Portugal, Germany and Italy Oh My!

Well, I suppose I haven’t done the best job at keeping everyone as informed as I would have liked since starting this “blog.” My intent was/is to share with you all what we’re doing, where we’re going, and what we’re seeing. However, I have a very demanding job in which I take great pride in. We’re on our fifth assignment and I’m finally, after all these years, carrying out what we’ve been so elaborately trained to do…generate Air Power and save lives.

In retirement, they say, you won’t look back and wished you’d spent more time at work. Family first. I trust this will haunt me when I doff my uniform for the last time in about 6-10 years. My girls know I love and adore them, but they’re still too young to understand what I do and why I must work tirelessly to mentor, train, and prepare our team of amazing crew chiefs for success. I must remain focused and selfless because not only do our pilot’s lives depend on it, the lives of the front line infantry depend on us as well. Close air support requires surgical precision; precision that is the direct result of the hard work from hundreds of dedicated maintainers.

Attention to detail is of the utmost importance in the aviation industry. Military aviation, I say, demands an even greater level of attention to detail. Our nation depends on it. I wake up every morning realizing the scope of responsibility we have. I’m a very small piece of the puzzle, but in all reality, I’m a senior member of the greatest Aircraft Maintenance Unit in the United States Air Force. I say this with conviction and challenge anyone to put this to the test. My only reserve here is my love for the F-15 and that I’ll never believe there will be a better tactical fighter aircraft. #15>16 #oncegreen #bleedgreen

With that being said, I hope I’ve provided you with enough insight as to why I’m such a ghost. The days, weeks, and months seem to blur together for me. I welcome the attack of hugs and kisses from Kenzie and Bella when I walk in the door. Kenzie still believes I’m her knight in shining armor, her hero. My time away from work and with my family is never long enough. Of course I would love to work a 9-5 and play Monopoly or Parcheesi every other night. Coffee and pastries in the morning with my wife before work? Yes, please. Unfortunately, that life doesn’t exist here. I’ve struggled to dedicate time at home. My weekends are often spent divided between home and office. The 55+ guys in my section deserve my time as well and it’s not often that I can give it to them during the week. At least not the way in which I’d like to. Writing takes a bit of skill. Getting my guys recognized at the right levels for their hard work and selfless dedication to the mission requires that skill. The competition is fierce and my intent every single time is to crush their competition by guiding them towards success. I can’t write about it if they don’t do it. The challenge in balancing time and effort between family and family has little light at the end of the tunnel. As a friend once said, “the struggle is real.”

A favorite from October 2011, typical swing shift maintenance with lights from the Las Vegas strip in the far distance. #F-15E #strike #bohica

And in case you missed the shot of Misty and I at the Senior NCO Induction Ceremony last year (August 2013).

Disclaimer before I get started: I had an external hard drive fail (I dropped it) in May and I haven’t been able to recover anything from it. Sadly, it contained almost every digital image that I’ve taken since 2001. Luckily, a small number of my images were preserved via SmugMug, the photo hosting website I use. Lesson learned…back them up!

On to my trip to Leiria, Portugal. We joined up with the Portuguese Air Force at Monte Real Air Base near Leiria for a two-week close air support exercise. Our pilots trained with the Portuguese and Royal Netherlands Air Forces.

Although it rained almost every single day there, it was an exciting experience for me. It was the first time many of us from the Triple Nickel AMU would go on a temporary duty together. TDYs often present the best breeding grounds for building camaraderie in a unit. We’re all but forced to spend time together. Generally, the outcome is often life-long friendships. I won’t be surprised if we’re drawn even closer together during our upcoming deployment. Anyways, Portugal was an interesting experience. I wrote the following paragraphs on my experience while I was still there, but life happened and I never took the time to finish it until now.

Rain from these European skies has been the recurring theme from the get-go. We departed Aviano Air Base, Italy in chalks of buses to the Marco Polo airport in the rain and arrived in Lisbon, Portugal in the rain. Some of us were scheduled with non-stop flights directly to Lisbon, while others stopped in Munich, Germany. My flight to Frankfurt International Airport was a mere one-hour flight, but entertained us with the most turbulent ride I’ve had the pleasure to endure. Our caravan of buses made their way to Leiria, Portugal in just a few hours, delivering us to our hotel…in the rain. It was dark, cold, and wet upon our arrival. We were greeted with a quick briefing from our leadership and given our room keys. Hours upon hours of studying for promotion while in Korea paid off—I was but a few out of the 260 personnel with a single room. The joys of becoming a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer! My room has a 36-inch LCD TV, which I don’t use, while the shared rooms are apparently equipped with 9-inch screens. The gamers in the crowd were a bit displeased to say the least.

