Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Decided to Kiss the Ground In Sardinia By Accident

After a great rest after a great night we dress and we are on a mission to find a chocolate store to get some chocolates for Antonio (our host on our next let).

As I am walking and checking my phone for the route I decide my face would be better kissing the cobble stones!

Yup I take a tumble!  Banged my shoulder pretty good, but the worst is I twisted that darn ankle again - yup the left one.  

I have twisted it many times (three really bad sprains). You may remember when I twisted it on a ship a few years ago on the first day coming out of the washroom.

Today Bernie rushes to my side to help me up.  Oh right away I can see it swelling.  And the pain!  

Thankfully we are not too far from the hotel but a 4 minute walk takes around 15 as I hobble thru the pain.

As soon as we walk in the courtyard I take a seat while Bernie goes to get me ice.  The cleaners are just starting and they are concerned about me.  Oh the staff here are amazing.  They go to clean our room first so I can rest.

So looks like my day will be spent resting with my foot up and with ice.  Bernie will head out later to get me a tensor bandage so I can wrap it before we head out tomorrow.

We fly to Lisbon via Rome tomorrow.  But again it is not like we have to do a lot of walking.

Silly me - just glad this did not happen at the begining of the trip.

A Relaxing Day in Sardinia

We had a very relaxing day yesterday.  We spent the morning reading, watching Netflix, catching up with my blog and napping.  Seems we needed it.

We went out around 11 to explore. The town is not large and easy to get around on foot.  After walking around for 2 hours we found a nice restaurant whose menu was on a chalk board and in Italian.  This is usually a good sign.  Means the menu is with fresh ingredients that are in season and it doesn't cater to the masses.

They don't speak much English but they do speak French so the waiter explains the menu to us in French.

I start with a mixed green salad and Bernie has a Calprese salad and for our main dish we share a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce.  We also split a half litre of house wine and a bottle of sparkling water.  Total bill was 25 E.

We explore some more, especially the main church and end up in our favorite gelato spot for gelato.  We earned it after reaching our goal of 10,000 steps.

Back at the hotel we rest (ha as if we are tired, but it feels good) from 4 pm to 7 pm.

Tonight we are going to the hotel's main restaurant which is called Sa Turre which is located in a different building but only a short walk from our hotel.  

It is up on the top floor - and when we arrive we are presented with two glasses of sparkling wine and lead to the open terrace where we have beautiful views of the town.  Right away it puts us in the perfect mood.

We are led to a lovely table for two where we can look out at the views.

We inform the waiter we are vegetarian and if he could prepare something for us and we trust him.  This way has never disappointed us and it doesn't again tonight.

We start with a litre of their house wine which was very good and very affordable.  

We are then served a platter of roasted Vegetables with olives as our starter.

Our main course is the traditional pasta from Sardinia.  Looks like little gnocchi but it is not it is just a smaller shape and made with pasta.  The sauce is zucchini and fresh cherry tomatoes in a tomato sauce.  So yummy.  But a lot of pasta and we couldn't even finish the plate.  Plus we want dessert.

I ask about the traditional Sardinia dessert of the cheese filled pastry that is baked/or fried served with local honey.  Yes they have it and that is what we get to share!  Oh my it is so good and the honey is so flavourful.

The entire meal was 54E and the ambiance was priceless, very romantic and quiet with stunning views.

As we stroll back to the apartment we are reflecting on this amazing time here in Sardinia and how glad we are that we came.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Day After the Wedding

We wake early and head outside to the beautiful courtyard for a great breakfast that is included in the stay at Mannois Albergo Diffuso.

I can't say enough about how nice the staff are here.  After so few days they welcome us by name and know what we want before we even ask for it.

The rooms are so comfortable and so charming.  Enough character from the past but with modern ammenities.  

I think the only negative is their wifi needs a stronger router as it is rather weak throughout the grounds.

If you are coming to Sardinia I can highly recommend Mannois Albergo Diffuso.  

Today is another gathering.  This time back at Laura and Franco's home.  A final meal together before everyone heads home.

Once again we are served course after course of amazing foods.  

