Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Adventures of Steph/ven: #1: Sardinia

It seems hard to believe, but a mere five weeks ago I was on the first full day of my holiday in Sardinia. We were on holiday with LC's family (hereafter known as Les Chocolates!), having flown out with Jet2 on a non-stop flight from Edinburgh, via Leeds (not sure how that works - don't ask), to Olbia.

Sardinia is a lovely island, with fabulous beaches, lots of sun, and good food. It's also very expensive, being the only place I've yet seen where fuel is more expensive than in the UK, but not absurdly so, I guess. The week was marked with a whole lot of resting, a lot of reading (hence the list of books read in my previous post), some sight-seeing, and a total lack of stress. Well, for me at least.

We had rented a villa near the sea. Here's a picture of the view from our balcony:

Good, isn't it?

The villa was very nice, although it was a struggle to keep cool - the power was a little ropey, such that if we ran the Air Con in all the rooms at once, the breakers would trip. So, we had to be careful not to overload the system. Other than that, though, it had everything we needed and, crucially, didn't have some things that we were better without - specifically, an internet connection.

The view at night was rather spectacular. Because we were so far south, and also because of the sea on the horizon, when the moon rose at night it was a distinctive blood red. Naturally, that was difficult to photograph well, but it was spectacular to behold.

The food was also rather agreeable - lots of fresh fruit and veg, fresh bread, and pizza. Lots of pizza. (Of course, Sardinia is known for its fish, being an island, but that was mostly not for me.) Of course, many of the menus were in Italian only, which proved a touch tricky since I don't speak any Italian (though I did manage to order some ice creams on a couple of occasions - and no, I didn't just speak English loudly and slowly). Still, my habit of just ordering at random served me well... apart from that one time my pizza came with anchovies.

My one major culinary adventure came at a restaurant where the menu was in English. However, under my "try something new" policy, I felt obliged to try something I hadn't seen on a menu before:

In case you're not sure what you're looking at, that's octopus, with a tomato and lettuce salad. It's fair to say that it's not what I expected - I had expected it to be similar to squid (which I like), but it proved to be much more like tuna (which I don't so much). Still, I ate it... and then was glad to move onto my main course!

The other amusing anecdote from that same restaurant comes from our last night there. As is our wont, LC and I decided to dress up and go out for a meal alone together on the last night. Lord Chocolat gave us a lift down to the restaurant, and no sooner had he departed than we were greeted by the news that they'd had a power cut, that their oven had just stopped working, and that as such they could offer us anything except pizza. Which, given most of the alternatives were seafood, was a bit of a weakness.

So, anyway, we dined in their garden as the sun went down. LC had mussels again, while I tried the ravioli (which was okay, but not stellar). In time, they lit the candles. It was all rather nice.

And then they kicked us out. This wasn't surprising, really - by that point they'd had to turn people away (it was too dark), and we were by then the last customers. So, we paid, we left, and then we walked home. My only regret was that we couldn't have the long-awaited ice creams as we went - the same power cut had affected the whole street, including the ice cream parlour. Such a shame.

Still, there were soon to be other adventures featuring ice cream in all its glories...

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