My room, located on the seventh floor, offered a decent view of the surrounding apartments and hillsides in the distance. Hotel Eurosol stands in the lower elevations within the area, but still towers over most of its neighbors making it an easy find when wandering about the city. The town center of Leiria is nearby and delivers some amazing restaurants! Within the first week of our arrival, I dined three times at “Mata Bicho – Real Taverna,” which has quickly become one of my favorites. The food, service, and atmosphere are all outstanding, minus the cigarette smoke. The paintings, décor, and all-around structure on the inside don’t change, but seem to offer something new each time one takes time to enjoy the view. A mural-sized painting in the main dining room in particular will surprise anyone with its intricacies—something not noticed once before will appear the next time it is looked upon.

As with many European meals, hors d’oeuvres are served first. Mata Bicho serves marinated green olives, bread, tuna, and sometimes octopus. All of the above are delicious, but the octopus leaves an overwhelming seafood aftertaste which was a bit too strong for me. The sirloin I ordered, à la carte, was cooked to perfection and served over a sauce that resembled melted butter, but perhaps was more than likely a seasoned olive oil. I enjoyed my first meal at Mata Bicho amongst approximately twenty-five of our Triple Nickel crew chiefs—a meal served with nothing but hyperbolic and satirical humor from our finest aircraft mechanics.

A calzone from Mata Bicho.

Following the meal, our group gradually dwindled down with everyone going in different directions to explore the city and enjoy the newfound Portuguese nightlife. Being the eldest and essentially their ‘boss,’ I didn’t hang around too long, but did enjoy conversing with a few of them outside of the workplace. I learned a few of their personal interests and some background information such as family history, talents, and aspirations that otherwise may have been left undiscovered had I not joined in their quest to experience Portugal after dark.

And now I’ll have to re-cap what I remember from the trip. In no particular order:

The housekeeping staff taught me how to say thank you in Portuguese, “Obrigado.” It’s the only word I remember and I still use it today with a few friends from the trip.

I toured a Port winery in the town of Porto. Port wine is a very unique wine that is usually consumed after a meal. The alcohol content is about 21% versus 11-14% of table wine. I bought a few bottles from the winery, Ferreria, after the tour and have given them as gifts to friends and our landlord. Porto is about an hour and half drive from Leiria. I enjoyed the town so much that I drove back the following weekend. During the second trip, I photographed the Dom Luís I Bridge that crosses the Douro River. I knew from the previous trip that I wanted a panoramic photograph of the bridge. I packed my camera, tripod, intervalometer, and nodal rail in my camera bag and set off to capture what my mind’s eye wanted hanging on a wall once I returned home. In two degree increments, I painstakingly shot ninety images of the scene to build the panoramic photograph you see below. My computer’s processor didn’t like me very much as it took Photoshop over two hours to stitch the images together. I’m fairly certain I could have obtained a similar image by using a number of different methods, but I’m pleased with the result nonetheless. Pros-very high resolution image capable of producing an extremely large print. Cons-the file size exceeds just about every software platform I needed…print lab, photo hosting website, and even to be saved as a TIFF or PSD file, and had to be downsized anyway. My only complaint is that I would have preferred to shoot the scene much later in the day.

I forgot to mention the awesomeness that is the Porto-born sandwich, the Francesinha. I’m not quite sure how to describe this besides it’s just simply delicious! Covered in melted cheese and a very specific flavor, the Francesinha is filled with ham, sausage, steak, and I’m fairly certain a fried egg or two. Once plated, the sandwich is topped with a special sauce. You’ll swear it’s a soup! Given the opportunity, don’t pass it up if you’re offered an authentic Francesinha!

I’ve always been fascinated by castles since I was younger and to my surprise our hotel offered a magnificent view of Castelo de Leiria. Breakfast was served on the eighth floor in an open-spaced room with large windows—the perfect vantage point. The only problem is that the windows didn’t open and I wasn’t about to settle for a shot through window glass. I convinced the staff to let me on the roof. They were hesitant at first, but I showed them a few shots using my iPhone that I’d taken in Korea, Italy, and their very own neighboring town, Porto. I could see their curiosity starting to perk so I went to my room to grab my camera in an effort to put them on the spot. Needless to say, it worked. I’m an amateur photographer at best with much to learn, but an expensive-looking camera seems to encourage those normally reluctant to permit the shot when it’s typically not allowed. And by expensive-looking camera, I’m referring to the installed battery grip and L-bracket . Basically anything besides the kit lens will get the obligatory “that’s a big camera” comment. I ended up shooting the castle from a few different surrounding locations as seen below.


