Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow in Prata!

It is unusual for us to get snow in Pordenone and the towns surrounding it, but we had our first snow! We woke up to 3 - 4 inches of snow on the ground. Having lived in Phoenix, Emma was completely confused when we opened up the door and wasn't sure if she wanted to go out. Loving snowballs as she does, it only took throwing a few to get to outside.

We took a walk through town to admire to snow. Can't say I have ever seen a city bus with snow chains on it before! And PS. marble is slippery when covered in snow!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Festa della Santa Lucia

With another gorgeous sunny morning upon us, we took Emma for a walk into our town center. The Festa della Santa Lucia was going on in our main street, Via Cesare Battisti. There were homemade handicrafts, booths will antiques, hot mulled wine, cheese, and other foods from the region. Christmas Carolers were singing carols in front of our church. The feast is in honor of the patron saint and Lucia rides in on a carriage at the end of the festival to distribute sweets to the children.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Attempt #2 to Cross Country Ski

It was quite chilly this Wednesday morning, but with hot chocolate in hand, I headed out at 7am to meet Tim to head up to Piancavallo. We were going cross country skiing for the second time this week. Unlike Sunday, we had the mountain to ourselves. I strapped on my skis again and did a few practice laps in the practice area. It had rained up on the mountain and then gotten cold, so there was a nice layer of ice over the snow.

We headed out on one of the trails and I mastered the art of stopping myself by throwing myself to the right to fall down. I was doing okay, even with the icy trail, until we got to the loop turn around. Here, there weren't any tracks on the trail to help guide me and I had a pretty good wipe out going down this hill. With a sprained ankle, I managed to do pretty well on the way back. That wipe out had been my 5th and last fall on the 3 mile loop. I even figured out how to get up the hills without skiing backwards down them!

My efforts were rewarded with piping hot pizzas at San Giorgio's in Aviano for lunch. Feeling beaten up won't keep me from trying to master cross country skiing!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Playing in the snow at Piancavallo

With a good amount of snow on Piancavallo, we headed up on a Sunday to try out my new cross country skis, an early Christmas present. Tim had been up to the mountain a couple times and no one had been around, so we brought Emma with us. The parking lot was packed and the cross country ski area was in full swing when we arrived. We took Emma off and ran around in the snow with her for a bit. She loves trying to catch snowballs!

With the pup tired out, I strapped on a pair of skis for the first time and tried to get the hang of push/glide in the cross country practice area. Tim convinced me to try out a shorter trail that loops around. We started out by going down a small hill. I somehow made it down the hill without falling but that was not at all the case as we continued on. I also didn't master the art of going uphill either. I would find myself shooting backwards down the hill. But we eventually did make it back to the car. I'll give it a shot on another day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Venice at Night

Wanting to do a little Christmas shopping and hoping to see Venice decked out in its Christmas best, we took the train in mid-afternoon. The sun begins to set around 3:30pm now, so we had just enough time to pick up some pashminas, blown glass jewelry, and to purchase a candle for ourselves. The candle maker was dipping the candles as we shopped and we got a great keepsake!

The sun was shining and the sky was so clear. It was a beautiful sunset illuminating St. Mark's Square with the sun's golden rays. There wasn't a tree as we expected, but the walkways surrounding the square were trimmed with Christmas lights. I even found 30€ just lying on the ground!

We topped off the trip into Venice with dinner outside at Caffe Centrale along the Grand Canal. We did a tourist special and each got a glass of wine, an appetizer, salad, and entree for only 15€ each. It was delicious!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Not So Traditional Thanksgiving...

Since we took advantage of the 4-day weekend to traverse the "Eastern Block" (Vienna, Bratislava, & Prague), today was finally Thanksgiving Day at our house! It took many trips to the Base Commissary as they were seemingly out of this or that each time I went, but with all the ingredients finally on hand, I was ready to make us a feast.

I have never been so appreciative of my double oven, which of course resides in our house in Phoenix. I truly know what it means to literally cook all day long now. Trying to make a feast in the world's smallest oven requires patience and strategic timing as I could only make one thing at a time.

We had all the fixings: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean caserole, pumpkin pie, and a bottle of wine from the vineyard down the road. It was delicious and I am grateful for my wonderful husband and the great opportunities we have to travel. God bless!