Ahhh, Aviano! Bueno Sera! We landed in the early evening here in Italy and were surprised to find when we stepped off the plane that the landscape was almost the same as the one we had left back in Bagram. Aviano Air Base sits at the foot of the Dolomites mountain range, and like Bagram, is situated on a plain just below snow-capped peaks. The only thing missing from Afghanistan was the dust... And the air was moist and cool. We all inhaled deeply.
A little vino, a hot pasta dinner with chicken marsala (gotta love Italy), and all of us immediately hit the showers and bed.
Despite missing our new friends across Afghanistan, the good news today is that we smell better, and if I do say so, look fairly decent again.
This morning Toby did a radio interview with AFN Aviano. The interviewer, a senior airman (airwoman actually) from Texas, might just be Toby's biggest fan. As described by her co-workers, "We had to peel her off the ceiling when we told her she was going to interview Toby Keith today." Congratulations to Caitlan, who did a great job with the interview. As she posed for a picture with TK, she told him, "this is definitely the most exciting thing I've ever done."
After the interview we headed to breakfast. As Toby got out of the car, an airman pulling out of a nearby parking space, rolled down his window and wrenched his head backwards. He turned to us and asked, "Is that Toby Keith?" With four affirmative yes's, he parked again and trailed Toby inside.
This afternoon we bussed down to Camp Darby, driving through the Italian countryside -- the ride was a nice change from the air travel of late, but not nearly as exciting. The guys pulled out the cards and after six more hours on top of last night's ten on the plane -- and the collective past six years -- Toby and Brian are still in the lead in spades!
And some breaking news this evening: Toby is upping the ante... As he has now visited Combat Outposts (COPs) in Afghanistan on this trip, future tours will now feature "FOB Hopping" and "COP Hopping."