Thursday, August 28, 2014

Duty Station Diaries

Thanks to Elizabeth from The Blooming Air Force Bride the duty station series has a new name:

Duty Station Diaries

We're always looking for new submissions. Click Here for information. Please spread the word!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Duty Station Diaries: Aviano AB

Duty Station Diaries

Today we're pleased to have Ech from Ech & Will joining us for the duty station series.

I'm Ech and I blog over at Ech & Will. I've been an Air Force wife for almost 4 years. I blog about our travels, my attempts at housewifing, Will's Air Force career, and our everyday life. I love connecting with other bloggers, especially military spouses/significant others because they 'get it'.

Social media:






Aviano AB
View of base from the Aviano castle

What is the name of your duty station?
Aviano Air Base

Where is it located?
Aviano, Pordenone, Italy

How long have you been there?
3 years

Any tips for incoming military members?
PCS-ing is one of the most stressful things to go through. The biggest for us was housing. There is NO on base housing, only dorms. Get on AHRN and look at houses ASAP because your TLA (temporary living allowance) will only last 30 days and that includes the time it takes for the paperwork processing. We found our house within two weeks and we had to get a TLA extension. Your sponsor can book appointments for you so you can hit the ground running when you get here. If your sponsor isn't helping you out, there are tons of helpful spouses in the Aviano Facebook groups. The #1 advice we got during the process was to look in every single listing. Italians don't consider attics, basements, etc. rooms. Also, pictures don't do the property any justice. The outside might look less-than-desirable, but the inside will almost always surprise you.

Our house has an extra outdoor party room that wasn't listed in the description. It came with a built in grill, a huge table, a storage room, and a bathroom. It also came fully stocked with dishes, utensils, and everything we need to cook out there. It's perfect for hosting dinner parties or pre-gaming before going out to the bar. No mess in the house!

Italian house
The party room

Say you’re hosting an out of town guest and you only have time to take them to three places or do three things. Where do you take them?
Venice is only an hour away so that's at the top of everyone's list. If they're here long enough, we'll plan an overnight trip to Florence and Pisa. For local spots, we love going to Lake Barcis. It's gorgeous up there. When my mom visited, we went up right after a storm so the water was all milky and gross. I promise, it's usually crystal clear and bright blue.

Lake Barcis

Have you checked out any local festivals or events?
We're always checking out local festivals. The base sends out a weekly email listing what's going on nearby towns. On the weekends that we have no plans we pick something off the list and check it out. Most of the times it's really fun and we get some delicious food out of it. Sometimes it's a dud, but we make the most of it and explore the town.
I finally got to check out Carnevale this year. It's so surreal to see people wearing such intricate masks and matching costumes just hanging out in Piazza San Marco or wandering around the canals. The cool thing is that there are tons of towns all over Italy that host their own Carnevale parades and festivals. We haven't been to any of the local ones, but we plan on it next year.

Carnevale

Our favorite festival to go to every year is the Pumpkin Festival in Venzone. Legend has it the town commissioned a traveling sculptor to craft a golden orb for the top of their church tower. Instead, he painted a pumpkin gold and they didn't realize his trick until it began rotting. Strange reason to celebrate, but it's a really fun festival. There are all kinds of performances and medieval reenactments. Stalls line all the roads, food tents are set up all over town, and it's always so much fun.

Pumpkin Festival

Where are your favorite places to eat/drink?
Our landlord's house. He hosts large dinner parties every once in awhile and I always leave completely stuffed and moderately drunk. He and his wife grill up chicken, ribs, and sausages and they load everyone's plates. They always have lots of appetizers of speck, bread, and cheese. And, if we're really lucky, his wife will bake the most delicious cookies that I could never dream to make.

Are there any local foods/drinks/anything that you love?
Prosciutto. I could eat it all day, everyday. What we didn't know about until we got here was lemon sgroppino. It's an after dinner drink that's so refreshing and delicious. We always get a pastry with pumpkin filling at the pumpkin festivals. Great, now I'm craving one and I have to wait another 3 months.

pumpkin pastry

What’s your favorite thing about your station/city/surrounding area?
Travel! We're in Northern Italy and we have so many countries that are easily accessible. We take advantage of the long weekends and go somewhere new. We've been to Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Greece. It's overwhelming to see the possibilities and our travel list is a mile long.

Anything else you want to talk about?
Italy has been a dream since day one. I love living here! Our landlord and his family have become a good friends and he regularly checks in to say hi when Will is gone. We have one more year left and I knew from the minute we got here that I was going to have a really hard time saying goodbye to this place.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Duty Station Diaries: RAF Mildenhall

Duty Station Diaries

Today we're pleased to have Nicole from LungesandLace joining us to show off her duty station.

Hello! My name is Nicole, and my husband is in the US Air Force. I am a fitness instructor and substitute at the middle school on base. My blog, LungesandLace, is about living healthy, exercise, food, and travelling.

Social media:







What is the name of your duty station?
RAF Mildenhall

Where is it located? (City/State/Country)
England

How long have you been there?
Almost 2 years


Any tips for incoming military members?
Live off base! It bothers me when people try to live on base here, because you are in England! Engross yourself in the culture. Also, make sure you have an international travel passport, because traveling throughout Europe is so amazing and easy to do here.

Say you’re hosting an out of town guest and you only have time to take them to three places or do three things. Where do you take them?
Cambridge is only 20 minutes away, so that's a quick and easy day out. It's beautiful too. Also, spend a day in London. Stonehenge is another thing our guests always like to go see :) It's a bit of a drive, but we understand that it's quite a famous site.

London

Have you checked out any local festivals or events?
London has quite a lot of events. They do Winter Wonderland during the winter, where they turn all of Hyde Park into a giant Christmas market and fair. They also have a really insane gourmet food festival by the London Eye, where you can food from all these famous chefs for cheap. I know local towns do stuff around here, but I have not made it to any of their events :/

Where are your favorite places to eat/drink?
Almost every weekend my husband and I go get tea and scones at a tea house called Harriet's. It's so British and quaint!

British tea

Are there any local foods/drinks/anything that you love?
I love going to have tea and scones. Otherwise, I'm not a huge fan of English food. I'm quite a healthy and picky eater, and a lot of their food out here is fried, or greasy, or has bacon on top...

What’s your favorite thing about your station/city/surrounding area?
It's beautiful here! We live off in the country side, and there is green everywhere and forests. There are always outdoor farmer markets in all the towns. But I think the best thing about being stationed in Europe, in general, is the opportunity to travel! Flights within Europe are so cheap, and there are so many amazing places to visit. Every 3 day weekend we fly somewhere. It's a wonderful opportunity.

Anything else you want to talk about?
It's practically always cold here. You get about a good warm month in the summer, but otherwise, it's like a permanent winter.