Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I spent the past week in Spain and had a blast. Alex was a great tour guide, taking us all over Madrid, Malaga, and even up into the mountains for a couple days.
The weather wasn't perfect, but we still got some beach time in.
We also took some trips further inland, one of which was to a town called Ronda, which featured this amazing medieval bridge.
The social scene in Spain was wonderful. Everything operates so late there, so most people don't even go out to dinner until 9 or 10 PM, which turns nearly every night into an event.
The rest of the guys are hanging out in Spain until the end of the week, but I had to come back early for work. It was a great vacation with some amazing friends, and I can't wait until they come back to Europe for round two.
Friday, April 22, 2011
We're in Spain now, staying at Alex's apartment in Malaga. We arrived late last night after flying to Madrid for the day. Even though we only had one day there, I kinda fell in love with it. The Reina Sofia alone is worth a trip, but maybe I say that because I'm a Picasso lover.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Yesterday morning, we took the opportunity to sleep in a bit and recover from all the travelling from the past week.
We took a late-morning train to Venice to explore the main sites, as well as hit a few I've never seen before, including the Scala Contarini del Bovolo.
We made a trip to see the Peggy Guggenheim collection, which was well worth our time, and took a different route back to Piazza San Marco, passing some beautiful churches I'd never seen up close before.
We took the train back in time to have a late dinner with Eric, where Colin had his first taste of grappa. I doubt he'll ever forget the experience.
Monday, April 18, 2011
It would be an injustice to have visitors and not take them to the Cinque Terre. I've always said it's my favourite place in Italy, and even though it's starting to get really crowded in the summer, spring and autumn there are spectacular.
We stayed in the same apartment I've stayed in a few other times. It met our needs perfectly.
The Cinque Terre is best enjoyed at leisure, so we stayed two nights, taking the middle day to hike. This allowed for lots of wine consumption. Notice how there's no judgement whatsoever in Nick's expression.
Believe it or not, we were sober for this shot. I think.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Over the past couple of days, Rob, Alex, Colin, Nick, and I have travelled through Ravenna and Florence. I'd never been to Ravenna before and wasn't aware of its significance. There were gorgeous mosaics everywhere, making the whole city look like a big museum. It's crazy how cities that were so important years ago are hardly even heard of today.
I showed them my favourite spots in Florence as we chatted and strolled through the narrow streets. We took in food and wine, adopting the Italian lifestyle.
We passed the train time with books and games on Rob's iPad. It's definitely the best way to check out Italy.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Colin and Nick flew in yesterday morning, and since Rob and Alex weren't due to arrive until last night, we decided to do a quick tour of Venice to hit some minor sites the other guys wouldn't care to miss.
Colin really wanted to see the Isola di San Michele, an island once used as a prison but is now the cemetery island. We took the water bus and then hiked around the whole island.
There were tons of statues, giving the whole island a beautiful and somber tone.
We also saw the graves of Igor Stravinsky and Ezra Pound. People are still buried there today. It's something I didn't even know existed, so thanks to Colin for bringing up the idea.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
But the rest of my day will be spent cleaning. It's been too long since my house had a thorough scrubbing, top to bottom, so it's way overdue. Plus, my friends Rob, Colin, Nick, and Alex are arriving on Wednesday. We'll be spending a week in Italy and then a week in Spain. This vacation is well-deserved, and I can't wait.
Friday, April 08, 2011
Back in January, I went with Fred (one of our Italians) to Ghedi, a small base in central-north Italy. Their chow hall didn't have potable water, so it was my job to design a system to improve their water quality. All the parts came in while I was in Germany, so yesterday, Fred, Travis, and I went back to Ghedi to install it. I was kinda nervous about everything working out, since sometimes jobs don't always go as planned, but somehow, all the filters went it as planned. Thanks so much to Fred and Travis for all their help and expertise.
We stayed overnight at a hotel on Lake Garda, which is a beautiful area. After we finished the job, we checked in at our hotel, showered, and then Travis and I walked around the town.
I went crazy with the Hipstamatic yet again.
Walking around this little Italian town somehow ended up at an Irish pub with bartenders from Brazil. The rest of the night was a little fuzzy. Needless to say, Travis and I didn't make much noise on the ride back to Aviano this morning.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
The size of my shop nearly doubled while I was gone because there are a bunch of guys here from other bases in Europe. Since we've been working so much and are finally getting some time off, I volunteered to take some of them to Venice yesterday. It would be a shame to spend time in Italy and not get to see at least one of the major sights. While showing them around, I experimented with my favourite photography app, the Hipstamatic.
This was the crew from Spangdahlem, and they were all really cool guys. They appreciated the time away from work and the tour of Venice. Also, we drank lots of beer.
Thanks for a great time away from work, fellas. And next time you find yourself in Italy, you have a place to crash (other than a big, smelly bay with 23 other guys). Safe travels back to Germany!
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
I went in there, did my best, and scored a 90.7. Even though my run time was a little slower, my push-ups and sit-ups were a lot higher and it was the highest score I've ever gotten. Plus, since I scored above a 90, I don't have to test again for another year, instead of in six months. And the added bonus is that I get a day off.
So, yeah, this was one of two major stress factors for me this week and it's a huge load off my shoulders. My other major stress factor is a project I'll write more about once it's finished. Keep your fingers crossed.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Still, it's great to be back home and see everyone and stuff. And seriously, when I got into my own bed last night, I thought I might just die right there. That's how great it felt.
Friday, April 01, 2011
After six weeks, three speeches, two memorandums, eight multiple choice tests, two interpersonal meetings, and multiple facepunches, we graduated. Congratulations to Dennie and Pettaway for winning Distinguished Graduate Awards.
After the ceremony, a few of us headed to the club for some after-party drinks. It was great to have some fun without any deadlines looming over our heads.
The past six weeks weren't easy, but I made some great friends, and thanks to the magic of the interwebs, I hope we'll all keep in touch for a long time. Congratulations and thanks to everyone in Mustang Flight!