Wednesday, August 18, 2010

James and my birthdays are less than a week apart so to celebrate we went on a one day "mini cruise" of the Almafi coast on the Saturday between our birthdays. And yes, The boats actually say "mini-cruise" on them, it's kind of entertaining to see the random English words here. But I guess if you go to Miami, Fl there is a lot of Spanish, so makes sense in a way. (Side note: when we were in Capri there were iron drainage things on the ground that said "made in Italy..." that was humorous- made in Italy, used in Italy, written in English... alright...) The cruise started at the Port in Naples, stopped in Sorrento for more people to get on, stopped at Capri (and allowed anyone who wanted to get out and swim for about 20 minutes), passed by Positano, and finally stopped in the town of Almafi. We were supposed to have the option of getting off at Positano OR Almafi but the tides were too strong for the boat to stop in Positano, so it was Almafi or don't get off 'til the end! We chose to get off at Almafi- it was a really cute town- as far as we could discover in 2 hours anyway. From what we saw, it was pretty much just shops with antiques, souvenirs, linen clothing and of course, what the area is known for; ceramics. Every thing you could ever want in ceramic you can find there. And everything is beautifully hand-painted so that fun to admire! After walking around this beach town, we got some gelato and just enjoyed the city and the view of the Sea 'til it was time to board and head home.
July and August are supposed to be really hot and pretty much unbearable, but we've been told the weather has been strange- and perfect- Sunny, little clouds and in the 90s! That morning it rained a little, and because of the wind from sailing it was a little chilly at times so we opted not to get out and swim. We heard the water was really warm and very salty (which gives you more buoyancy). I really wanted to get in, but I didn't want to risk being cold and uncomfortable for the rest of the boat ride. We have 3 years to find out how the water is for ourselves so we're not too worried :-) What a very relaxing way to spend our birthdays!

And of course, we DID exchanged gifts on our actual birthdays- I got James a new racquetball racket and racquetball shoes because he's been really into playing lately. He does that for his workout now more than anything else. He was really excited!
James got me an Italian purse that I've been eye-ing since we got here, a cute Italian ceramic rooster pitcher, and a "travel purse." I've been wanting a cute purse for traveling that's big enough to hold our video camera, etc, and that has a long strap so that I can wear it where it goes over my shoulder and across my chest and rests on my hip (make sense?). I think when you're wearing a heavy purse all day it's easier that way (I'm sure the girls reading this get me ;-p).

Our one year anniversary is next month and James has been planning a surprise get-a-way, so on my birthday he finally told me where we are going- Paris for 4 days! I'm so pumped! I really don't know much about what Paris has to offer outside of the Eiffel Tower so I've got to get researching! James has a few things planned for us but we've still got a little more research to do, can't wait!!!

In other news, we are still trying to work out this car situation! We think we finally have it figured out! Supposedly when Italian cars get old, sometimes the car stops reading the chip in the key, so they think that could be the problem. Which makes sense because on the dash there is a light with the picture of a key and it says "code," so we got a spare key to see if that would work but the problem continued... We are both happy to have a possible solution and still somewhat concerned about this because with this problem- the Fiat (car make) dealership is the only place that can fix it! So we have to go downtown and hope that 1. the car actually starts when we try to take it in 2. Fiat has an English speaker on staff 3. they don't try to rip us off and 4. it finally solves the problem!!!

The apartment is finally coming along! Our shipment is all here so we have been in the process of making our apartment our home! Only thing with moving, especially to an apt on base, is that some stuff from our previous apt won't work, but Military housing offers lots of storage space so we have been are taking advantage! Which also means we've had to buy some new stuff, so we've made a few trips to Ikea where we bought a cabinet for our bathroom (as there isn't even a medicine cabinet!) and a bookshelf. We have some how increased our library in the past 2 months so we've had to up-size the bookshelf. But I'm ok with that because I love the one we got and James enjoys putting them together! Also, the building structures here are completely different than ours in the US, so you have to use a drill to hang things- you can't use a hammer and nail, and if you decide to anyway and by some miracle you get the nail in the wall, if you pull it out, the wall breaks apart around the nail, so for us- a drill and screws it is! But in the process we found that one of our walls won't let us drill more than about a half inch, so we have to figure out something for that wall. It's been quite a task trying to decorate, but I hear this is one of the joys of being a military family!

So that about does it for today!

I thought this was pretty cool... Almafi coast

Relaxing as we pass by Positano... I know you were dying to see our feet...