Sunday, January 22, 2012


Nate returned from the field at the end of October and with only a month before he would leave again, we began taking advantage of our Italian home. We wine tasted with friends to some of the best wineries we have been to in the Valpolicella region (near Verona) and discovered our new favorite red wine, Amarone.

  We also traveled to Garmisch, Germany for a long weekend, hoping to enjoy the views of snow covered Alps and the charm of small town Germany.  Although, it was a wonderful and relaxing weekend, there was absolutely no snow :(  We have plans to return again later this winter in hopes of skiing and getting to enjoy those snow covered peaks (which at present are still rather bare for this late in the season).
No snow in the Alps:(

Bavarian dinner in Garmisch

Talented isn't he?

I love the mountains!

With Nate due to leave for Jumpmaster school in Georgia the day after Thanksgiving, we hosted Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday before.  I was a little concerned about cooking a large turkey for 8 in my small Italian oven, so we made plans to fire up the grill and try cooking that way.  With an Italian "leggy" turkey thawing in the fridge on Saturday, Nate and I set out to participate in the Army sponsored Turkey Trot at a nearby lake and wouldn't you know it, we won a turkey!  So now we had two turkeys to prepare:)  I ended up fitting the Italian turkey in my miniature Italian oven and armed with online step-by-step instructions, Nate grilled our winning Butterball turkey.... it was excellent!!!!  Both turned out great, but I must say, Nate will be in charge of grilling all future turkeys ( it was THAT good).  It was a wonderful holiday spent with several of our friends, eating, laughing and playing games.
"Turkey Trotters"

Italian turkey cookin'

Grilling our prize turkey

Proud GrillMaster

The Spread...Mmmmmm

And since we had already celebrated Thanksgiving the Sunday before, we had pizza from our local pizzeria on actual Thanksgiving and it too was delicious!

Looked out our window the day after Thanksgiving wondering what the noise was and we had hundreds of new "neighbors"

Next up, back in the states for the holidays!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Catching Up

Clearly we are months behind in posting, so my hope for the new year (note: not a resolution... I make no guarantees) is to be more on top of my blogging.

Anywho, shortly after returning from our amazing Mediterranean cruise, Nate left for in-field training in Germany.  This was a two month training exercise, so rather than stay in Vicenza by myself, I flew back to the states to visit my family.  I got to enjoy a month of the wonderful Oregon summer weather and travel to Chicago and then Iowa with my brother for his med school interviews.  We stopped in Iowa City for a quick visit with Nate's family then returned to Oregon.   Soon after, I flew back to Italy with my mom, dad and brother in tow.  It was great to have them around for two weeks since Nate was still gone and it was fun to show them around our new home and introduce Justin to Europe for the first time.   We did the usual sights around Vicenza, including a day trip to Venice and visits to the wineries, but by far his favorite part of the visit, was the trip up to Germany.  He thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Hofbrauhaus and sampling all the fantastic German beer... I think my dad was happy to have a "drinking buddy" along too.  Much to Nate's dismay (since he was not along) we stayed right across the street from the famous beer hall in a hotel with our name (The Platzl Hotel).

Overlooking Vicenza

Cin Cin!


Drinks on the way up to Germany

Hofbrauhaus Mama!

Glockenspiel in Munich

Happy Hofbrauhaus Patrons... just need some lederhosen

After a couple days in Munich, we traveled to the small Alp town of Garmisch, a beautiful place situated among the massive peaks with small town charm.  We hiked along the Partnach Gorge, then warmed up with a delicious German dinner of Wiener Schnitzel, Pork Knuckle, Potato Soup and Schnitzel..... oh and of course more beer.  Though it rained heavily on our second day, we enjoyed touring some of the small shops before heading back to Italy.
Walking along the Partnach Gorge

Garmisch, Germany

Pork Knuckle... a good Bavarian dinner

Before the family left, we made a quick trip down to Florence (one of our favorite cities) and again climbed the Duomo and visited Michaelangelo's David.  Amazing as always!

View from the Duomo

More beer.... in Italy

The two week visit flew by with wine tasting, amazing dinners, and sightseeing, and before I knew it my parents and Justin were on flights back to the states......  10 days until Nate would return :(  It was a rather quiet week and a half and it was wonderful to have him back after 65 days apart.  (Not very newlywed like).

By then, we had reached the beginning of November..... Wow!  We set out to make the most of our time together, knowing Nate would be leaving again the day after Thanksgiving....