Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Moving In!

By far the most exciting news from the past 2 weeks is that we have found a place to live and officially move in today!  Unfortunately our household goods still do not arrive for another week and a half, so we’ll be living pretty minimally with some things the army will provide, but we’re excited to be out of the hotel nonetheless! Our new place is a row house located Northeast of Vicenza in Quinto Vicentino.  Last weekend we rode bikes out to our new home and explored the town a little, discovering an excellent local gelato shop and several good pizzerias and a small Saturday market.  Nate is excited about the “Drunken Duck,” a local pub that receives rave reviews from patrons and boasts a broad beer selection.  We are both anxious to move in and start setting up house and are in love with our three terraces and small backyard, perfect for a garden and barbequing.  Pictures of the new place are below showing off the open kitchen-living room area (notice the Barbie size stove and short fridge…its like the mini version of a kitchen), the backyard and the upstairs terrace.
In other news, we have both passed our Italian driving license tests and are now legal to drive around the country.  It was a great feeling of freedom to receive the small card and realize we could now easily travel on a whim beyond the confines of post.  Consequently, and by the kindness of Nate’s boss who loaned us his car for the weekend, we hit the road without destination and although lost, ended up in Padova (Padua) on Saturday.  More than anything we just enjoyed seeing another area, although Padova boasts a huge Saturday market and a nice pedestrian only town center, not to mention the closest IKEA store very popular by American’s just arriving and in need of additional household supplies.  We will be returning to finish furnishing our houseJ
Also on Saturday, we were treated to a delicious four-course meal at a friend’s house.  His good friend visiting from Turkey and once a chef in Italy, made us an amazing spread of several appetizers followed by white asparagus risotto with lamb shank, sausage and cheese pie, and finished off with tirimisu.  It was a wonderful meal accompanied by excellent wine from a local vineyard and a fun way to celebrate the holiday weekend.
We are looking forward to the coming weeks of settling into our house and finally the arrival of our car and other things.  Italy is definitely starting to feel more and more like home as we gain familiarity with the area and get more comfortable with the customs and language.  Even the local “wine man” recognizes us when we visit.  More to come as we get settled and have access to internet service….. takes awhile to get setup we hear.  Hope everyone had a Happy Easter!  Arrivederci!
Riding Bikes into Quinto Vicentino

The Drunken Duck... our local bar

Our New House!


In the field in front of our house... lots of sheep! They crossed the road just before we got there

Cin Cin!
Living room/kitchen area

Yay spatulas!  Our trip to Ikea
Our house!

Bedroom... and yes, we do have 2 guest rooms:)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ten Days In....

Well, we survived week one of our adventure in Italy!  Though we have struggled to adjust to the time difference and get over jet lag, we are finally almost acclimated (except for the occasional afternoon nap).  Fortunately, the Italians also enjoy the afternoon break and most businesses close around 1pm for a couple of hours.  We were also fortunate to have four days for our first full weekend here in Italy, as the base observed a training holiday.

In an effort to avoid doing too much all at once (and save a little money), we decided early on to limit our travel to local areas initially.  In the last week, we have had the opportunity to explore more of Vicenza and branch out beyond the fences of Caserma Ederle (our home base) while growing more accustomed to the culture, even enjoying an Italian spritz with the locals on the main piazza downtown.  Unfortunately, our Italian is still in need of work and we sound and appear more like cavemen, grunting and nodding our way through ordering.

On Saturday, we ventured further and explored the nearby town of Verona, only a 40 minutes drive to the west.  The town is of course famous for the love story of Romeo and Juliet, but offers far more than just the unofficial tale.  Though we did pay a visit to the balcony where Juliet is said to have stood, we were more impressed by the winding pedestrian-only streets, Roman arena, bustling squares and marketplace and peaceful stroll along the river.  We spent several hours wandering the streets stopping only for lunch and people watching on the main piazza and of course gelato on the way home.  It was a wonderful afternoon and a destination we agree visitors will love to see.

We continue to grow more comfortable in our new home each day..... the wine helps...... and are embracing the delicious food, wine and overall culture, while plotting our next adventure.  The house hunt continues, but we are already excited to share this beautiful area with visitors!  Love and miss you all!

Nate and Leslie
Roman Arena in Verona

Above Vicenza


Wednesday, April 6, 2011



and welcome to our blog!  This is our first blog post and we hope that it is the first of many.  We'll let you in on what we have been up to since the wedding.  We left Hawaii on 29 March and made the flight all the way to Richmond, Virginia - we got very little transition time in between our connections (a theme that will repeat itself) almost missing our connection in Denver.  We made it though, as did our baggage, and we spent the night at Fort Lee only to depart 18 hours later for Italy.  Our travels to Italy took us from Richmond Airport to DC to Frankfurt to Venice.  Like our last trip, our connections were tight and we had to do a sprint through Frankfurt to make our connection - literally getting on the plane as they were shutting the door.  All in all though, we made it with little issues.  For the time being we are staying on Caserma Ederle (the name of our Army Base) in Vicenza, Italy.  We will stay at the hotel on post for about 30 days until we are able to find a house or an apartment that we like and are able to move into it.  The hotel is nice - it has a kitchenette and is close to all the amenities of post.  It's a nice transition from America to Italy as we are surrounded by American culture and close to everything that we need.  The time change is really hitting us hard - our first night here we went out to a nice Italian restaurant, Il Fauina, and had some great food, but we were both extremely exhausted and barely made it through the first course before we were passing out at the table.  We've only explored the market of Vicenza a little, but the little that we saw of it we liked.  We're having to fight the urge to do everything at once as this still feels like a vacation and not a permanent move.  This weekend we will be heading to Verona to check out Lake Garda and the city where Romeo and Juliet takes place.  We'll let you know if we have any troubles with the Montagues or the Capulets.  Also this weekend we will be looking at our first place where we could be living... we'll let you know how it goes.  Oh, we almost forgot - the wine!!!  there is a wine place one kilometer from our hotel that sells two bottles for five euro... a steal because it is amazing wine.  You just bring in any empty bottle and they fill it up for you.  Also, the coffee here is amazing.

Take care,
Nate & Leslie