Today a whole roasted pig is served (we did not have any but we heard it was delicious).  The pasta course was once again amazing.

I especially love the vegetable course - here they serve a plate of raw vegetables.  Usually fennel, radishes, celery, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce.  

Dessert is leftover wedding cake and cookies.

Then the liqeurs come out again.  You name it we had it.  

In the end it was a fun day, with lots of laughs and love.

It is hard to say goodbye to all these wonderful people we have just met but feel we know so well.

We will never forget our time here.  Thank you Laura and Franco for including us in this special event.

Wedding Day

We wake a little tired after such a late night.

We need to get moving.  Breakfast, shower, and dressed for the wedding.

Around 10 am people start gathering outside the hotel where Laura (the bride) is staying with her parents.

It is customary for the Groom to arrive greet the Bride and her family.

Franco with his sister and brother

Tradition is also that people greet them with a plate with rice on it, with flower petals, candy and coins.  This is then smashed in front of the couple and hoping to break in many pieces - which is suppose to bring them great luck and fortunes. 

I have video of the Mother of the Bride and the Bridesmaids doing this but will have to wait till I get home.

We all proceed to the church - a long parade of cars - beeping horns.  

The church is remote and is called Santa Maria of the Sea.  It is where seafarers would go to seek refuge and guidance and come back to give thanks for a safe journey.  Makes sense to get married here since they met at sea.

It is a beautiful ceremony - all in Italian.  Beautiful singing!  I too have video of the singing that I will post when I get home.

After the service we all throw rice as they exit the church.

We all parade down to the reception that is held at a stunning resort (that we passed when we went to the beach the other day).  Apparently Franco use to work there.

An afternoon reception starts out in the garden with appetizers and drinks.  

We make friends with some young people that are friends/relatives of Franco.  They want to practice their English.

The reception hall is HUGE and we all can find our table by an appropriate seating assignment that has Princess ships with names assigned to each ship.  

Don't look too closely as the person who did up the board was told to add Royal Princess.  They searched the web and got Princess and Royal Caribbean intertwined.  So some of the ships are acutally RCL ships.  But hey I think we are the only ones that would notice the wrong ships.  It was a cute touch.

Our table assignment is the Majestic Princess.

Now let the feast begin!  The meal lasted 3 hours.  

Antipasta to start - cheese, meats, olives, fried vegetables
Seafood - shrimp, octopus, squid, salmon
Pasta - two different kinds
Veggies cours
Seafood course - salmon, swordfish, squid, octopus, shrimp, and more
Meat course - veal and pork
Fruit course
Wedding Cake

I am sure I am missing something.  We were full, and we did not eat many of the courses as we stuck mainly to vegetarian items - plus the cheese.  

Around 5 pm Bernie and I went for a stroll around the grounds.  The site is stunning, and would be lovely to stay at.  A bit remote though, you would definately need a car.

Around 7 pm we left to rest at the hotel, but ended up not returning for the dancing as we were just so tired.   It was a very long day and I am not sure how they managed for so long.  

Others went back for the dancing and even more food.  We heard it was great fun.

Overall it was so nice to experience an Italian wedding in Sardinia with all it's customs.  We felt very welcomed and part of the family.

First Two Days in Orosei Sardinia

I am trying to catch up with the posts about our time here in Orosei.  Of course when attending a wedding it is packed with events and I have not really had time to write.

On Friday we woke and ended up finding a small laundrymat to do our wash.  While clothes were in the machines I went for a stroll.  As I walked I heard beeping but heck I don't know anyone here, again I hear a beep.  Well later I find out both Franco and his brother in law passed me walking and they each beeped.  So already I know this is a friendly place and I am running into people I know.

It is quite warm out and we decide to go for a stroll after putting the clothes away.  

The town is not large but it is a maze of street with numerous hills in the old town.  Everything looks the same and it took us a few days to get our bearings.  

Even delivery of wood closes a small street in the old town.

We stop for gelato and then back to the hotel for a bit of rest before heading out for a welcome dinner hosted by Franco and Laura at a local restaurant called Villa Fumosa.