While I was off working hard in a strange and foreign land, Misty was back in Italy having the time of her life playing Bingo for fun. <–sarcasm Just as you probably suspected, yes, Misty won the grand prize—at free two-night stay at Edelweiss Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Shortly after I returned from Portugal, we made the five-hour drive to one of the most hospitable places I’ve ever been. The people, food, scenery, and family time were fantastic! We walked from the resort grounds to Garmisch and loved everything about it. Let’s just say that we all devoured the side of sauerkraut offered with our meals and ordered more because it was truly divine.

We visited the Partnachklamm gorge during our trip. The trail was very narrow with parts iced over, but we thoroughly enjoyed the brisk air. It was refreshing and peaceful. A passerby offered to take our photograph, but of course it came out blurry. The man didn’t seem to understand English and my camera settings are customized to separate the focus and shutter. I didn’t want to be rude so I let him try.

We stopped on the drive back because my trip wouldn’t be complete without the “barn and sky” shot. The girls gave me a few smiles to let me know they weren’t completely bored.

We stopped on the way back to grab lunch and take in the scenery. What a beautiful drive! Unfortunately, my camera battery died on me after the first shot. Not to worry, I carry a spare, but somehow failed to realize it wasn’t charged. So there I was, stopping for pictures that I passed up as we were driving on the way to Germany a few days prior, and now unable to record the Dolomites covered in snow. Rookie mistake, right?! Thank goodness for cell phone cameras…something I rarely say.

My parents came to visit in July. We had a great time and the weather cooperated with us, but I think we had thundershowers any time we were inside or driving. Step foot outdoors and the sky opened up to the sun. It was actually rather amusing!

Okay, so remember when I said all I ever do is work? Well, my plan to create a photo book of our trip has been postponed…time and time again. I didn’t share the pictures with my Mom because I wanted to send them in the form of a professionally constructed book full of memories frozen in time by the shutter of my camera. Unfortunately, I just never took the time to create it and to that I’m very sorry. To my Mom, I love you more than anything. I treasure the time you took away from work to spend with us and I hope you enjoy these images.


The hotel we reserved was in downtown Florence. Never again will I attempt to drive a giant American Sport Utility Vehicle in downtown Florence! After making a 40-point turn to exit a small parking garage where they raise vehicles on hydraulic maintenance lifts to make additional space, we made our way out of the city. Well, not before being yelled at by a traffic officer for driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Oops!

Under the Tuscan Sun, no really! I shot this after we made our way into the countryside in search for a place to stay the night.

Fate brought us to

We wandered off the beaten bath and discovered a beautiful Japanese rose garden. What a better place to relax while still overlooking the Duomo in Florence!


Society handled criminals much differently in centurie’s past. We toured the Torture Museum in Lucca to find out just how one might be persecuted for their crmies.

We also toured the Torre delle Ore, a fourteenth century bell tower, during our visit to Lucca. Each of the 207 steps to the top of the tower seemed more rickety than the last! I was nervous during the entire climb that Bella would somehow break through and tumble to the bottom. Luckily for us, or not, the child is not afraid of heights and practically skipped up the steps to the top.

Mom and Dad displaying their distaste for chocolate. My nose is starting to itch!


In an effort to get these images out to everyone on Christmas, I”ll have to pause here on the commentary, but will continue as time permits. Enjoy!

Mom and the girls playing Parcheesi, a family favorite, on the balcony of our awesome apartment style hotel in Moneglia. The hotel was a steep one-mile hike up the mountainside from the town, but offered amazing views and unbelievably clean air.

Bees paid no attention to us as they pollinated the magnolias.

The view as we walked down from the hotel towards town.

These hand painted signs lined the streets, but we were too late for the festival.

We took the train from Moneglia to Riomaggiore. The weather wasn’t terribly hot, but we enjoyed stopping at a few cafes along the way for refreshments and the occasional snack.

