So I'll hopefully not run out of time here and spell check this time...
Lucca. So they made the wall thicker. Napoleon ended up giving his wife the town at some point and she turned the wall into a park. There's the history... We rode bikes around the top of it.
All in all a good, and expensive weekend. Its vacation season in Europe too. August will be the peak. That being said, we are going to try to stay fairly local for the next month or so. Base sonsored/ booked tours, train to Rome, maybe try to find where my great grandparents were from...).
Last weekend (7/11-12) we ventured out locally to check out the local malls. They (we) have a big, no kidding, mall pretty close and then we also have a big area with half a dozen big stores (equivalent to Walmart, Sports Authority, Best Buy...). We also went to one of the local beaches. It was okay. Different. The sand is more a grey color (haven't looked into it but probably because of the volcano). You don't just pack your stuff up and find a place in the sand. There are rental chairs all over. Not just chairs... Some look like beds. No topless women (Carey and I walked for a little bit). This was just one beach though that a couple took us to. I'm sure there are more that may be like what we are used to. The water was nice though. Not cold like NH or OR/ WA.
This next weekend we are planning on taking a USO day cruise around the Almaffi Coast. It should be nice.
So some different stuff we've seen.
For those of you that ride motorcycles... Scooters are more prominent and they ride them harder than most Americans ride their sport bikes. We have seen as many as a family of three on scooters. The smallest kid rides up front...
Its not gay, its Italian. It is VERY common to see two grown adult men on one scooter or motorcycle. The best I saw though was a guy riding on the back while a woman was driving.
About a week ago the gas stations went on strike. We got an email on a Tuesday morning saying the gas stations were going on strike Tuesday night for a few days. Everyone in the office that had someone to call immediately called to have the cars filled. Turned out to not be a big deal, everything was open again by Friday night.
All in all not a bad experience so far. One thing we will need to do though I think is to just get in the car and go exploring. Not really have a specific destination but get out and try to figure out the roads (not as scary with a GPS you can just press HOME on...)
We have moved into an apartment on the support site. Its 1600 ft2. Bigger than the place we had in NH. Central air and heat, no electric bill (its 96 out today). The kids can, and do, walk around with other friends. 3 bedrooms 2 baths (yeah we have our own!). Carey and I have a walk-in closet and a balcony of our own. 120 V outlets already built into the walls so we don't need a bunch of transformers (Europe runs on 220V 50 Hz vice our 120/ 60). I do think we are missing out on some of the "Italian experience" by living on base but as long as we keep making it a point to get off and keep touring it should be okay. We don't have Italian neighbors and don't have to speak Italian everyday. We can still go to the local markets (the produce is SOOO much better and cheaper). The kids don't have to deal with long bus rides for school (some kids spend 2 or more hours a day on the school bus depending on where they live out in town). Crime out in town gets a somewhat mixed review. Some people say its not if but when you will get broken into out in town. Most say there is a chance. A few say they've never had a problem. I'll be working mids at some point; I'll take the neighborhood with the high fence and armed guards...
That's it for now. Next post probably next week.