Windsurfer’s paradise

The good: Windy days = good beach entertainment

Northern Sardinia was hit with strong mistral winds beginning Friday and ending Sunday, which lead to some great windsurfing days for M. Mistral wind comes from North/Northwest of France and can get STRONG. This weekend the wind reached upwards of 40 knots (74 km/h) but can even reach 90 km/h. This generally means a not-so-great-time for beach goers but you’ll find the sea packed with windsurfers.

Marina Maria packed with windsurfers

Such was the case when I braved the fierce wind to witness M in action. Since he’s been living in the UK for the past 5 years and hasn’t been training much the “action” has slowed down somewhat. Luckily I find wipeouts as entertaining as front loops, double flakas, and culo 540s.

M's friend training for nationals

The not so great aspects of the wind:

1. Beach sandstorms. The wind is so strong it whips the sand against you and it can get pretty damn painful, especially if it gets in your eyes! Most people either sought shelter in the beach hut or covered their head with a towel. I ended up bringing home half the beach home with me…It took me a good 20 minutes to get the majority of the sand out of my hair and I still found sand in my ears the next day.

2. Lots of wind=lots of windsurfing=damaged body parts…

Typical windsurfing hands...very sexy

3. …as well as damaged equipment

Torn sail

We’ve got a break for the next few days and won’t be getting another hit of the mistral wind until Friday. I’m looking forward to having Paulino, Marina Maria’s dog, keep me company as we tough out the wind together!

Paulino!

Mosquito bait

The bad: Asian tiger mosquito (Zanzara tigre in Italian)

The mosquitoes here are killer!!! I can handle a lot of bugs and insects but mosquitoes are the bane of my existence. And the ones here in Sardinia are especially vicious. I’m guessing they’re called tiger mosquitoes because of their black and white stripes. I’d take a picture but that would require keeping them alive and sorry, your entertainment just isn’t worth getting tortured over. If you’d like a photo of a smashed up mosquito, though, I’d be happy to oblige.

I think there are 5 mosquito bites in the photo below. There’s a big massive one just to the left of the strap that left a swollen mark the size of a quarter. I guess that bite alone wasn’t enough and the b**** decided to have dessert as well, resulting in the 3 small bites surrounding the big one and the one protruding beside my armpit.

Mosquito bites from hell

They never seem to get full because I’m pretty sure I counted 10 bites from one mosquito alone in a span of 5 minutes. A bit of a history lesson for you- apparently, the first Asian tiger mosquito was first spotted in Olbia (M’s hometown) end of October 2006 due to shipments of used tires.

Due to Sardinia’s mosquito invasion I now have two new best friends:

1. Mosquito repellent has replaced all perfumes and body sprays. I don’t care if the smell also repels human beings so long as my body remains unbitten.

2. The amazing electric insect zapper as shown below. I sleep with this clenched in my hands at night and turn it on the very millisecond I hear that incessant buzzing. There is nothing more satisfying than swatting the zapper around and seeing the spark indicating that the mosquito has made contact with the racquet.

Mosquitoes, beware! I will get you...

Two agriturismos in a row doesn’t do the body good

The good: Agriturismo continued

I went for another round of agriturismo because apparently one night just wasn’t enough! Monday’s experience was meant as a warm-up to Tuesday night’s dinner. I don’t think I warmed up enough because dinner absolutely obliterated me. We went to a wonderful agriturismo in inland Sardinia called Sa Crescia Ezza. We’ve experimented with many different places but to date nothing even compares to the quality of Sa Crescia Ezza.

So I did a pretty bad job of taking pictures the first night and decided to make up for my mistake…enjoy looking at all the amazing dishes that graced my palate. Sorry the pictures aren’t the greatest but I have various reasons for that:

1. I had to take the pictures as soon as I could before greedy hands could dig into the platters

2. Eating outdoors makes for dark lighting = not so great photos

3. I gotta take some blame too….I had to take the pictures as soon as possible also because I, too, wanted to devour everything in sight…

Italian gluttony

The good: Sardinian Agriturismos

Last night I tweeted: “Haven’t eaten in 24 hrs in preparation for tonight’s 13 course #Agriturismo dinner in T-1 hour”. In case you haven’t heard me speak of agriturismos before allow me to give you a brief overview.