Apparently the scenic coastal trail, Via dell’Amore, has been closed for quite a while due to a landslide. Not to worry, we embarked on a journey through a trail less traveled. Unbeknownst to us, however, lay ahead one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The single-track trail was rocky and very steep. We had little water and had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. Bella, the fittest of the bunch, climbed the mountain with ease. The rest of us gasped for air along the way, perspired profusely, and found new muscles in our legs that didn’t seem to be there before. Calories were burned and our lungs reminded us that we were alive.

In the 2 1/2 hours it took us to climb up and back down from Riomaggiore to Manarola, we encountered less than ten people. We weren’t even sure we were headed in the right direction until we spotted a hand-painted sign that read, “Manarola” with an arrow leading us towards somebody, somewhere that could sell us a cold bottle of water. Every painful step, every drop of sweat, and every labored breath evaporated in time once we reached the peak. To say the views were breathtaking would be an understatement.

Last shot before heading out…



My sister came to visit for a few days.



We drove up to Levanto, a town north of Cinque Terre with views just as incredible as Moneglia. This time, we were 1.5 miles up the mountain. We jogged our first trip down to town for dinner. I was breathing harder from walking back up after dinner than from running down. Just as we did when my Mom and Dad visited, my sister and I walked everywhere and even touch the car door handle until it was time to leave.

Next up: Two month TDY to Las Vegas for Exercises RED FLAG and GREEN FLAG in preparation for our deployment. I may have to sacrifice a night of sleep, but I’m looking forward to capturing the night sky overlooking Valley of Fire. I can see the stars shining upon the gorgeous fiery-colored rock laden State Park.

The First Two Months

A lot has happened in the two months since my last post. We found a place to live in Dardago, a small town in the province of Budoia, which is less than a fifteen minute drive from work. We love the area because it’s relatively quiet and has a small town feel. Our household goods arrived with only a few broken items and we’ve been slowly getting settled in. Misty and I are also getting settled in at work as are the girls with school here. Did I mention I’m already in my fifth week of the last two required courses for my Bachelor of Science degree? Needless to say we’ve been extremely busy since setting foot in Europe. However, we have traveled to just enough places, mostly in our local area, to finally warrant a new blog post. So here it is!

The first several weeks involved nothing but unpacking, registering vehicles, and buying 220 volt ‘necessities.’ American manufactured vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, toaster ovens, etc. will only run here when used with a step-down transformer. To the best of my knowledge, if these items are being used on a 1,000 watt transformer, but only need 300 watts, we’re still being charged 1,000 watts because the transformer produces that amount regardless. Basically, we’ve spent too much money on things we already had but couldn’t use.

My days were spent working and doing homework in the evenings. Misty spent her time unpacking and cleaning the house. This was followed by cleaning the house again after the girls went right behind her and destroyed it again. We didn’t move to Italy to spend all of our time inside. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

A couple weeks ago our friends drove us to Verona. Apparently, this town is known for the birth of Romeo and Giulietta. We visited the balcony in which Juliet stood whilst looking down on her love. A bronze statue of Giulietta awaits tourists where her right breast is rubbed in hopes of bringing luck in the form of love. Visitors to her courtyard solidify their love by leaving behind a lock with no key. Thousands of these locks are found in the courtyard as well as various other locations around Verona. I wouldn’t mind visiting Giulietta’s house at another time when less people are crowding the courtyard. After all, it was pretty fascinating.

Verona has much more to offer with several cathedrals, a castle, and an enormous bell tower in the town square. We didn’t go inside the massive cathedral that sits near the town center because it would have cost nearly $50 for all seven of us to enter. I’ll save that for the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City. Walking through Verona to the different ‘attractions’ felt like a maze. The streets are narrow and filled with history. Not a single building looked as if it had been built within the last 200 years. Italy is an architecturally amazing place to say the least.



The castle presented itself in the form of a massive courtyard with a dry mote surrounding it. I don’t recall the history of this particular castle, but it appeared to be of the fortress variety. Given more time, I would have explored it in depth. I have been fascinated with castles for as long as I can remember and this one is worth taking a second look. The courtyard was filled with large modern reproduction pieces of art. Not bad, but a bit touristy.


If I remember correctly, the bell tower stood at least 300 meters and gave a spectacular view of the city! Don’t let the steep staircase deter you from climbing to the top; it’s worth the feeling of breathlessness once you reach the peak. We burned a decent amount of calories on those steps. I would be lying though if I didn’t tell you I had thoughts of the stairs falling out from beneath me as we climbed. Bella, on the other hand, showed a bit of aggravation as she waited for us to keep up with her. The child has no fear! Kenzie asked 150 questions.


