Thursday, July 30, 2009

My visitors.....

Janelle, Tony, Mari, Jay, Sebastian and Liliana came to visit and they just left from their visit to Italy. I can't believe how much I miss Nell already! She had a trip planned to Germany for the longest time and when she found out we were moving to Italy she made time in her plans to come see us! I wasn't sure 3 days was going to be long enough to do much but we got to do everything that was on the list to do and had plenty of down time too! We were always home in time to relax before making dinner so it really was an easy 3 days! I tell you what though, I'm so glad we decided to stop after three kids! Having 5 of them all under the age of 4 was quite loud and never a dull moment!

Our first outing was just here around Vicenza. We have been down there before but it was more or less just around the Piazza. When we were down there, there was a market going on so it was a lot to have the three kids with all the people. With Janelle and the crew we just walked around everywhere. We got a little lost, the map didn't really seem to help because it's almost impossible to read a map when you don't know where you are to start! I didn't mind not knowing where we were, I've always been the kind that likes to get lost! We took a picnic lunch with us to save a little money. My Picnic Basket is going to get a good workout the next couple days! lol....hope it holds up!

Our second day we went to Verona. I love Verona. No matter how many times I've been there (so far 4) I get to see new things each time! It's possible that I've seen it all now but I don't really care. I'll go there again and again! We parked along the river and got some cute pictures of Nell and Tony. We went to the maze, walked to the center of town, shopped at a couple little stores, walked through a museum/castle, rubbed Juliet's boob and again had a picnic lunch.

The last day they were here we took them to Venice. You can't come see us and NOT go to Venice! We walked everywhere we could and only got on the water taxi to get to the place we wanted to start, to go to the other island and then finally to head back to the van. I'm not sure how many bridges we crossed but I'd have to say it was at least 25! It seemed like we would walk a block or two and cross a bridge then do the same thing over and over again! We didn't take a picnic lunch this time. Everyone wanted to experience the "Italian" food. Janelle didn't like it at all, Tony ate his and Janelles and Jay and Mari both ate their fish so it must have been good. I had Pizza, not that good but ate it all anyways.

When we took everyone to the airport the kids did really good. I thought they'd be crying and then Nell would cry then I would cry but it didn't happen like that at all. Earlier that day Bella cried because Aunt Neo was leaving and she was "really gonna miss her". I think Nell might have got teary when Bella was saying that because I know I did so maybe she got it all out earlier that day. We also told her that Nell might come back with Max and Tenn so that too was a big help! She keeps asking me when they will be back. LOL, kids!

Now that they are all gone I have been sleeping ALOT and mopping around the house because now I have no one but the kids again! Seems to be like that alot around here. I wish they could have stayed longer but I'm really glad they get to experience Germany. It's incredible up there! The next family that is supposed to visit would be....hum....maybe D and Michell! Wish Mom could be here but all in good time her and Ron will be!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Block Leave Part 6

On the whole trip, I'd have to say Pisa was my favorite! Did you know that the leaning tower was actually built as the Bell Tower to the cathedral that's in the back ground? Talk about a huge bell tower! There isn't much to see in Pisa, but just the taking funny pictures was a lot of fun. There were several people there taking all kinds of different pictures of the tower. Some were holding it up, some were pushing it over, some were "butt bumping" it, one was even acting like it was his penis! Talk about a funny picture. Brandon was going to do that one but decided to wait until the next time we go. This has to be one of the best ones we got!!!

After we went to Pisa we went to the American Beach, on the Mediterranean Sea!!! Why they call it the American beach I have no idea. There is no fence to close it off from all the other Italian beaches so everyone just walks everywhere they want to anyways.

The girls' favorite part was playing in the water. They also loved finding sea shells for Gammy and trying to build sand castles. The next time we go we are going to buy the castle buckets so Brandon can help them make a castle.

Benjamin like the beach a lot too. However, when he realized the bucket wouldn't fit all the way on his head, he got a little pissed....

Another mandatory stop was Volterra! If you have read the Twilight series you know what I'm talking about! Volterra is a town built inside two castles! It's incredible there! The views of the Tuscan country side are remarkable and everything is just so "Italy". Brandon says that when he thinks of Italy, he thinks of places like Volterra.

Now for those of you who have read the Twilight series, here is the clock tower where Edward tried to expose himself. I looked for the alley he was in and found one that would be right but of course the book had to add more to it to make it seem real. It was still awesome to be standing there though. lol....Also there's a picture of Jacob.....the werewolf. He was in the torture museum. We went through this museum just for the fun of it and there are several things in there that were just plain cruel!!! I'll put pictures on my myspace and facebook of some of them.
So this was our block leave in a nut shell. It was the most incredible 18 days we've spent in Italy so far. From part 1 to part 6 we've done so many things and have spent more money then we wanted to but it's all about having a good time! There is a ton more we want to do and we are definitely going back to Camp Darby when we have the chance. We want to spend more time down there, even if it is sleeping in a tent! Maybe next time we'll be able to go with some friends or something so it'll be even more fun!
I'm not sure when my next blog post will be because Brandon's got a lot going on up until September. But if I do get anywhere or learn anything new I'll be sure to post it for everyone to read.
Until our next adventure.....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Block Leave Part 5

