From the time we filled out our first “dream sheet” of assignment locations for the Air Force, Aviano, Italy has been my #1 choice. It didn’t matter if our chances were dismal at best, or that neither of us speak a lick of Italian. All I knew was that being stationed in one of my favorite countries, with endless access to the culinary delicacies and gorgeous foods the Italians pride themselves on, while also being in close proximity to the rest of Europe’s wonders, was truly one of the biggest dreams I could think of.
I read once that if the Air Force stationed you there, the Gods were smiling down on you. I believed that statement then.
But after being in South Dakota, then Turkey, and then visiting the Aviano area for a short stint, I will confirm it’s accuracy 120%.
It’s not that it’s located in a bustling metropolis, or that the surrounding beauty is necessarily the most breathtaking, but rather that it’s beautiful in it’s simplicity. It’s the idyllic Italian countryside experience, with sleepy little towns, and lavish displays at even the smallest of food markets.
It’s being greeted by a friendly face who may not understand a word of English, but somehow insists that you have an espresso upon your arrival to the hotel (cappuccino in the square below, pictured above).
It’s the fact that the train runs even to the most remote places, meaning almost nowhere is inaccessible.
We were blessed with finding a great friendship with one of Will’s fellow JAGs at Ellsworth in South Dakota, and as luck would have it (and the fact that he is fluent in Italian and has family just a few short hours away from the base) he got stationed at Aviano. Shortly thereafter he met the woman who would eventually become his bride. And Will was asked (much to both of our delight) to be in the wedding.
Our friend lives in a small town a few kilometers from the base, so while we were in for the wedding festivities we took a little time to walk around and get to know the town.
And subsequently made multiple notes at just how lucky these people were in comparison to what we deal with in Turkey.
It’s sad to say, but just being able to stroll around town for an afternoon is an amazing luxury that we now do not take for granted.
The weather in Italy is gorgeous this time of year. Slightly cool in the mornings and evenings, but warm during the day.
We had a great afternoon followed by home cooked meal by our friends brother in an apartment busting at the seams with friends and family in to celebrate. If there has ever been a time I wish time could slow down, it would have been this weekend.
Stay tuned for the details of our first Italian wedding experience!