For my Canadian counterparts it’s the equivalent of AYCE sushi at its extreme. It’s a 3-hr ordeal that consists of 13 courses (minimum) with unlimited wine and after dinner liquors. Here are a few things you need to know prior to going:

  • It consists of a rich variety of traditional Sardinian fare, which is all home-grown and homemade and is definitely something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime
  • It’s not for the faint of heart
  • It requires advanced preparation, hence the 24 hr starvation tactic
  • Due to the abundance of delicious meat products it’s not exactly vegetarian friendly. We happened to go to one that had a vegetarian (and gluten-free!) option but the real experience is fully appreciated by meat lovers
  • Typical dishes include:

Starters

-Various cheeses such as smoked Pecorino cheese and smoked ricotta cheese

-Various Sardinian sausages

-Zuppa Gallurese (a bread and cheese dish from the Gallura region of Sardinia…really yummy, extremely caloric)

First course

-Handmade ravioli (i.e. Ricotta ravioli with tomato and basil sauce)

-“Culurgione” pasta with tomato and basil sauce

-Sardinian gnocchetti with tomato and sausage sauce

Second course

-Porcetto (skewered suckling pig)

-Roast sausage

Vegetables

-Marinated vegetables in “pinzimonio” sauce

Dessert

-Seadas (A pastry filled with ricotta and drizzled with honey….SO GOOD!!!)

Honey coated seadas

-Coffee and various digestivos…MIRTO, LIMONCELLA, FIL’E FERRU

And so many other dishes that I know I’m forgetting…

Here are some tips for surviving an Agriturismo:

  • Dress in extremely comfortable and baggy clothing
  • Resist the temptation of over-indulging in every dish that’s served to you because you need to make sure you’ve got enough room for dessert..it’s a must have!!
  • Enjoy the meal and take it all in…it’s an unforgettable experience!!!

With that, I leave you now. Guess who’s going for her second Agriturismo dinner in T-1 hour? Yes, that’s right. Yours truly. That’s how much of a champ I am! Before I could only take one of those meals a year…now I can do it twice in a row!!!

A dopo,

Hazel

 

 

The Sarda Life

I’m pleased to report that as of Wednesday August 15, 2012 my summer of 2012 officially began. I’ve spent the past 3 months waiting for summer to begin…well more specifically, I’ve been waiting ever since I saw everyone’s beautiful pictures of May 24 weekend for the weather to make its way over to England. I waited and waited…I resisted from turning on the fireplace in June…I bundled up in my warmest wool sweater and enclosed myself in the warmth of my duvet and waited for the sun and heat to beckon me out of hibernation. I was fooled a few times. There were days where the sun playfully teased me into thinking it was going to make a long-term appearance but it disappeared almost as quickly as it came.

But the joke’s on you, England! Because I managed to escape your cold clutch and am now in Sardinia until September enjoying/suffering from a kind of a heat I haven’t experienced since my last summer in Sardinia. 38 degrees without a cloud in the sky…it would be unbearable if I wasn’t on an island surrounded by sea, sea, and more sea! But I guess I should now mention that it’s been 30 degrees in England for the past few days…the irony has not been lost on me.

Most of my days have so far been spent on various beaches and indulging in Italian cuisine. M’s family is here visiting as well so the days have been activity-filled and have left me with droopy eyes at 11pm. Those who know me should be well aware of the fact that in normal circumstances hitting the sack before 2am is preposterous.

Dip in the sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stepped on the scale the first day I arrived and the number staring back at me read 64kg. That equals to approximately 140 pounds. I’m stating this to the world as motivation not to turn into a gigantic pig after my stay here comes to an end. I’ll let you know the final figure, but just as an FYI it’s only been 5 days since I touched foot on Italian soil and I’m really afraid to step on that scale now. Especially since I have 2 agriturismo’s coming up…stay tuned if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about.

Since I’m here for 3 weeks this will give me a real opportunity to experience ‘The Sarda Life’. My goal is to write daily posts until I head back to England stating facts about the Sarda life. The good, the bad, and the ugly! Oh, and another FYI…it’s not all playtime for me. It’s 1pm and everyone has left for the beach. I, unfortunately, have sacrificed the beach day to work. The reason why I’m here for so long is because M had 20 days of vacation days left to use until the end of September (typical European vacation days typically amounts to 25 days :S). While we don’t have the means to go on a “real” vacation for 20 days it’s lucky for us that M happens to live in a place fit for the perfect vacation. So here I am on my computer “working from home”. So…I guess I should stop blogging and get started on my work, ya?

A presto!

Hazel