Goodbye Aviano and hello Rome!

Goodbye Aviano! Working for DoDea has been wonderful. I’ve put in my application and am hopeful. Not sure what it will bring, but I know that I’m excited to see what journey lies ahead. I’m heading out to begin my travels and can’t wait to see that adventure turn out either. Can’t wait to see everyone back home, and will miss the friends I made in Aviano, and will probably visit you back in the states too!

Rome is a gorgeous city. Yesterday my poor teacher dropped me at the train station at 5:30am. I took the 6 o’clock train from Pordenone to Rome. When I arrived I walked the two short blocks to my hotel.  I love my hotel! For the first time in months I have a bath tub!!! There is also a nice balcony patio, and the location couldn’t be better. I took a bath and a nap and at 4pm met up with another student teacher here in Rome to visit Trevi Fountain and see Rome by night.  It was amazing to see this clean brightly lit city. We walked to Trevi, Tritone, to the Spanish Steps, down the shopping street, (I could never afford Jimmy Choo’s or MaxMara, but they looked pretty in the window!) and back to Trevi Fountain for a delicious dinner of eggplant parmesan and spaghetti! Today should be filled with just as much adventure as we head to do the tour of Ancient Rome, and Ancient Rome by night with some crypts and catacombs thrown in!

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Thanksgiving Travels…finally!

So, I’m really bad about updating a blog. Apparently this isn’t just a problem for me, as most people stop or fall of the wagon for periods of time. I’m sorry for that, but I presume most of you lead more important lives then waiting for me to update my blog, but you never know. On that note I havn’t wished anyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it’s a lot late, and Christmas is just around the corner, so Happy Holidays and New Years too! This time just a bit early.

So Thanksgivings’ trip was tagged as Chocolate, Christmas, and Castles Galore! We did all three.

Wednesday after school Geri, Kelsey, and I left to head out of Aviano to the Northwest of Italy. We arrived in Trent, had made good time even with the traffic jam in Venice, but apparently hotels in Italy don’t update their address’ very often, nor provide adequate directions on their websites. We ended up back on the autostrada and at the first gas station approached a man pumping his gas, praying for English as our groups Italian consists of limited vocabulary necessary to make it to the restroom, order food, ask the cost, and say thanks and welcome. He didn’t of course, but his hand directions were adequate and we picked out a few key words.
They didn’t help 2 hours later, we did make it to the hotel and the man’s directions would have been golden if we’d understood maybe one or two more words. The hotel was nice, the carpet made me nauseous, but it was friendly and business oriented. Hotel dinner was awkward. When we walked in the men were all at tables alone facing the same direction for half the room and vice versa. Thank god we were seated in the bar area, still creepy but less so. We had a good meal, Smoked ricotta is delicious!

Thursday we left early to drive to the first castle. We didn’t tour it, because we wanted to get to Munich for Thanksgiving dinner, and try to catch the showing of Harry Potter in English. Plus our chocolate factory visit was that day, and no one misses chocolate! The Ritters Sport Factory was nice, nothing like Hershey or what I expected, but the chocolate was a lot cheaper so I bought a lot! Arriving in Munich a short time later, we drove to the hotel. It just happened to be in the Red Light District, so while a very convenient location to the Platz, somewhat of an awkward arrival. No matter, we stayed and enjoyed turkey weinersnitzel with curry on top and French fries. Not really a Thanksgiving substitute. The city of Munich at night is lit up, our area of town especially mostly with signs like sexy shop, again not really a great Thanksgiving substitute.

Friday we left the hotel early to go to the Munich Christmas Market. I love shopping at these Christmas Markets, they make such wonderful days as I love to shop, and see the city at the same time. We watched the Glockenspiel, shopped till we dropped, and moved on over to the Hard Rock Café and Hofbrahaus. After shopping until the late afternoon we again headed to another castle. This time the Disney Castle Neuschwanstein. Please if you can speak German no commenting on my spelling, I am atrocious at speaking and spelling German!

