Friday, November 30, 2007

Another International Thanksgiving...

After our long week in Cagliari, I was actually glad to get back to Friedrichshafen! Yes, I have now committed that blasphemous statement to print. Now let's move on. I spent the early week reading, knitting, and eating while watching two seasons worth of Family Guy, as Eric had to work, but Thursday was a full on Thanksgiving explosion. We invited four of Eric's colleagues for dinner, three Germans and a Brazilian this time, so I spent the day making the infamous party potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin soup, and a turkey. This year we actually found a whole one! It was the first time I have ever cooked a whole turkey, and the first time Eric had to carve one, so it was a learnin' experience. I felt a bit lame about not baking, but with limited cookware, I had no choice but to buy dessert. The boys brought a case of wiessbier, and 7 bottles of wine. It was fun, and I like making Germans eat American food, especially if it's even vaguely healthy, since our friends think we eat only McDonald's. They also think we are all fat heiffers, so I wore my skinniest jeans.

The rest of the week was spent hanging out, shopping, having dinner with friends, and other banalities that allowed finally for some relaxation. Then I had to head out on Sunday. I have since vented enough about the hell I experienced traveling home that weekend, so I will not recount the tale in its entirety here, so as to prevent myself reliving it. Suffice to say I got stranded overnight in Frankfurt, arrived home a full 24 hours later than I should have, and have been given 300 dollars back for my troubles.

Oh and p.s. Next time you travel, check to contents of your hand lotion. Glycerin sets of bomb sensors. :)

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Eric and I were soo excited when we landed in Cagliari, Sardegna for our week long vacation. I had read several articles online, and in the newspaper about how beautiful and interesting this city is in the off season. "Skip the maddening crowd of summer tourists, the waiting in long lines, the trumped up hotel prices, and enjoy historic Cagliari at your leisure in November!" Sounds like heaven, right? Hmm, not quite. It appears we were misinformed.

We arrived at our hotel and were excited to find that it was beautiful, very modern and stylish, with a lovely bar, and personable staff. Our room was nice as well, although the view left a bit to be desired. We were of course, a bit outside of the city center, so we expected that. We had dinner in the four star restaurant and welcomed our first disappointment. Good wine, boring food. I thought this was Italy? Oh well.

Next day, we headed out to the downtown area for sightseeing. Cagliari is full of small cobbled streets, shops, churches, and cafes to see, as well as a bunch of cool historic landmarks. Saldy, most of it was under construction. Pitfall of visiting in the offseason. It's cool though, because the people watching is great. Everyone was gorgeous, and bundled up like it's the Arctic although it was 60 degrees. After walking through half of the city in an hour, we realized that this whole sightseeing thing could be completed in about a day, and we had six to fill. Then we got hungry. Little did we know, the entire city closes down from 1 in the afternoon, until 8 at night. You can't eat, drink, or shop much. Back to the hotel.

We spent our next few days trying desperately to find things to do, but it wasn't easy. Despite the promises of our in-room brochure, the staff actually had no information at all about goings on in the city. Not even restaurant suggestions. Luckily we are resourceful. If you get stuck in this predicament you should:

- Visit Iglesias, a nearby town with the most amazing cemetary I have ever seen. Sounds macabre, but it was awesome and I'll share photos as soon as I get them back from Eric! Just make sure you go early because they close the cemetary gates from noon until 3, and the walls are topped with shards of broken glass to deter burglars or overzealous tourists.

- Try to go the week of the European Jazz Expo. It's a huge event, but make sure you plan your transportation thoroughly. The bus stations don't post schedules, so you need to take your chances or talk to the drivers, and they don't speak English. Taxis are expensive, and if you don't speak Italian you'll get ripped off, so watch it! We saw a bunch of cool performances, even if we aren't huge jazz fans, and it was probably the most fun night we had.

- Visit the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. We did a night at the symphony which was beautiful, and you can get cheap tickets.

- Eat dinner at the restaurant at the base of the Bation San Remy. I've forgotten the name, but you will walk past it at least ten times as you tour the city, and you can't miss the green awnings. Amazing food, by far the best meal we had, and the servers were very accomodating. Lots of sign language since our Italian is nonexistant, and they made great recommendations.

All in all, we did have a good trip, but mainly just because we were together and we can amuse ourselves wih very little (Italian talk shows and a bunch of beer! Yay!). This city requires better weather, a short stay, or some really thorough planning, for it to be a relaxing, romantic get away. I think we'll take a second honeymoon.

Holiday Mayhem

The past few weeks have been full of madness due to several holidays, and I'm in the midst of prepping for another big one, so I'm ready for a break. There was of course the Red Sox winning the World Series, which amounted to one big holiday of beer, cooking bar food, and staying up too late. Yes, I was thrilled, but I admit I wish it had been more if a challenge (feel free to boo and hiss). Then came Halloween, with it's usual hustle and bustle of getting costumes together for at least five people, all of whom tend to ask for my help at the last minute, thinking I am Martha Stewart. Sadly, I do not have her staff, so I had to work from scratch to transform a toddler into a parrot, a boy into a pirate, a girl into a birthday present, and myself into Miss Rhode Island 1985. Luckily I had Vanna White's dress to work with. Several parties and a night of trick or treating later, I had eaten enough chocolate to choke a horse.

Now I am headed off to Germany for two weeks, with a stop in Cagliari for the honeymoon. Honeymoon, you say? I know it is out of order, but Eric has to use up his vacation time before the end of the year, so we are taking full advantage now! This holiday will be a bit of a challenge, since I can only pack one bag for 16 days and nights in two very different climates. It will be a busy vacation including not 2, but 10 flight changes, so I'm making sure to be extra prepared (ie. I've stocked up on Tylenol PM). I also have to do another German Thanksgiving dinner with what I am sure will be limited supplies, but I'm hopeful for a repeat of last year's success. The goal is to get some serious sight seeing and holiday shopping done, with a good mix of relaxation tossed in. Oh, and I haven't seen my husband since September, so there ya go.