Last week my husband and I attended Right Start, which is a week-long program that introduces you to your new base. Basically, people come in from alllllll of the different departments and they explain, step-by-step, how to in-process, as well as clarifying what each particular office does and how to find them. It was a fantastic class and even though jet lag definitely caught up with us during that time, I was extremely impressed with this base’s Airman and Family Readiness Center; I especially appreciated that they encourage spouses to attend.
Not only did they get us familiar with our new base, but they also took us on a much-needed tour of the area. After feeling an almost reverse culture shock when I first got here, and then being cooped up in a room last week, I desperately needed to see Italy. Luckily, the tour was exactly what I needed to get me out of my funk.
This was our map for the day, and all I can say is that I’m glad I wasn’t driving!
We started off by going to a place near us called Gorgazzo (Gore-gah-tso). It’s a classic Italian town with teeny roads, brick facades on all the structures, a great-looking restaurant, cobblestone roads, and it was complete with a shrine to Mary.
It has a little spring running through the town and ends with a pond, where it’s said there’s a statue of Jesus at the bottom. Apparently on Christmas day, locals adorn the statue with lights so that He’s illuminated. I’ll have to report back.
The lighting was gorgeous and a goose graced us with its presence.
After our quick stop, we hopped back on the bus and made our way to a market in Porcia (Poor-chee-ah)! Each town has a market once a day, every week. It was great to experience a market, and it made me anxious to check out the one in our (hopeful) town.
Stands were overflowing with fruit and veggies, flower, fish, meat, cheese, other local produce, and everything—and I mean everything—in between. (I didn’t take pictures of the lingerie, curtain, knick-knack or other stands…I’ll have to go back and do a whole other post on that someday!)
|perfectly sweet local honey I bought
Once we had our share of the market it was off to Pordenone (Poor-den-own-eh) for some very necessary coffee. The java here is great, but I need to figure out how to get the perfect ratio of espresso to milk. Every drink I’ve had has either been way too strong (even with packets of sugar dumped in) or way too milky. I need to find that balance asap.
Our tour guides, Christina and Sergio, were wonderful and took us on a little walking tour of the area.
|Pordenone’s City Hall
|The Duomo of San Marco: built around the 13th century in a Gothic-Romanesque style. The spear alone is 70 meters tall. The bottom level was used as a jail, and later as wine celler.
We viewed a gorgeous church, St. Mark’s Cathedral. It’s amazing how ornate and beautiful even the simplest churches are here in Italy. I forgot how much I love them; I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more.
|loved the angels!
|Stunning, and at the same time, a very interesting lectern.
|I lit a candle and said a prayer for good health for all of our friends and family back home.
Lunch was up next. I hate to say this, but I wasn’t very impressed with the food where we went. It tasted like they made it for a large group of people in a cafeteria setting or something, but I took pictures of it anyway. The house wine on the table, however, was pretty good. So good that I forgot to snap a picture…whoops!
|Ristorante al Ciasa de Gahja (I’d like to go back there and try their food again when we’re not in a large group)
Despite a mediocre lunch, we still chowed down and cleaned our plates, and really wished for a nap. Instead of dozing off, we had one more very important stop to make…
|The Alpi e Prealpi Carniche (The “Pre Alps” is the backdrop to our new town!)
The winery! This particular winery, Podere Gelisi Antonio in Villotte di San Quirino, has a sweet deal with the base here. The winemaker does 56 percent of his sales to military bases around the world. And every Friday he lets the Benvenuti Tour stop by for a sample of his wines.
…and when I say “sample” I really mean he lets you have full glasses of his 13 varieties of vino to try. Not only that, but the bottles are cheap—three euro (around $5) cheap. We couldn’t beat that deal, so we walked out of there with a half dozen bottles. I hear we can get even cheaper and better tasting wine at some of the local stores, so we’re pretty excited about that.
In my opinion, although the wine was tasty, the views were even more remarkable. This was the Italy I’ve been waiting for:
This weekend we’re hoping to head out of town and make our way to Venice! Until next time…Ciao 🙂