Friday, August 17, 2012

Confessions of a Traveling Stamper

Its Friday! That means another weekend is quickly coming upon us and time for another post about our travels and adventures around Italy!

This week my husband has been very busy at work, working long hours (about 15+ hours a day) so we haven't been able to do much traveling, but we were able to get out last weekend and take a trip up into the mountains.

Just a little bit about the area we live in to give everyone a small tour.  Aviano Air Base is located at the bottom of the Southern Carnic Alps and located about an hour north of Venice.  Officially the base is an Italian base with the US Air Force being the majority of the presence around the base.  Basically we just 'borrow' the base from the locals.

F16s that are located on base with a wonderful view in the background
Around and outside of the base fence, there are plenty of corn fields to remind me of home but there are also a bunch of grape fields to make to area feel authenic and more real.

Now onto our weekly travels.  This week we decided to venture up into the little mountian town of Piancavallo.  Located basically at the top of the mountain in the picture above, its a cute small skiing town.  Since obviously it is summer time and snow is not around, we were able to see the mountain more clearly and some of the ski lifts were able to be seen.  Needless to say unless we become expert black diamond skiiers, we will be sticking to the bunny hills!




The best part of this town is that there was a mini golf course right in the middle of the square.  Now most of us think mini golf courses tend to be easy with light up clowns and waterfalls, but apparently Italian mini golf means you need to be Tiger Woods and a PGA golfer.  We had to max out strokes at 10 swings per hole because we sucked but I did manage to score two hole in ones and on the 18th hole sunk it in right away!

That is hole 1!

After my husband whooped my butt in mini golf, we walked around the town and wandered into a local market, cafe (where we stopped to have a brioche and an espresso), and ate lunch.  We split a pizza and some gnocchi (potato dumplings which are AMAZING!)

Gnocchi in a Ragu Sauce
We explored the town a little more and made our way back down the winding road stopping a few times to take some pictures.  The view was wonderful but the winding roads really started to make me feel sick since there were so many hairpin turns! 

Since we had some paperwork to drop off to our new landlord, we wanted to explore the town that we will be moving to.  We will be moving to the city of Caneva (about 15 minutes away from base) next week and we finally get our household goods back which means my stamp room will be returning as well! Its only been two months away from our items but it feels like longer! Below are some pictures of the area by our house!



There is a castle by our house!

To end my weekly post, I'm going to talk about one thing that is different between Italy and USA.  We all think getting gas is a pain in the butt in the US right? You have to get out of your car, pump the gas in the cold, rain and wind but luckily that gas station is opened 24 hours when you are running on fumes right? Italy's way of getting gas is very different.  First off its all full service, which is going to be a plus come winter when it gets 'cold' here (I say cold because it gets like 32 which is NOTHING compaired to Iowa haha). 

But what about paying? Gas prices here are much much MUCH more than the US.  Everything is in liters and a liter of gas is about 1.75 euro.  There are approx 4 liters per gallon so gas is about $7 per gallon.  For us to get gas, we have to purchase gas coupons on base.  100 liters is $103 and we are only allowed 400 liters for the month without paying full price on them.  We pull up to the station and tell them how many liters and we pay with these coupons we purchase. 


I had the lovely experience this week of finding out what happens if you put more gas into the tank than you have coupons.  I had no idea what to do! We had to pay full price for the gas ($10 for 5 liters) but being new here I wasn't sure exactly the process and freaked a little!  I will make sure I have those coupons from now on!

Another difference is their hours.  The stations aren't open on Sundays, aren't open 24 hours a day, the Italians take a 'riposo' aka nap time for 3 hours in the middle of the day, and so you must make sure you plan your gas trips around the schedules.  It can be frustrating sometimes.

2 comments:

  1. I would be the girl stuck on the side of the road with no gas.... I get gas at the strangest times and I always go all way to E since I have that wonderful little electronic meter that tells me how many miles til it's all gone, I typically get down to 12 miles. LMAO It's bad, I know.

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  2. I am the same way! I guess I need to get over my habit of letting it get so low. We are only allowed to purchase 400 liters of gas a month at tax free so if I keep letting it get super low we may have to pay out of pocket for gas and that is TOO expensive here!

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