Mi dispiace! Sono piu tarde…

When I first decided to create a blog I promised myself I wouldn’t be one of those half assed blogger hussies who only posted once every few weeks. Initially I had dreams of making quick daily updates with a few pics and thoughts to hopefully keep you interested. As I started to write though I realized my style more involved a rambling exploration of what was going on around me with thoughts, feelings, dreams all piled into one (way too long) blog entry. So I figured at least an entry a week would be appropriate. WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY IS, I’M SORRY! There is no excuse for my poor blogging behavior! Sure, I could tell you I’ve been so busy the last two weeks, I’ve had sooo much work for school (including writing my first paper is 2 and a half years!), I’ve been traveling and blah blah blah but when people just stop posting for no rhyme or reason it is plain rude. I remember this summer, one of my favorite fashion and style bloggers, Garance Doré, who usually posts a story every 2-3 days, just stopped updating for over two weeks, I felt as if I had been wronged. Left high and dry. Rejected. She and I were definitely in a fight (that she obviously was unaware of). Anyway, it wasn’t until she finally posted again explaining (through a French translator) that she had had a mental breakdown from stress and exhaustion and had also been in the process of moving from Paris to New York. Ughhh. FINE. I accepted that as an appropriate excuse and forgave her. My excuse? Well, I guess I’m still trying to balance my life out: school, new city, new friends, travel, boyfriend, email correspondence (or lack thereof), and shitty internet in my apartment. So again, mi dispiace! Finally, here we are so let’s get going!

 

The last we left off I was on my way to Sardinia with the girls from my program. There are only 5 of us in total so what better way to get to know one another than to travel to an island together? I find that exploring new places, getting lost in foreign countries, eating new foods, dealing with (the frustrations and mishaps) of public transportation while traveling is the perfect setting to really get to know some one. For example, when Robert and I we were still in the “I like you but am not totally comfortable with you yet” phase, we made a stop over in Lake Garda, Italy during our Euro trip last summer. I must’ve eaten some bad fish for dinner one night. Let’s just say that all the “mystery” in our relationship was lost when I had to spend two hours in the bathroom at his family friend’s house cramped over the toilet having a flashback to Jim Carey’s epic scene in Dumb and Dumber. Ah, young love. So romantic isn’t it? I mean, I was completely mortified for the next 48 hours but once I was able to laugh about it, and we eventually laughed (for a long time) together, bowel issues really dissolve all barriers between two people. Not that I would suggest taking ex-lax to get to your boyfriend’s heart, but hey, we’re all human right?? And no worries! When Robert visited New York last fall he also had a  bad fish experience which left him in a similar situation at my Uncle’s house! And maybe it was worse for him as we were in a house filled with my male cousin’s who were only (and still are) slightly abusive towards the German boyfriend with the bathroom attack.

ANYWAY, back on track. So Sardinia. After catching a 3:30 am bus from Florence to Pisa, we got on a flight at 7 am and landed in Alghero by 8 am. Ryanair flights are extremely inconvenient as they tend to fly at either the crack of dawn or middle of the night and also into random small airports outside city centers, but for 24 Euros roundtrip, I guess one has to try not to complain. So once we deleriously arrived into Sardinia as the sun just came up, we found one of the two taxi drivers in total who are waiting outside this teeny airport. I ended up sitting in the front seat and for a good twenty minutes practiced my Italian skills as the driver and I shmoozed about Sardinia, his family, our studies in Florence, ya da ya da ya da. I was excited to find that he understood my poor excuse at his native language. Italians in general it seems, and more so than the ones I’ve met outside the city, are so willing to share advice about anything with you – whether it’s about finding a good restaurant, telling you which vegetables are the best in season now, attempting to help you when you’re lost even if you can tell that they actually have no clue where you are trying to go. Maybe it’s because I’m from New York or that my father is Neopolitan and I was raised a natural skeptic, but I have always found it difficult to trust strangers, like they are trying to get something out of me. I mean, of course I’m not going to follow a guy with a gelato down a dark alley, but it seems like for the most part, the Italians I meet day to day, really just want to chat and offer sound advice when asked for it. Guilio the cab driver, provided a wealth of information from a good sandwich shop in Alghero to the importance of knowing how to speak English and how he regrets never learning. Everyone has regrets in life I guess and it was some how sweet that this man was opening  up to a car full of delirious foreigners at 8 in the morning about his personal woes…

So we finally arrived at Big Fish B&B, a bed and breakfast I found online. The website implied a sort of kitsch decor, but nothing could prepare us for this:

 

Amazing decor and an ideal place to call home for the weekend. I mean, who doesn't love mismatched print leopard thrown up all over a room. Fantastic.

 

An early morning stroll along the port that these men have probably been doing for the last 40 years. What is it with me and my affection for old people?

 

Boats parked in Alghero's port.

 

 

 

Simple and beautiful.