The ride to Neuschwanstein was entertainment packed, we sang Glee Christmas Carols repeatedly, did a 360 and slid into the snowbank, learned how to put chains on our car, and had a picnic of a dinner in our beautiful castle hotel rooms. Because I’m going back in January and time was short, I didn’t tour the beautiful castles interiors. Instead we walked through the giftshops and had a marvelous time. Leaving early to avoid the snow we drove back to Italy to stay in Riva del Garda. It is a beautiful resort town in both summer and winter. Now let me ask you a question, do I look much like an active hiker? Several times throughout this trip I was given hiking guides, tips, and trails to explore. I was just confused by this as I’m not really an outdoorsy, woodsy person. Regardless, the area around the lake is wonderful, even in the cold weather there were windsurfers and sail boats, people hiking the paths, and visiting the area shops. We had one mission to find the next castle. The next castle was in ruins, but I think the most beautiful of the ones we visited. Don’t know why exactly, but as my favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo maybe it reminds me of the prison. Similar looks actually having been to visit that prison too. At any rate arriving back in Aviano was nice, trips are always exhausting. Getting ready to teach the next day, was a challenge but I managed and pulled it off without a hitch.

Now I know this is really late, so you’re going to get this post plus my goodbye to Aviano and Rome’s first day. I apologize for so many on one day, but I finally have free time.

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Salzburg (The Sound of Music & Christmas Market)

Salzburg is a beautiful city. The castle that sits high on the hill like the fortress it is overlooks a neatly laid town. It make you want to yodel. Yodel-lay-he-who, yodellayhewho yodel yodel yodel yodel le. We didn’t get the chance to make it to the castle because there was too much shopping to be had, and far too many pretend you’re in the Sound of Music shots to be had. See photos below.

As we drove there was this castle on a sheer cliff, and I so wish I had gotten a photo! But no warning whatsoever that it existed, so I couldn’t fumble quickly enough at 7am to get to my camera and get the shot before we’d steamed past it. When we arrived you think that Salzburg is tiny, but it was easy to get lost in the markets and small alleys with warm kokoa!

We crossed the bridge to the Markl Platz to visit the fountain where do-re-mi is sung in Sound of Music. Did a few skips and leaps around and sang like the silly American’s we are! It was worth every minute. But, I loved the shopping best. The hand carved wood is wonderful. The soft wool is so warm, and the string marionettes are a delight to see when the street performers make them dance. I am sad we missed the marionette performance of The Sound of Music, but maybe one day I’ll return.

You’ll be happy to know that for most of you, the souvenirs are finished. But, Germany this weekend for Thanksgiving and still all the travels that are officially booked, yep every last one, will be excuses to buy more. You should see more of my travels over the Holiday Weekend.

Here’s a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Really Quick

Tomorrow morning at 4:30am I will load a bus to Salzburg, with many others, to take advantage of the cheap trip to the Christmas Market. I am so excited to see the castle, and shop till I drop! With that said expect pictures before the weekend is up, and also many of the souvenirs will be finished! Awesome!

Also, expect more frequent updates following Dec. 10th as I will be free from all obligations, other than finding a job which is difficult over here, but I’ll try to mange it! So, once I get to Rome, maybe every other day updates! No promises though.

I hope you are all having a blast planning Thanksgiving, no turkey for me… more like good German beer and schnitzel?

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Crotia’s Capital

Last weekend I explored the capital of Crotia. Zagreb is a beautiful city, and in early November I couldn’t have asked for a better day to view it. The quick day trip was sponsored through the travel office on base, and allowed for the guided tour and lots of shopping. What I love most about the shopping was how cheap everything was. Blackberry wine is delicious, by the way! If you’re old enough you should give it a try. Sorry none of you will getting a case, I choose to spend my money in a different capacity, and started buying souvenirs!  I loved the simplicity of this city and was in awe of all the beautiful spaces! It reminded me a lot of NYC.

I’m starting to get excited for graduation, which is 4 weeks away! I’m not nearly ready to say I have a master’s degree, but that’s probably because I still havn’t finished all the work yet! I should probably do that tomorrow. Send your motivation this way! After December 10th it’s 5 more weeks of traveling, which is almost all confirmed. Then America I’m back and traveling the states visiting most of you, so please prepare your couch!

