Snapshots: Afternoons in March

Sardinia, Italy. Photo by: Jennifer Avventura

🔹Colourful coastal walks on a March afternoon with contrasting hues so vivid the eye is in awe of her splendid beauty.

💙

Inside Sardinia: La Seada Sardinia’s Traditional Sweet

Sardinia is famous for many things: the number of nuraghe that dot the island, the earthy red cannonau wine, lightning storms that hit a little too close, and of course la seada. The little town that I live in, we call it la seada, and each town throughout the island will have its own distinct name and pronunciation for this sweet must-try dessert.

It’s a fresh cheese-filled pastry that is lightly fried then drizzled with local honey, or sugar, honey is the better choice, and seems to be the most traditional way served.

I watched a seminar in a lovely little town called Lunamatrona, and I learned how to make this traditional treat. Just look at the detail and tools used to create this local pastry! Such detail and artistry.

La Seada – Lunamatrona, Sardinia, Italy. Photo by: Jennifer Avventura

Not every seada will look like the ones pictured. I was lucky enough to meet an extremely talented woman whose sole purpose is detail and deliciousness in preparing everything Sardinian. She had these wooden stamps specifically tailored to meet her needs. She made la seada pictured, mine were unworthy of photography, but I tried and had a great time.

I am humbled. Thank you, dear Sardinia.

Do you emerge yourself in the traditional food culture of a place you travel to? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.

Safe travels. ❤️

Daily Life: Rolling the Bureaucratic Ball to Obtain the Italian Driver’s License

Early this morning, I finally set in motion the bureaucratic ball to obtaining the dreaded Italian driver’s license by visiting my local family doctor who issued me a clean bill of health, but first, I must visit another town thirty minutes away to see an Eye Specialist, who will determine if my forty-something eyes are good enough for these Sardinian mountainous roads.

To see the eye specialist you need an appointment. So, I called the local hotline four times and I was able to speak to a person who quickly directed my call elsewhere, where I was put on hold again. Then, this automated robot that talks too fast in Italian said that all operators are busy and to try again another time. Click.

Just me and my invisible Italian car and Canadian driver’s license.
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Inside Sardinia: Domus de Janas Genna Salixi

Domus(house) de Janas(fairies) are pre-Nuragic tombs that have been carved from sandstone or trachite. They generally consist of several chambers, and were used as a pre-historic burial site. There are over three thousand Domus de Janas throughout the island of Sardinia, some are just a singular chamber while others are a necropolis like Genna Salixi.

Domus de Janas Genna Salixi, Villa Sant’Antonio
Photo by: Jennifer Avventura 2022

Domus de Janas Genna Salixi is one of the largest necropolises on the island, with its fourteen chambers that vary on height, length and width. This spectacular historical landmark is located in Villa Sant’Antonio, Oristano.

A local legend says … that tiny creatures used to inhabit these chambers and they would contently sing songs while brewing or spinning the daily chores.

There are so many historical things to see while visiting the island. Most tales are peppered with ancient folklore that will leave you feeling spellbound, and wanting more.

Snapshots: Las Plassas, South Sardinia, Italy

Las Plassas, South Sardinia, Italy

We drove two hundred and thirty curvaceous kilometers to the tiny town of Las Plassas for their annual bean festival. We climbed the adjacent mountain for a bird’s eye view of this spectacular town, which has a population of around two hundred and twenty-three gracious and humble citizens.

Later, we walked the cobblestone streets and sampled the regional fare. We drank, shopped local: EVOO, wine, jewelry, honey and of course beans. We learned about ancient traditions and song and we laughed alongside locals as they recounted stories from yesteryears.

I’m looking forward to getting back to this area of the island. The views, the valleys, the wonderful people, and the surrounding mountains make this tiny town worth the drive. This was one of the best little discoveries I’ve found on the island.

Have you been?

Daily Life: The Ominous Italian Driver’s License

It’s not the first time I’ve started the process to obtain the ominous Italian driver’s license. I wrote about it some years ago too: about the struggles with the language and how the exam questions are written just to confuse you. I’d love to share that link with you, however, I’m presently blogging from my cellphone and I haven’t figured out how to add a link within text. I’ll share it with you in the comment section.

It’s back to basics it seems, right from the start and, after having driven only automatic vehicles for close to thirty years, this dog needs to learn new tricks and a whole new style of driving.

A mountainous curve. Sardinia, Italy.
Photo by: Jennifer Avventura

Stick shift, standard/manual transmission have very different styles of driving. I’m not interested in taking corners like a Formula One driver so the idea of stick shift doesn’t appeal to me in that sense, it just makes me more freaking paranoid about taking a corner in these small mountainous towns.

There’s more foot and hand movements needed to safely complete those actions compared to an automatic car, where the car just effortlessly glides into gear and you’re able to sing your favourite song while the panorama slowly opens before you.

My Italian friends keep persuading me to learn stick shift for the sake of driving like a Formula One driver, as they all take such corners so tight and fast that my stomach flip flops. They love it! I want to vomit and they don’t seem to understand my complete annoyance at having to learn a whole new style of driving and their tight corners.

What’s the order here?
Let me know by dropping a comment down below.

There is the option of taking all the required written and road tests in an automatic car, but you will be forbidden from driving a stick shift, sounds fabulous doesn’t it? There’s a catch. Most driving schools only provide stick shift cars to their learners. There could be an automatic car available but it’s stuck in someone’s garage 250 kilometers from where you live and it’s missing the steering wheel.

