Pane Frattau

Pane Frattau is a traditional Sardignian dish that is part pizza, part pasta, part huevos rancheros.  It is made using the traditional, round, cracker-like, pita-ish, bread.  The bread is dipped in boiling water and then topped with tomato sauce, a light sprinkling of local cheeses, and a nice, runny poached egg.

It really reminds me of aforementioned huevos rancheros if they were served on a bed of tagliatelle.  The bread, having turned soft, (but not soggy) in the water, forms a good base that the other ingredients stick to.

Despite the strange texture, it really turned out to be a comfort food, like many things consisting of bread and eggs.  Was it the best meal I have ever had? No.  But you should give it a shot.  It tastes better than it sounds in print.

Traditional Sardegnian Music?

Those of you who pay any attention to this blog or have spent any time around me know I’m a music lover.  I’ll listen to just about anything as long as it sounds good in a particular time and place.  I like hearing the local music in some of the places where I travel; that’s why I can handle the occasional, slightly cheesy restaurant band playing local favorites (even if that is “Volare” for the 20th time).

That’s why the trip to Sardegna has been so vexing from a musical standpoint.  Nothing less than “Walk Like and Egyptian,” “Flashdance (What a Feeling),” and “(The Theme From) Never-frickin’-Ending Story” have all blared from restaurant speakers since our visit on this sun-kissed island.  What gives?  Are they trying to drive tourists away?

Everything else has been top-notch.  The prices are fine, the food is consistently good and the service is worlds better than what we routinely experience in the Czech Republic.  So, why all the bad tunes?

Maybe it’s just another symptom of globalization.  Don’t they know the rest of the globe tried to kill this music off?  Is this the price I have to pay to not see another Starbucks sign in a far-off land?

If so, what a feelin’.

Windy Day in Cala Gonone, Italy

It has been a sunny but windy day here.  Travel to other beaches by boat has been impossible.  Relaxing on the porch, napping, and sitting on the small beach in front of our hotel have been the better options.  Here’s a look:

And, this guy had it all figured out.  Dressed in a camo wetsuit, he was off to catch dinner.  Wait a minute, is that Scampwalker?

Lots of windy day blogging to post!

Cala Luna – Sardegna, Italy

We headed out of Cala Gonone today on a small boat toward the beaches that dot the coastline.  This area of Sardegna has some great beaches – deemed the best in Italy.  We took a direct boat as the “mini cruise” boats were sold out by the time we got to the harbor this morning.  We were told we didn’t have to reserve in advance, but it was not to be.  This turned out to be a blessing, however.  The “mini Cruise” boats were glorified rafts and taking little NH on one of those would have been an exercise in really bad parenting.  Instead, we took the 2-way boat to the Cala Luna beach.

Enormous caves line the beach – about 7 or 8 in all.  The beach itself is a mix of sand, pebbles and stones.  The waters are a clear chilly blue and give the whole stretch of beach a beautiful blue hue.

The beach itself was fairly full of people.  Ferries from different tours came and went most of the day.  People splashed in the water, undertook various rock-climbing activities on the sheer cliffs that lined the beach and others just took naps like beached whales.  There were lots of people there but not too many.  I can imagine it would be another story in the high season.

So, was it one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy?  It was gorgeous, to be sure.  But, I like the ability to come and go at my own speed.  I also like to take a mid-day break from the beach to go gorge myself on some great Italian meal to better facilitate the afternoon nap.  There is nary a restaurant here, save for one that appears to be over a small pond and behind some bushes.  (We brought our own beer and sandwiches so we didn’t have a look.)  So, if you like just beach – this is definitely one of the most beautiful.  But if you like the occasional beer or Negroni with (or as) your afternoon snack, this may not be the place.

Oh, one more thing on this beach – there were cows.  As soon as we pulled up and disembarked, cows.  Life is full of surprises.

Cala Gonone – Sardegna, Italy

We’ve headed south a bit to a more relaxed area.  We’re in Cala Gonone and it resembles a fishing village turned tourist mecca.  There are the requisite gelato stands and cocktail bars serving the necessary Italian beach drinks accompanied by plenty of chill out cocktail music.  But it’s small and totally without pretense.  Far away are the yacht yards of Costa Smeralda surrounded by sparkling strip mall style settlements.  This is much more of a family place.  As I sit on my balcony in the Miramare Hotel, I only see one boat that could be considered a yacht and several smaller boats that would classify as rubber boats with motors.  Frankly, it’s a nice change.  With my 5 t-shirts per trip maximum, I really didn’t fit in up the road.  Here, I look like just another comfortable, scruffy, road-warrior dad.

Dinner was on the balcony of our hotel room overlooking the harbor.  It was 9 euros and in the form of 2 Margherita pizzas.  Well, that and extraneous bottles of wine.  Great company on a great night.

Lightning Review: Kodak PlaySport

Right before we headed out to the beach, I saw a link on one of my favorite blogs, Instapundit, where there was a recommendation for the Kodak PlaySport video camera.  My 3-year-old Sanyo HD camera is a bit long in the tooth so I decided to take the “plunge” on this $250, waterproof marvel.  So far it has been a great little unit.  It is in my pocket everywhere I go, including the ocean.  At that price, I’m not bankrupt if something happens to it so I have taken a lot more videos.

The picture itself is clean and crisp (at least on the laptop I’m packing).  Compared to my older Sanyo, everything about it is faster.  That’s nice when trying to capture a little kid living it up in the ocean.  For a little example of the video quality, I’ve took a short video of today’s lunch.  Caution: Video of extreme relaxation below.  Do not watch from the office…

EDIT: Nope, there was a topless woman at the very tail end.  Seriously.  So I had to pull it from YouTube.  Sorry.  Maybe later.

The Italian Snob

Yes, Italy has a brand of candy called “Snob”.  Luckily, we’ve found the Italians to be mostly un-snobbish during our visit so far.  Well, with one slight exception.  We’re in the “upscale” part or Sardegna right now and the lady at the front desk gave Mrs. NH some guff about not registering the “3-year-old daughter” on her reservation.  Mrs. NH coyly replied, “They didn’t offer that on booking.com.” Problem solved.  And in a satisfying, un-snobbish way.

Now, I’m sitting by the pool sipping a drink that is way too strong and will most certainly mean that Mrs. NH will be driving the winding island roads for dinner tonight.  She’s a champ and she knows it.

More Aperol fueled musings as time permits…

3 By Sea – In Sardegna

We’re a little over a week on the road today and part of that road was in the form of an overnight ferry from Rome to Sardegna.  The ferry ride was a new experience but nothing too wild after all was said and done.  The cabin was spacious and all three of us had a decent night’s sleep.

The time in Verona (pictured above),  Rome and the Amalfi Coast with family was a hoot.  We’ve been lucky to see the NH Grandparents in quite a few cool locales over the past 5-6 years and this time was no exception.  The food was great, the wine and lemoncello were excellent and the company was even better.

I expect to have a few more casual, non-road days coming up so be on the lookout for some new posts from this part of the world.

Arrivederci!