Next week I’m going to Slovenia to see the Harry Potter premiere on Friday! On Saturday I’m heading with friends to Salzburg for the Christmas Market to buy lots of presents! I’m hoping I can finish most of the souvenir shopping so I can start shipping it home! Enjoy the view and the wonderful rainbow Aviano presented to me on Monday!

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Wondering where I’m wandering?

So, I know you are all waiting my next post with bated breath. I apologize. I didn’t realize the sparaticness of which I would write. It’s difficult because the internet isn’t at my fingertips, I travel for it, albeit not far. I sit in the day room, after just changing my laundry over, and I am trying to get you all updated. Since my last post I’ve settled in nicely.

I think about the kiddo’s from Waynedale frequently, and wonder how they succeeded at their midterms (those should have come out today!!! Yikes!) I’m loving to get to know my new kids. I take over classes on Monday, and I’m so excited to talk about the importance of homework. But, that’s not why you’ll are visiting my blog. The adventures I have in the classroom can probably stay there for all you care… so let me tell you about my 1st weekend in Aviano.

I went to the Zucca festival in Venzone. Zucca means pumpkin! I loved it. First, I met Geri and Kelsey, who I will travel with for Thanksgiving 🙂 Secondly, gnocchi zucca is delicious. What you need to know about Venzone is that it is a medieval city, they have preserved the walls (or restore them as the earthquake in the 1970’s destroyed many of them) and it’s similar to a renaissance fair because people dress up. The streets are filled with
vendors, and the central plaza full of gourds for sale. Some of the huge pumpkins are carved! I loved spending time here and enjoyed the short day trip. In addition, Venzone has naturally preserved mummies. My understanding is that the water contains so much sulfer that the bodies were preserved naturally and they are on exhibit. See pictures below! CREEPY but great for the weekend before Halloween!

The weekend following I spent on base doing Karoake! I love karoake, and am so thankful that there are friends here who will put up with my crappy singing 🙂 The next day of course we celebrated Halloween. Check out our costumes! When traveling abroad and celebrating Halloween in Italy toga’s are a must. I had a great Halloween and am even more excited for this weekend.

Tomorrow morning I travel to Crotia’s capital Zagreb! I’m super excited as this kicks off the non-stop travel tour I’ll begin until I return to the states. Crotia will be an interesting experience. I know little about the country, except that the ball point pen was invented by someone here… trivial fact from one of my kiddos! Love it! At any rate I’ll continue to travel. The highlights include the Thanksgiving trip to the Chocolate Factory & Munich for the Christmas festival and of course the 5 nights in Rome, 3 in Florence, and 2 in Milan before heading to Oslo for Christmas, Paris for New Years, and Germany tour with the lovely Heather and wonderful Brian!

Because I can’t bother to associate pictures above here they are.

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Jet Setting

So I finished packing, headed out last Saturday. Arrived safely in Italy got all settled in, a week later, and now I’m ready to tell you all about it. I left a great group of kids on Thursday the 14th. It was sad and exciting. I’ll miss teaching content, and I’ll really miss the people I got to know. I had a wonderful time and experience, but was glad to be getting out of the country and getting to know another group of kids! I headed out for birthday celebrations and goodbye parties which were sad, but 3 months isn’t such a long time to be gone! I arrived in Italy, via DC and Brussels on Sunday afternoon. My wonderful cooperating teacher Sandy picked me up, and had everything arranged. Thank god for Italian pizza and wine, I slept like a baby to start my new adventure on Monday morning bright and early! I loved meeting my new kiddos! Block schedule is hard to get used to though, and I frequently feel like a chicken with my head cut off. Monday night I got to know the other student teachers. They’re here the whole 16 weeks, but are an amazing accepting group of people!

Finally, I got my dorm set up, went shopping to get some food (thankfully Sandy had already thought of some of this and got me mostly prepared). Wednesday I finally got over jet lag, and last night had enough energy to Karoake! Can’t sing worth a lick, but it was nice meeting wonderful people. Loving Italy and exploring Italia. Tomorrow I travel to the pumpkin fest to have pumpkin ravioli and lots of wonderful experiences! Ciao until next time!

My bedroom!

Work Space!

Kitchen area!

The view from the dorms! The foothills are right behind us, and the dorms are surrounded by tiny little Italian homes! More pictures of Aviano and of my travels to come!

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