Friday, April 2, 2010

Benvenuti (welcome) tour

Today we went on the benvenuti tour, which the base provides to give you a small introduction to the local area.  It was so nice to get off base and explore, even if it was on someone else’s schedule.  We’re a little secluded right now since we don’t have a car and relying on people you don’t know very well for rides is hard.  Hopefully this weekend or next week we’ll get a car and that will solve that problem.

I finally took some (okay, a lot) of pictures!  Here’s the view of the mountains from the base.  It snowed up there yesterday, but all the ski resorts up there are closing this weekend.IMG_0239IMG_0243

The first stop on the tour was at this spring that originates over 600 feet into the mountain.  It was absolutely beautiful.IMG_0269

This is very typical architecture around here.  Very old buildings that are “dirty” looking, with shutters.  Every building here, new and old, has shutters like that on all the windows.  And the Italians all close them when they leave.  They never leave them open if they’re not at the house.

IMG_0287   The stream from the spring.IMG_0253 IMG_0266  IMG_0275 There were little steps everywhere going into this water so obviously people swim here.  It was maybe a few feet deep and crystal clear.  And that cobblestone lane -  they’re EVERYWHERE around here.  SO pretty.IMG_0285

Next we went to another town and parked in front of this church to go to the market.  (I don’t remember which towns these are.  Abbie was up at 2:30am and screamed until 6:30am, so she was a bear on part of the trip and we were trying to keep her quiet instead of listening to the tour.  Plus I’m so tired I’m not sure I’d remember the names if they were tattoo’d on my forehead at the point…) IMG_4850

Anyway, each little town around here has a center where they hold their markets.  Usually it’s by the bell tower, and each town has one of those.  These vendors move from town to town every day to sell their stuff.  It was so quaint and just exactly what you picture the Italian lifestyle to be like.   It’s not like in the US though.  You don’t touch the food especially here.  You point to what you want and the vendor gets it for you.IMG_4839 IMG_4842 The flower vendors were AMAZING.  There were probably 3-4 of them at this market, and a few more that sold potted flowers and plants.  Everyone here has their own gardens and they grow about 80% of their own food.  I can’t wait to plant my garden!  At the market there were LOTS of little old ladies carrying their huge bouquets of flowers upside down.  I thought it was odd that they all carry them with the flowers facing down, but they did.

IMG_4844 When I took this picture, there was a seafood vendor (yes, they sell seafood at these markets and we even saw one that had live eels for sale.. EW!) off to the left of me, and he was singing Italian music loudly along with the radio.  (Think the song from Lady and the Tramp when they were eating the spaghetti – very similar to that!)  Most streets through these towns are as wide as the one pictured below.

IMG_4846 Next we went to visit the Duomo di San Marco, the church of St. Mark.  (Proud of myself for remembering that.)  However, I don’t remember all the history behind that or where it was…   IMG_4850 After that we visited a chocolatier and tasted the chocolate.  Even Abbie tasted some.  The tour guide was tickled pink when he fed it to her.  All this below is made of chocolate.IMG_4888IMG_4855 IMG_4861 This is the main shopping road in Pordenone. (Pronounced pour-deh-no-nay.)  Apparently it’s very busy in the summer.  There were TONS of shops along here and the church above was at the end of it.


Next we went to eat at this place.  It was like an upscale B&B type place.  The food was very good and the setting was gorgeous.IMG_4902

Lane to the restaurant.IMG_4900

Front of B&B.IMG_4898

Back of B&B.  I feel like I keep saying this, but again, it was beautiful!IMG_4896We sat with very nice people during lunch and I tried to engage in conversation with them, but after lunch was over, I was seriously struggling to even keep my eyes open, let alone talk.  It was really bad.  I could have easily curled up on the floor right then and there and taken a good nap.  Abbie FINALLY fell asleep here also.   IMG_4894

Lastly, we went to a winery for some wine tasting.  Most places around here have at least a few grape plants and they all make their own wine, whether they sell it or not.  This place was an official winery.

IMG_4914 IMG_4912  Again, Abbie was zonked out.  At least I was fairly awake at this point.  I’d taken a little nap on the bus ride to the winery.IMG_4917

The red wines.IMG_4920

The white wines.


Wine tasting, and the owner of the winery.IMG_4923 IMG_4945

We bought 4 bottles of wine for 13Euros.  Wine is VERY cheap over here, and very good.

Overall, the tour was great.  I just wish I’d been more with it.  We saw hundreds of things that we wanted to go back and check out, and the tour guides talked about many places in the surrounding area that we should look at.  The only problem was, they’re Italian, and have a thick Italian accent, and I had no clue what they were saying, let alone how to write it down to remember it.  Mark and I had to laugh a few times.  They add an “eh” sound at the end of most words, especially at the end of a sentence.  “Kids-eh”.  “Class-eh”.  Ticket was “Tee-kay-teh”.  And purchase was “pour-chase-eh”.  Their english was very good, but there’s definitely a learning curve to understanding Italians who speak English, let alone when they speak Italian…  But it was fun.   I finally feel like my blog is “real” again, now that I finally posted pictures.


Tanya and Patrick McNally said...

It looks so beautiful!

Brian and Erika said...

Beautiful Blog Monica! What an adventure you guys are on. I'm a little jealous, but a lot of happy for you:)
Miss you so much.