Our trip down south didn’t start as early as I had thought it would. We didn’t finally get out of Vicenza until about 1 in the afternoon! With all the stops we made and the winding roads through the mountains
And getting lost when we got closer to Camp Darby we didn’t get started setting up our tent until about 5:30. We had bought a 3 person tent which was just big enough for the 5 of us. When we go camping again we’ll have to either buy a bigger tent or just another one and let the kids have the little one! We took some foam pads to lay on instead of the air mattresses (didn’t want to take the chance of them getting a hole before Nell and all them showed up) so that made life a little easier. When we finally got the tent and everything set up we went for a little walk to find sticks for toasting marshmallows. Bella found a ton of sticks to use. Some were too big of course but it was still fun watching her find them all!

The kids were so excited to be camping. They had a blast sleeping in the tent and playing in the dirt. Bella picked up all kinds of rocks and made a “lake” with them on the picnic table. I had told them that we were going to go swimming in the Sea so she was all excited.

The next morning the kids were up with the sun (at like 5:30) and we let them play in the tent until about 6:30. We got up and goofed around until about 9 and then were on our way to Rome. It was still a 3 ½ hour drive so we weren’t going to be there until around 1 but we figured that would be enough time. On the way down there we go to see the Mediterranean for the first time. It was so blue and beautiful! I couldn’t wait to actually get to swim in it when we had time to go to the beach.

When we finally got to Rome we parked in the median of the road. Everyone was parked there so Brandon said “when in Rome do as the Romans” lol….so we parked there too. It was quite a bit of a walk for us but when we finally got closer to the center of town we saw the walls of the Vatican. It was so incredible just to see the walls!

We started at the Vatican. I took so many pictures that there’s no way it could all fit on here so here are just a couple of the good ones.

I couldn’t believe how incredible the Vatican was. It was beautiful and there was so much to look at. We didn’t go in the Vatican or the Museum because the lines were 2 ½ hours long and we didn’t want to wait that long with the three kids. So we bought a Double Decker bus ticket and rode around Rome. I took so many pictures of everything we saw.

We took the bus clear to the Coliseum and got off there. We stopped to have ice cream before we went walking around. The kids by this time were getting hot and cranky so the ice cream was a good break in the middle of it all. The line to the Coliseum was also about a 2 hour wait so we just decided to walk around it and get what pictures we could.

We were lucky to get back to the bus when we did. It was the last run of the day (which we didn’t know) and Ben was sleeping by this time too so it was a good time to head back to the van. We didn’t finally get back to the van until almost 8 so our trip back was mostly at night. Rome was such an amazing city. Everyone had told us that you had to have more than just a day to see it but I’m glad we only took one day for Rome. There was a lot we didn’t get to do but we got to see everything and the kids stayed happy for the most part.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Block Leave Part 4

July 13

On our excursion to Verona to went driving towards Lake Garda and found Gardaland, Sea Life, a Water Park and several other amusement parks. We decided that Sea Life might be a good place to take the kids so we packed into the van with the picnic basket and headed out again! Now the price for Sea Life was a lot more then any of the other tourest places we had been. It was 45 euro for me, Brandon and Bella this time. And if I had to give advice to people, it's not worth it. Granted the kids had a blast but it was soooooo small!!!!! When you've been to sea world or an Aquarium in the US it's nothing compared to them! However, they have some really neat things in this Aquraium. In several of the tanks they had a place where kids could walk in and stick their heads into little holes so they could see the inside of the tank. They also had the water tunnel where they had sharks, stink rays, and a ton of fish. We got to sit and check out the Sea Lion feeding (which was in Italian) so that was neat too. On the way out there was a play ground with a pirate ship and a photo booth that was cool too but cost 3 euro per person. All in all it was fun for the kids and to see their faces when they saw the fish. Espically Ben since he's old enough to know what they are now!
On the way home from the Aquarium we decided to finally stop at the Castle that you can see from the Autostrada. I had looked it up online a bit and found out that the Centro of the town of Soave is actually inside the castle walls. There are only three ways into the town and that is from one of the three main Towers.
We parked the van in one of the many parking areas and got out and walked for a while. It was really cool to see the castle walls and the buildings that were rebuilt. Soave has it's own winery too but it was closed when we were there. If you look close to the wall pictures you will see ladders or stairs in the towers. When the castle is open you can walk around the whole length of the walls. At parts there isn't any fencing or anythig to keep you from falling but I'm sure it's not meant for kids anyways. I'm not sure how much it cost to do the tour and all that because it was Closed when we were there but we do plan on going back to find out.

By the information center they had a huge playground area that the kids loved playing on. We were actually there for about an hour! This swing was the coolest. It is kind of like a tire swing but has netting in the bottom and doesn't spin. The kids played on this one the most. Brandon also got in it but we got in trouble. Apparently its for the "kids" not adults. LOL....I didn't figure it was such a big deal since we were the only ones at the park but I guess Italians are a little more picky about who plays on the play grounds. We still had a blast though. It was a great day and we have done so much already!

The next post will be about our camping trip to ROME!!!!! And the end of Block Leave......