Friday, August 12, 2011

Where to begin...

We’ve been back now for nearly a week following a whirlwind two weeks, so I figured I should be updating the blog.  Nate is back to work now after two weeks of block leave and things at work have been pretty hectic since the brigade’s return.  To add to the craziness that follows a two-week break, the brigade is getting ready for some big training exercises in the next couple of months.  Needless to say, I have not and will not be seeing much of my husband. 
Good-looking guy :)

            We did, however, take full advantage of his time off.  Just before Nate’s first week of leave, my mom and sister arrived (Yay! Our first visitors!).  We had a great time showing them around Vicenza and taking them to some of our favorite places- including the gelato shop down the street, where they too became well known by the girls who work there.  

While they were here, all four of us took the train down to Florence for three days.  It was a welcome return for the three ladies who have all made the trip to Florence several times before, but it was Nate’s first time, so I was excited to show him around one of my favorite European cities.  We of course toured the Duomo and climbed the Campanile Tower that overlooks it, and made a special visit to see David.  And I must say that I am still in awe of Michelangelo’s masterpiece even after four visits!  I think I can also say that Nate was quite impressed as well… especially by David’s chiseled abs.

My husband breaks rules and took a picture:P

Our "fabulous" faces... all the Italians pose very seriously for their pictures.  We tried to fit in.

Nate and I agree that we will have to make another trip south when it’s not the peak of tourist season, as the crowds were some of the worst I’ve seen while visiting.  We did however enjoy our hike to the top of the Campanile overlooking the Duomo, meandering through the outdoor market, walking across the river to gaze at Florence from the hilltop, and eating at some of the best restaurants in Italy.

We think we're so funny:)

After three days of the crowds, we were all happy to return to the quieter Vicenza, however.  Once back, my mom, sister and I traveled to nearby Nove, which is known for their ceramics.  Factories there produce pottery for Williams Sonoma, Tiffany’s, and many others and we had a great time browsing the aisles and finding great deals on items that go for 5 times as much in the states!  One of the highlights of the family visit was the trip to the Piovene Porto Godi winery, which is Nate and my favorite (written about in a previous post)!  I think after the visit, it is now my mom and sister’s favorite too.  We all came away with several bottles that posed packing dilemmas as the visit came to an end. It was great to see part of my family, though the visit flew by and seemed short.  I’m looking forward to both my parents visiting in October, when the weather is cooler and the crowds have thinned.



Wine tasting!


            Following the quick week with visitors, Nate and I set sail on a Mediterranean cruise to Croatia, Greece, and Turkey…..  More on those adventures to come.