I'm a pharmacist. Accidentally. I never made a conscious career decision to push pills for a living. Now, I'm a professor who studies the enigma that is the pharmacist and struggle to be self-directed. I'm also a mama. Enter the blog - an excuse to procrastinate. Fascinating? No. Endearing? Perhaps.
What follows is a series of emails I sent to friends and family while abroad. We did a month long trip to Italy with the girls. And survived. Our theme was eating and beaching. Enjoy! I'll follow-up with a travelogue and tips on traveling with kiddos (with only carry-on!) in the next little bit. Imagine you've just navigated an 8h overnight flight to Rome, a 5h layover in the grungiest airport with a Fendi store, and a 1h flight to Sardinia on an Italian airline. You have a toddler and an infant, 2 carseats strapped to your carry-on suitcases, and a diaper bag. No stroller.
All night flights make for tired travellers.
Now imagine a sea of baby-loving fellow travelers who would rather kiss or carry your child than watch you suffer. This is Italy. After drama-free travels and picking up our Ford Focus (not the Opal Corsa we rented..."too-a piccolo per you-a famiglia!"), we made our way through the city of Cagliari to our agriturismo, 20 minutes out of town. Ten roundabouts, seventy-six swear words and two hours later, we realized three things:
Orin, Brynn and Marco with the parrots at the outdoor breakfast table.
The theme of this month-long trip is eating and beaching. Conveniently, Sardinia is an Italian island between Italy and Africa. The beaches have white sand and green, bathwater-warm water. Agriturismi, or farm stays, are as popular here as in the rest of Italy. On arriving at this restored, formerly abandoned mansion in the mountains, we were shown to a large room with a queen bed, bunk bed and a crib. We left a sleeping Orin to join our hosts for a four course meal on the veranda. To ensure you understand just how envious you should be (on a scale of 1-10, aim for 20), this was the menu of Chef Loris:
Antipasto: a fresh (raw) "pizza" of tomatoes, olives and capers on a thin, hard Sardinian shepherd's flatbread called pane carasau (like a cracker), drizzled with fresh olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Primi: a small bowl of neapolitan rigatoni (large tubed pasta from Naples) with zucchini, pecorino cheese, lemon zest and mint
Secondi: a plate of smoked ricotta with roasted zucchini, salami, prosciutto and homemade olives
Dessert: fresh figs (picked from the fig tree, of course) and wine-poached peaches in ricotta and drizzled with a syrup made from the water used to wash bee hives
Digestif: mirto, a homemade liqueur made from myrtle
They held Brynn so we could eat. (We love them.)
Picking figs with Loris.
In the morning, next to a parrot yelling "Basta!" (stop!), Marco served us a typical Italiancolazione(breakfast) of caffe latte (coffee with milk), crusty bread with homemade apricot jam (Nutella for Orin) and local fruit. Then he took Orin to feed the parrots, goats, sheep, donkeys, lizards, boas, chickens, peacocks, nenes and geese. Oh, and the turtles of course. Later, after we visited the medieval city of Cagliari, the neighbors brought their 3yo granddaughter, Beatrice (pronounced Bay-Ah-Tree-Chay), to play with Orin. I'll leave it there for now. If travel is like a fine wine, let this be your first taste. (FYI: 2L of *delicious* wine is 2 euros... $2.40 CAD). Trivia: there is no "j, w, x or y" in the Italian alphabet. Next up: white sand beaches, how Italian driving "eez like a dance" and the importance of teaching a toddler to say "sorry, I'm an a**hole" in Italian.
Brynn, in all her beach going glory. Dave and Orin in the background.