The Verona trip was last weekend which should tell you we’re just now getting out and away from the house. For those that have been expecting and patiently awaiting pictures, rest assured they will come more frequently now. The second week of October, however, should really mark the beginning of our travels because I’ll be done with school.

Yesterday, we ventured a whopping ten minutes from Dardago to the town of Polcenigo. I recently learned through the Aviano Photo Club that Polcenigo offers a castle high above their town. We parked our American-size SUV near the town square and walked to a church parking lot. We could have driven, but the street is just so narrow! Polcenigo’s bell tower sits directly in front of the church. This is another one of those medieval looking towns that I could spend all day walking through taking photos of anything and everything. A cobblestone trail leads to the castle. Once again, I was amazed at the view given by the castle’s elevation high above the town. Well, it was more like just above the town. This particular castle was built for the sole purpose of being used in horror films. Let’s just say that once the sun sets, I’m outta there! The Aviano Photo Club is hosting a “Creatures of the Night” themed photo shoot this coming weekend.


Today, our friends just us on a short trip to Lake Barcis. The half-hour drive was gorgeous and passed through a few tunnels, one of which had to be at least two miles long. Surrounded by mountains, this is the type of relaxing place where novels are written. Crystal clear water flows through rock quarries along the road. We passed quite a few men fly-fishing, but the water appeared a bit shallow for trout. Barcis is a decently popular town for locals to picnic and even camp. We left around 5 pm, but I’m fairly certain the town was setting up for some sort of festival. The real beauty of Barcis is in the lake. The water is an astonishing hue of turquoise. The closest that comes to mind is Cooper Landing in Alaska. Both are mesmerizing, but I think Barcis is slightly more unbelievable. Next time I’ll remember to bring my camera!

We haven’t been to any of the ‘hot-spots’ per se, but I can’t complain because our own back yard sure does have a lot to offer! May the following two months be just as adventurous…



Aviano AB Newcomer’s Tour

Bar alla Sorgente





Well, it looks like this will be my first official blog post so take it easy on me! I’m already thinking of reaching back to some of my travels in Korea and filling in the gaps so everyone can get a bit of story along with the pictures. I’ve been without my computer and hard drive for a while now, but plan on uploading quite a bit of photos once I receive my goods from Korea. I shipped everything 10 days prior to returning to the States and still have a few thousand images to sort through that were taken after my things were packed.

So here we are, in Italy! Misty and I signed up for the ‘Benvenuti Tour’ which we took yesterday. We departed the base on the upper level of a double-decker bus at 0800 and returned at 1630. It was amazing! We had two awesome guides–one local Italian woman named Cristina, which was hilarious, and an older American man, Bob, that just moved here as well two weeks ago. Cristina narrated the entire trip via intercom with details and interesting facts covering just about everything we passed by. She was loads of fun!

I will just warn you now that I decided to pack light and, regrettably, brought only one lens on the trip; a 50mm prime. A wider lens would have given me a better opportunity to share with you our surroundings. In other words, I had no choice but to compose only portions of cathedral or landscape. The good news is we’ll be here for three years so I can always go back! 🙂

The trip started by maneuvering our massive bus through a few very narrow streets to the Gorgazzo Spring in Polcenigo. I’m not kidding when I say both side mirrors were probably less than a foot or two from the walls of the buildings lining the street. Polcenigo is a “medieval village” according to Cristina and definitely looks a few thousand years old. It was absolutely beautiful! Flower pots on almost every window sill or balcony. Painted wooden shutters cover every window. Roses grow along the streets like weeds, which totally reminded me of Anaheim, CA. Smiles are mandatory here, okay?! Something’s definitely wrong if you’re not.

We stopped for a quick minute and walked along a short path parallel to a crystal clear stream that led to Gorgazzo Spring. I fell behind to take a few pictures and missed most of the info from our guides. Our itinerary says the Gorgazzo is one of the more important artesian springs in Italy and is located approximately 50 meters above sea level. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen water more clear.

Our trip continued to the market in Porcia, which I think is located in the region of Pordenone. If I remember correctly, Pordenone has a total of 51 city halls. Each town or village has its own city hall. Each town has its own market and is held on one specific day during the week. It’s safe to say that Porcia’s is on Friday. We walked through the market admiring the fresh produce. In Italy, one doesn’t touch and pick up each piece of fruit or vegetable to inspect it like we do in the States. A customer simply points directly at what he or she wants and the vendor bags it. It is considered rude or unsanitary (or both, I’m unsure) for the customer to touch the produce. The market also had clothing and goods vendors.