After exhausting all options, I’m about ready to book the written exam, I’m getting three to four errors on the at home quizzes and the odd few times zero errors. I feel confident that within the next few months I can accomplish this ominous goal.

And just a heads up to the people in the valley, I’ll be coming to learn stick shift, take it easy on me. 😉

If you have any tips on the theory or driving exam, I’d love to hear them.

Safe Driving & Happy Travels

Inside Sardinia: The Giants’ Tomb of Su Cuaddu’e Nixias

During Sardinia’s winter months when the maestrale wind outnumbers the sunny days, I like of take off to little unknown pockets of this vast island. I’m usually without a map, but not far from reach is a cellphone with gps, because here in the back mountains of Sardegna, any turn can take you to mysterious and often forgotten ancient monuments of the island, and I recently got lost here …

🔹The Giants’ Tomb of Su Cuaddu’e Nixias in Lunamatrona. Possibly the oldest tomb on the island. Circa 1700-1600 AC. These megalithic structures which were used as massive collective graves can be found all over the island of Sardinia, some are so massive that you feel so small, some tombs are just left in ruins and others feel like a porthole to another dimension.

Su Cuaddu’e Nixias, Lunamatrona, Sardegna, Italy

Su Cuaddu’e Nixias loosely translates to Nixias’ Horse. This tomb is fascinating by the presence of a hole at the center of the pillar. According to legend, the purpose of this hole was to tether horses. However, some scholars believe that the hole was created well after the Nuragic civilization. Leaving many to wonder the hole’s intended original purpose.

There are few, if any, written records from that time. What we have left are fragments of a strong and resilient civilization that domineered this island with their structures that still stand today, and this is what I find so mysteriously beautiful about this island in the Mediterranean.

Have you visited any of the archeological monuments here on the island?

Snapshots: Under The Corbezzolo Tree

Where delicate, bell-shaped flowers dangle effortlessly.” – J. Avventura

Daily Life: A Maskless Cellphone Scolding

There are a few things I dislike about living the island life in the Mediterranean, it can’t always be la dolce vita.

Those few things are, and in no particular order, and only two make my blood boil: raw tomatoes, dog owners not cleaning up their dog’s shit from my front porch, and having to enter any type of government or banking office.

It was mercato Monday morning in town, a place where all the local farmers come to sell their fruit, vegetables, honey, bootleg wine, handmade leather goods, candy and clothing. It’s honestly the highlight of my week, all this shopping!

I headed to the local atm machine to withdrawal the weekly funds and my card was blocked from even entering the ancient money machine. I tried again, and no luck. There was no choice, I could feel the anxiety creeping up on me knowing I had to enter this office, it’s always such a hassle, such a disaster!

In I go … and wait an hour before it’s my turn.

Good morning, the atm has blocked my card, it won’t go into the machine.

Good morning, okay, can I have your ID card? Oh, is this still your phone number?

No, Im sorry, that is no longer my number. I have just returned from Canada after two years and no longer have access to that phone number. Here is my new number …

Okay, thank you. Allow me to input your new phone number. Do you have your cellphone with you?

(a little chuckle) No, sorry, I didn’t bring my phone because I didn’t think I would need it this morning. I just wanted to use the atm. Why?

Because we will send you a verification code to your new phone number that you must use to approve this new change to your account.

Oh, okay, but I hadn’t planned on coming into the office today, otherwise …

*the teller beside spoke up and even pulled their mask down to scold me… You, you, you must always bring your cellphone with you when you enter an official office!!

This was repeated to me several times by a teller that wasn’t even helping me in the first place. They berated me so loudly and with such a tone that my blood boiled, my right fist clenched hidden in my winter jacket, my teeth clenched so tightly that my face turned to stone.

I had no idea that I was coming into this office, I’m sorry I don’t have my phone. May I close this account?

Yes, you can close …

The maskless teller … I don’t give a crap if you close your account.

What on earth just happened?!? I was so shocked at the tone and treatment of this teller that I just wanted to run away. Not only weren’t they directly helping me, they have no opinion on whether I close my account or not. They also made my business, the business of everyone else waiting in that office.

The verification code is valid for twenty-four hours. Once you’ve verified your card should work.

Have we finished here?

Yes.

Thank you.

So, I didn’t even need my cellphone in the first place as the code is valid for twenty-four hours. Ugh. What ignorance! I turned on my heel and walked right out the door, and cried. (Well, far way from this office, so they couldn’t see me.) Yup, I freaking cried from the wrath of this person. It was more of a “shock” cry than a “poor me” cry. The audacity. I’m still reeling from this maskless scolding.

Has something similar happened to you while trying to peacefully do your business in Italy?

Sounds of Sardinia

The Sardinian mountain sounds here are still the same and I wouldn’t change it for the world: goats bleating gleefully in the distant, the echo of donkey’s heehaw-ing as they chase each other under a twisted cork tree, farmers calling up the mountain to their cattle that it’s breakfast time, a solitary owl that makes its presence known in the wee hours of the morning, every morning perched atop the roof, and the distant sea that roars her mighty strength onto this island’s shore with dazzling drops of sea water.

Sardinia, Italy

Hello, Ciao. I’m finally back after a two year hiatus from Sardinia, Italy. The last two years have seen a dramatic change in the way we view the world, and it’s my hope that I can continue to inspire through this blog with tidbit’s on the culture, traditions and snapshots from this glorious island in the Mediterranean.

😊