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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Croatia ~ The ITT tour ~ Home Bound Status

Today is Friday, Oct 3
Tomorrow morning we will be boarding a tour bus at 4:30 am for our guided journey into Croatia. I will detail the adventure later this weekend. 
It now looks like we will be ending our time in Italy a little sooner than originally anticipated. The events in the Middle East have a bearing on our decision to leave a little early. I'll detail this in a later blog.
Mountain View Inn ~ Aviano Air Force Base

In the last couple of days, we've been taking it easy. Sam came down with a cold and we all needed to rest. It was a good time to catch up on the blog, emails and reading. On Wednesday evening, Helen prepared some soup and with Saltine crackers and all those different cheeses from the local market made a wonderful change from eating out every night! Mind you, we certainly enjoy eating out, but a change makes one appreciate those experiences a lot better. 
We walked over to the ITT office yesterday and canceled our "Cinque Terre" tour on the 24th of October. I really wanted to go to Cinque Terre as I have seen Rick Steve on Public Television explore. Cancellation was far enough in advance to get all of our money back except for a minor service charge. Some of you might be saying, "Why cancel?" I'll explain in future blog!
A Fig Tree nearly ready for harvest!

Helen and I have been trying to stay active as far as exercise. We make it a routine of walking a minimum of three miles around part of the base each day when we don't have anything planned. My Fitbit pedometer has been getting a workout! It keeps track of everything. Last week we had 31.05 miles, the week before 23.11 miles and 29.25 miles the week before. My goal is for 5 miles a day which I haven't been meeting, but at least we're moving. I really wanted to do some mountain hiking, but that isn't going to happen because we would have transportation issues to and from and I'm certainly OK with that! This Space "A" tour was and is a learning curve. We will be, hopefully, doing more of this type of trips. I really have to thank Sam and Joan for letting us tag along. It is not an easy thing to have four people travel together and for that matter live together. They have showed us, as they say, "The ropes". 
Tunnels galore here in the mountains!

I hope to share more tips and tricks in future blogs, when I can sit down and recall many experiences. 
While I'm thinking of one. On our road trip towards St Magdalena, in the town of Cortina, Sam had to find a restroom. We all got out of the car and walked toward the restaurant. As Sam entered, I noticed that we were parked in a "Pay to Park" lot. Low and behold, a meter maid was quickly checking for payment tickets in the windshields. Helen and I quickly walked towards our car with map in hand. She, the meter maid was starting to look down at the windshield when I asked, "which way to St Magdalena"? She said in broken English, "Is this your car? Where do you want to go?" I repeated the question and she gave me further directions and was on her way without checking the windshield and giving us a parking ticket. All of this diversion comes from an old magician friend Paul, who always said, "magic is nothing more than diversion". We were on our way, but in the wrong direction. It was a good thing that she left because Sam had the keys to the car and he was still at the restaurant restroom. This is just an example of little hurdles one can find on any trip in any place in the world. 
What do you do with old telephone booths?
Turn them into neighborhood library booth!

Life in Aviano, at the Air Force Base, is getting into a routine. First I must say, that I've never seen a military base so quiet! Sure jet fighters leave from the runway just a thousand feet away from our apartment, but the building is so well insulated we never hear them unless we're outside. When we go for our walks in the morning, there is no noticeable traffic or personnel around. When at the end of the work day, the traffic does increase at the south gate, but that is for a very short period of time. This is a NATO base and a few Nations are present including United States, Britain and of course the Italian Forces. It would be a good place to be stationed. Our apartment complex is adjacent to the Base Exchange, the Commissary and just about everything else we need. Our church needs could be here in the Italian section or over in Area One which is a few miles away. As I have mentioned previously, Area One is completely surrounded by the town of Aviano. This not to say that one can walk into the area without being questioned.
The Italian church on Aviano AFB
A barrier is present around the entire area. You feel safe when inside our area. This not to say that we don't feel secure on the outside. The Italian's are a very friendly people and we've had many good communications and experiences with them. In another Italian experience, up in the mountains, in a small village, I heard one Italian say a few words to another tourist in French. I said to him in French, "Parlez vous Francais", (SP) he answered me. We had a brief enjoyable conversation!   

That is what we did and saw!


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