Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting lost in Venice

Fresh off a killer victory against San Giustino and in search of adventure, we decided to get lost in Venice for a few hours on Monday afternoon.

The weather was lovely and Andy enjoyed attempting to navigate through the sneaky streets (and ultimately failing). We enjoyed the sunshine, some gourmet gelato, a delicious dinner and the beautiful sunset as we water taxied back to the stazione.

This was more of a scope out trip as we'll likely head back this weekend when our buddy Clare comes to visit.

on to the next one...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Picnics in the Park

The weather has been out of this world lately so we're taking full advantage. A typical afternoon includes a stop at the market, noshing an Italian antipasto-esque picnic feast and soaking up some serious rays. With summertime around the corner, we figured it was a smart idea to get a head start on our bronzing.

I think it's safe to say Padova has my heart.

on to the next one...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Forza Padova!

It's been a long time coming (about a month), but I finally played in my first Italian League match this past Sunday. Ironically enough it was against my former team Andreoli Latina. Needless to say I was extremely excited, nervous, and ready to get this party started.

I didn't start the match, but with some pre-match assurance from my coach, I knew that I would get a chance to come in and make a difference. My opportunity came later in the 2nd set and I was able to get past my nerves and help the team tie the match at one set a piece.

I ended up starting every subsequent set and, as a team, we pulled out a much needed five set victory.

A few impressions...
1. A1 Italy is an extremely high level. I've been practicing in the league for almost a month now, but the matches are a different level of play. My team, Padova, is ranked 13th out of 14 teams, but I'm learning that on a given night, anyone can beat anyone.

2. This league is very professional. Even though my team is near the bottom in the standings, we had close to 3,000 excited and cheering fans, great music during the match, and plenty of other stuff ("cheerleaders", t-shirt guns, etc.) going on in between plays and sets. I actually felt like I was a professional athlete for once, which isn't always the case with some of the leagues here in Europe.

3. I was very blessed to be a part of the team in Latina. Although the situation wasn't ideal, we were able to make some great connections with plenty of the guys. The team actually stayed at the hotel Kate and I are currently living in, so we were able to spend some off-court time with some of them before the match. It was awesome (but not awkward) seeing them and it made us miss them even more when they left (especially Murphy).

Other highlights include meeting some of the smallest/cutest little fans and giving two incredibly awkward/terrible interviews. My apologies, Rai Sport.

Right now we're working hard to make playoffs. We're currently 4 points in the standings behind the 11/12th place teams and need to win our next two matches (which are against those two teams) in order to stay in the hunt. Our next match is this Sunday against San Giustino at their place. They've been on a hot streak as of late, so it's going to be a tough one. We're hoping that we play as well as we did during those three winning sets against Latina. If we do that, I think we'll be in good shape.

on to the next one (and Andiamo Padova!)...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene...

One of my favorite stories of all time is without a doubt, Romeo + Juliet.

No, not because my 10 year old little self found Leonardo DiCaprio to be the most handsome thing I'd ever seen - I swear, I was much more of a JTT girl - but because of the love story. It's no secret that I love love. A lot. And even before I had the slightest grasp of what true, head-over-heels, can't live without you love was, I found myself teary-eyed in the Avery family basement as I watched the re-make for the first time. You can't tell me this scene (at the very least the song - I mean, come on...) doesn't make you cry. Sigh...

Fast forward another 10 years. During an assignment for a college dance class, I found myself - again - succumbing to the beauty (and subsequent tears) as I watched San Francisco's finest ballet dancers in their rendition of the classic production.

Safe to say a trip to Verona was non-negotiable once we moved up to Padova and were just a short train ride away.

We enjoyed holding hands and walking about the picturesque little town. After a quick snack, we climbed the Lamberti Tower which afforded a breath-taking 360 degree view of Verona and surrounding areas. We couldn't have been more happy the rain subsided and the sun came out once we reached the top.

Post Tower, we cruised through town before stopping by the Castelvecchio and the Castelvecchio Bridge. Beautiful and impressive.

In wandering back through town, we happened upon the hippest little ristorante and bopped in for some nutrition (and prosecco, of course). Full to the brim on burata, pasta and polenta, we were off for our final stop of the day, Casa di Giuliette.

Though this could possibly be the definition of "tourist trap", I forced Andy to entertain me with our visit to CDG. Juliet's balcony isn't actually Juliet's balcony at all. They added it to "her house" in the 30s and deemed it "the balcony." While disappointing, I didn't let this minor little detail derail me in any way. Tradition states that everyone who visits Juliet's house must leave something behind for her - a letter, a small piece of jewelry, a graffiti drawing - and who am I to break tradition?

Being this was the second time we'd visited a "lock of love" location together (and having not partaken in the first), I insisted we fork up the 8 euro (I know, that's like four bottles of Conad wine...) to purchase one of our own. Appropriately marked with "amore eterno" and a K & A, I let Andy embarrass himself enough for the both of us by climbing a wrought iron gate to lock it up. Our lock came with three keys and upon realizing this, I insisted we run quickly to the river, make a love-related wish and toss it in. And so we did. But not before affixing our piece of chewing gum on the wall.

The city was a bit "touristy" for our liking but we definitely enjoyed our visit and are super happy we took the time to visit before the influx of spring and summer travelers.

on to the next one...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Home is wherever I'm with you

(Permission to get a little sentimental for a minute?)

With all of the craziness, uncertainty, and roller coaster ups and downs in the last six months, I'm realizing just how perfect an anthem this song is for our lives.

Longemalle 20 (and the living room at Longemalle 20), The Park Hotel, Via Solferino 37 and the B4 have all been "home" in recent months. Not because we unpacked our bags or put pictures up, but because we were there together.

I'm not sure we could ever even guess how absolutely true this song would ring when we picked it for our wedding last August. Who'd a thunk a motley crew of LA hipsters could speak so directly to our hearts?

Thankful to have my two main men with me on this journey of life.

on to the next one...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ciao Padova!

So we moved. Again. And we now find ourselves in Padova, a city in northern Italy only about 30 minutes inland from Venice.

Our home for the next three weeks is the B4 hotel - not so centrally located in terms of outings to the center but just across the street from the gym which makes life (without a car) especially simple.

Our digs...

We caught the bus and headed into town today for some sightseeing. Time was short but we made sure to stop by Prato della Valle, the biggest town square in Italy. We will definitely be back for an afternoon picnic and puppy play sesh.

Super pumped for Andy's first match with Padova tomorrow night. Look for a match update from him in the near future.

on to the next one...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Latina - it was fun while it lasted...

We had a short (just more than three weeks) but lovely stay in Latina. We played on the beach with Harry, tried nearly everything on the menu at Sugo, loved a weekend visit from Dean and made some wonderful new friends. We were sad to say goodbye this week but are happy we get to see the guys this weekend as Padova takes on Andreoli Latina.

The highlights include...

 Taking naps in awkward positions.
 Enjoying a nice sea breeze.
 Hanging with Uncle Dean.
 Striking a pose.
 Listening to the waves.
 Long walks on the beach.
 More modeling.
 Playing and running.

By the time the fired player had vacated his apartment (another long story) and we could finally move in, we were only in Latina for another four-ish days. We were on the 21st floor and quite liked looking out our bedroom windows to these views in the morning.

on to the next one...