s sneezing like crazy.  I’m wondering if she has allergies, but I don’t really know.  She doesn’t have a fever, just sneezing and running nose.IMG_5408

So it’s incredibly hard to get a picture of her with my little cards, so this is the best we could do this month.  She just has an agenda of her own these days, which doesn’t include a monthly photo shoot.  We take what we can get, and this is what we got. IMG_5415 IMG_5423

Bedtime for bonzo!  (It’s no big secret when she’s tired, the secret is how in the heck to get her to sleep!) IMG_5430

Saturday, April 17, 2010


We ventured down to Venice (Venezia in Italiano) today for the first time.  It was my and Abbie’s first time in Venice, and Mark’s 2nd.  It’s a beautiful city and fascinating to see.  We had a really good time walking all over the place.IMG_5096  We drove to the Sacile train station, which will be less than 10 mins from our house, and figured out how to buy our tickets from the guy in Italian.  It’s a lot of pointing and hand gestures with a mixture of English and Italian, but we got our point across and got 2 round trip tickets.  We were waiting on the platform for the train to get there when some lady came up and told us that if we were going to Venice that we were on the wrong platform.  How she knew we spoke English or that we were going to Venice is beyond me, but it’s a good thing she said something or we would have watched our train leave without us.IMG_5110

It was about an hour and 20 min train ride to Venice.  Abbie was getting tired so she was pretty pissy and Mark and I were really starting to wonder how much we were going to be able to travel while we live here with her.  She was quite the handful on the way there, but once we got to Venice, she was great!  Thank God!

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We stopped for lunch shortly after we got there and shared a panini and a coke.  The one thing that I don’t like about Italy, in general, is that all the restaurants serve the same type of food, for the most part, ESPECIALLY in touristy areas.  It’s all paninis/wraps, pizzas and pastas and they’re all basically the same types/combinations of flavors.  The food is good, but I guess I like more variety.  Here’s our 3Euro can of Coke.  No joke!


So obviously Venice is full of canals.  They’re just beautiful.  There are guys trying to sell gondola rides EVERYWHERE, but in the Rick Steve’s book we borrowed from friends, it said they’re VERY expensive, so we didn’t even bother to ask prices.  We had more fun walking anyway.

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There are these types of stores with produce and noodles out like these all over Italy.  IMG_5151  We ran across a market that they were having.  They were cleaning most of it up as we got there, but there were still quite a few whole fish around, and they were cutting chucks off of really big ones.  I think these fish are REALLY fresh.IMG_5158 Here’s the produce part of the market.  These never cease to amaze me.  They’re beautiful to look at and we got 2 bananas and an apple for 1Euro.IMG_5161 I had to take a picture of the weina.  We saw 3-4 of them, including a wire-haired!IMG_5112 This is the grand canal.  All the other little canals actually have street names, but this is the main one.IMG_5116 IMG_5119 IMG_5120

IMG_5263 IMG_5169 IMG_5176 Of course we had to try out the gelato (for the first time since we’ve been here).  It was WONDERFUL!IMG_5182 IMG_5187 San Marco’s.

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IMG_5293IMG_5331   IMG_5301  There are these steps all over Venice.  This is how you get on and off all the boats/ gondolas.IMG_5312 IMG_5314 A Venice ambulance!IMG_5320    

Venice was a lot of fun, and I’d love to go back and look at things a little more ‘in-depth’.  This time around it was kind of a quick run-thru where we got the feel of the place.  There are hundreds of shops to look in, and lots of people selling original artwork, so we’d love to go back and buy some of that.  I’m sure we’ll have lots of opportunities to explore Venice more when friends and family come to visit.  If you come to visit us, you really can’t pass up the opportunity to see Venice if you haven’t seen it before.  However, we’ve been told by quite a few people to not spend the night there, so I don’t think we’ll ever do that.  It’s kind of pointless anyway, since we live so close to it.  Why pay outrageous prices for a hotel there, when you can pay 8.80Euro to get home AND we won’t have to board the weinas somewhere.  But we’ll definitely go check it out.  (Mom and dad, I know you said we didn’t have to go while you’re here, but you’d love it, so we should go.)

Mark and I decided that Abbie just gets bored on planes, trains and in cars.  Once we’re out and about, she’s happy as a little clam.  She likes to be worn on our backs, better than our fronts, in the Ergo and she’ll just ride along back there and chatter and point.  She was great the entire time we were in Venice and most of the ride home too.  That Ergo was one of the best $100 we’ve ever spent.


Luckily I found a 2gb SD card for the camera at the BX for $9.95!  Score!  The pictures in this blog aren’t even a fourth of the amount that I took today.  I’ll try to post more on Facebook once we get the big computer hooked up.