 

 

 

We stumbled upon this amazing find: Casa del Formaggio. Only good things can come from a place named HOUSE OF CHEESE.

 

Specializing in local favorites such as Pecorino Romano and Pecorino Sardo (a bit tangier than the Romano), Casa del Formaggio was a glorious find. The girls and I picked up a big block of cheese, some thin crispy bread (another local favorite) and juicy cherry tomatoes for lunch our first day.

 

Fred Plotkin also mentioned this shop in his book, Gourmet Traveler, so I was excited to know we stumbled upon a foodie hot spot!

 

After our first day of strolling the streets, we took a walk on the beach and caught this sunset. The two people in the middle ground were an old couple taking in one last swim before dark. Perfect end to a day.

 

Day 2: Kathryn, Elise and I signed up for an all day excursion on the Andrea Jenson sailboat. The boat (and boat boy) were a gorgeous sight.

 

While I'm definitely not a savvy boat girl (you can ask my brother John whom I think may be perplexed by my sheer inability to function on the open seas), I was able to relax and enjoy the big sailboat and calm waters.

 

Just your standard lighthouse chillin out on a cliff.

 

Just an insanely beautiful lunch on a sailboat with new friends in the middle of Tyrrhenian Sea.

 

 

 

Elyse, Kathryn and I enjoying the water. Elyse, who I think I nicknamed Guppy on this trip because she literally was in the water every chance possible and went as far as to hoard bread during lunch to feed the fish. She and I also explored (and by explore I mean sheepishly approached but had to back away because I was convinced I saw an Octopus ready to suck off our faces) a cave. Anyway, it was the perfect day for me to practice my doggy paddle and repeatedly dunk my face in the salt water in hopes of clearing up my recently acquired acne issues (Oh, Florentine air, how you get me every time!).

 

Kathryn and I soaking up some afternoon sun. Another view of true happiness.

 

 

I hope these pictures help express the true beauty of this part of the world. From the water and mountainous landscape, to the pure and simple mentality of the Alghergo people. The owners of the B&B, the English couple who owned the sailboat and are half year residents in the town, to the shop keepers and restaurant owners, it was such a nice relief instantly feeling at home in this lazy beach town. I guess I am still getting used to city living where Florence can seem ruthless at times depending on the day and your mood. This trip allowed me to breath and the fresh air always has a calming effect over me.

I feel lucky to have spent time with Elyse and Kathryn on our boat excursion. After living at home over the last 18 months before moving to Florence where my closest friends were my parents, it truly is a wonderful feeling making new friends. Elyse is one of those people who is naturally smart and insightful and doesn’t even realize how much she offers the world and the people around her. We also find the same things funny and bond over pyscho-analyzing everything and everyone around us. Kathryn, an artist, inspires me in the sureness of who she is. A person so comfortable with the decisions she makes, can see the outset of situations (both menial and important) before they happen. We also concur that she is definitely a little psychic.

Anyway, it’s probably not of interest to you that I am happy to have the capacity to  meet new people and make friends, but you really don’t understand! I have been so lucky all my life to have grown up with a close nit circle of lady friends and have continued to hold onto important people through different phases of my life (college, study abroad, Montauk friends…) and just feel lucky to continue to meet inspiring people and share this place and time with them… Alright, before the warm and fuzziness continues, I will end this post thanking you for continuing to tune in. 

Off to do some research at the Pitti Palace for my first presentation this week! Wish me, “in bocca al lupo!” 

More soon amici!

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About Lauren Raffaela

Ciao ragazzi, mi chiamo Lauren. I am writing from Florence, Italy where I am in school for a Masters in Museum Studies. When not in school I spend my days strolling the streets, trying to look like a local. I love to people watch, go jogging before the city is awake, have small talk with old ladies and am constantly stopping to read menus in restaurant and cafe windows just to see what they're up to. My favorite gelato flavor is noccioloso and I try to control my intake to one (or two...) a week. My blog focuses on my adventures and discoveries - both about this beautiful city (and country) and about myself. If you would like to touch base or have any questions please feel free to leave a comment on my posts and I'll be sure to get in touch. Grazie and ciao!
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4 Responses to Mi dispiace! Sono piu tarde…

  1. Fran says:

    That cheese shop…..fantastic….we were there !!!!!! I distinctly remember the beading at the doorway……that was a cute little town. We bought “bottarga” there, a Sardinian fish roe garnish on top of whatever……interesting find. Wasn’t that store cluttered with stuff?

  2. Ali says:

    YOUR LIFE IS AMAZING.

  3. Nicole says:

    Ok, that photo of the couple swimming in the sunset, swoooooooon. Amazing photos, I’m totally living vicariously through you. So glad you are making new friends and having these unforgettable experiences 🙂

  4. Ky says:

    Lauren, you stayed in my dream hotel room. LEOPARD CHIC BABY.

    Miss you and so glad to read about all these life changing experiences! Call me soon! xoxo

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