A huge U shaped table takes up most of the restaurant and as the guest arrive I feel like I am again in a movie.  The drinks start, the pizza starts, the laughs and toasts start.  

Even though Bernie and knew no one except the Bride and Groom we soon know a ton of people.  We are welcomed just like we are family.

The next morning we decide to venture further afield.  I really want to see the beach.

We start walking and after about 45 minutes we are at a beautiful beach.  It is hot out and there are quite a few people here considering it is October.

We do put our feet in and it cool to the touch but I am pretty sure it would be easy to get use to.

There are numerous bars/restaurants along the beach area.  Many are closed for the season but there are still a few open.

We make our way back to the hotel where we shower and change for an open house at Laura and Franco. 

It is traditional to hand out cookies and sweets to the guests. The baskets that are being used are ones that Franco's Mom made and are a treasure.

Later that evening we head to a hall to have a huge dinner served by Franco's friends/family.  The place is packed.  I am guessing around a 150 people!  And this isn't even the wedding.

The food never stops, the wine never stops, and we are full and drunk - but not too drunk.

When we get back to the hotel we quickly hear the groomsmen arrive with Franco and Laura.  Laura is staying at the same hotel we are with her parents and sisters tonight.

Tradition has it that they serenade the bride, while we pour the drinks to get them to leave.  

We went thru quite a few bottles of the traditional liqeur.  I have a lot on video of this and it really should be seen but that will have to wait until I get home as I need my computer and wifi to do it justice.

Soon the men leave and we are back in bed, resting for a very long day tomorrow.

will add more pictures and videos when I get home so check back.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Sardinia Here We Come

You know Sardinia was never on my radar - until.....

We met Franco Patteri a head waiter with Princess on the Royal almost three years ago.  We instantlly hit it off and then meeting his lovely girlfriend Laura on one of the legs who he then formally proposed to I knew we would be life long friends.

When it came to planing their wedding we were honoured when they included us in their wedding.  This whole trip was planned around their big day.

Our flight to Sardinia is a short one, but somehow a 1 and half hour flight takes five hours - arriving at airport, dropping bags, clearing security, waiting for gate, waiting for boarding, actual flight, waiting for bags.  I really miss the train trips.

We flew with Easyjet (our first experience) and even though booking was easy, price was so right, the actual plane is not one you would want to be on for anything longer than two hours.  So overall we can't complain, and it got us to a beautiful place quickly.

As soon as I saw Sardinia from the air I nudged Bernie and said "this feels right".  

Laura and Franco were there to greet us with hugs and kisses and soon we were on the road to Orosei - about an hour's drive from Olbia where we flew in to.

Franco proudly describes his home and the surroundings.  We are impressed.  Traffic comes to a sudden halt because a truck is turning, but after 30 seconds we are on our way again with few cars in our way.  This is not the mainland of Italy anymore.  Bliss.

We are off to Franco's sister's home for a welcome lunch.  

As soon as we step out of the car we are greeted by kisses and hugs.  We feel like family!  We meet Laura's sister and her family (including two beautiful young girls), her Mom and Day, Laura's 2nd cousin and his wife, Franco's sister and her husband - the hosts.

As we are led to the house to the long table set for a feast we are stopped dead in our tracks by the view.  I swear I could be in a movie!  

We start with wine - made from the grape vines we are looking at.  Then pasta, roasted peppers, potatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, radicchio and so much more.  Patrina (hope i have that right) and her husband are such gracious hosts.  Just a mention of something and she is out with it!

For dessert we have a Sardinia favorite - a cheese filled pastry that is served with sugar or honey (also local).  OMG to die for!

The after dinner wines come out (again all homemade) and well I have to try both.  The first almost knocks me on off my feet... hmm Bernie can you finish.  The second made from a bean (sorry by this time I was feeling no pain) is still strong but very nice.  Thankfully these are small servings and we can savour them, like a fine Cognac.

Then of course espresso.   

As I sip it and stare out at the view, listen to those around this large table all I want to do is pinch myself.  How lucky are we.

I am living a dream.