Misty and I stopped in a small cafe at the end of the market and had breakfast. It was a bit confusing at first because there really wasn’t a line at the counter to order. Luckily, Cristina happened to be in the same cafe and reminded us to be aggressive to be served. Otherwise, the servers assume one isn’t ready to order. I had a croissant filled with marmalade and Misty one with chocolate. A cappuccino for me, water with lemon for her. Both incredibly good at a whopping 4 Euro. Anyone who knows me knows I have a terrible sweet tooth. Misty reluctantly allowed me to taste her croissant…let’s just say Arbys’ chocolate turnover ain’t got nothin’ on that!

As relaxing as it may be, I thought, our tour must continue. Next stop, Pordenone Square. The weather was gorgeous, by the way! We toured the town center and entered St. Mark’s Cathedral, a majestic church built in the fourteenth century. Please excuse the sub-par pictures…I told you I left the wide lens and tripod at home. Doh!

The fifteen minutes or so inside St. Mark’s was followed up by a chocolate tasting at Pasticceria Peratoner, a chocolate factory. We actually had three tastings; chocolate shop, pastry shop, chocolate laboratory. Behind the glass cases inside the pastry shop were dozens of exotic looking fruit covered desserts. A blueberry here, a slice of kiwi there and all covered in a sugary glaze. It all looked so amazing. Don’t worry, the entire tour is available to family and friends that come to visit, hint hint!

What’s one of the fastest ways to travel by land? Cristina brought us all to the train station in Pordenone and showed us how to purchase and validate train and bus tickets. For less than 5 Euro, Misty and I rode the train to Sacile. The ride was comfortable with seats facing one another and large enough for the kids to sit with us. We also had a window to open that let in a nice breeze as the train sped by country fields back-dropped by the mountains. I may be a little off here or there, but there were definitely fields and definitely mountains…they may have just been on opposite sides of the track!

Our bus driver picked us up from the train station in Sacile and took us to some very fine dining at Ristorante Cial De Brent for lunch. This was our first experience being served a four or five course meal. Water, red and white wines, and fresh bread filled our twelve person table. We were served some sort of rice and vegetable pilaf first–amazing. Pasta next, also amazing. Chicken topped with mushrooms and a side of zucchini, carrots, and squash was served as our entrée–amazing. I have no idea what the desert was, but I’ve never seen anything like it or at least presented the way it was. Was this also amazing? Why yes, it was! Throughout the meal, we chatted with a nice family PCSing in from Hurlburt Field, FL. Bob, the other tour guide, and his wife sat across from us. All very nice people.

What better to end this dining experience than a fresh latte! I was served a glass of steamed milk. The server noticed my look of surprise and asked if it was okay. Cafe latte? I was so used to ordering a cafe latte in Korea as just a ‘latte’ because they rarely repeated the word cafe when I ordered it. Needless to say, from this point forth I will order a ‘cafe latte!’ The server poured in some espresso and wrapped the glass in a napkin and dropped a spoon in. There’s a first time for everything, right?

Our Benvenuti Tour concluded with a visit to the Podere Gelisi Antonio winery in Villotte di San Quirino. We learned how wine is produced and enjoyed a wine-tasting with Sergio Gelisi, the owner of the vineyard and winery. If I remember correctly, his grandfather founded the winery. He started with just a few acres. Passed down through the generations, the vineyards have grown to seventy-five acres. They produce thirteen different wines. Sergio’s daughter speaks fairly good English and gave us the tour of their winery. We ended up with a few bottles at 3.50 Euro each.

Grapevines lined the back of the property and stretched as far as the eye could see. Or at least until the mountains took over. A rose-bush is placed at the end of each row of grapes. Not only is it attractive, but it serves a purpose as well. The roses show problems that may arise two days before the grapes. This gives them an advanced notice of any issues and time to act to help prevent losing their precious crop.

Misty and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and can’t wait for visitors so we can share this experience with them. Who am I kidding, I just want a reason to take the tour again!

The rest of the gallery http://www.kcrawphotography.com/Travel/Italy/Aviano-Bus-Tour/30389212_cbSttL#!i=2618416193&k=7gLrR7M