Cagliari Day 2 - Springtime Spin in Sardinia 2019 - CycleBlaze

May 16, 2019

Cagliari Day 2

I woke up this morning to the aroma of freshly baked bread.  We emerged from our room to a beautiful breakfast spread, starring sliced brioche. Ignazio had made a fresh batch of brioche bread for us while we slept. He quickly credited his Moulinex machine for the loaf but I’m not buying that. I have a bread maker and it's never made brioche bread for me. He made us some great coffees to go with our breakfast. 

On the agenda today is a visit to the market, a stroll up to the Church of Santa Maria, assemble the Bike Fridays and attend a cooking class this evening. Today our portable wifi device is supposed to arrive too. If all goes well, we will use it for all of our internet needs.

The Mercato di San Benedetto.
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The market is unassuming from the outside but inside, it is a foodie’s dream. The main floor is devoted to fresh and cured meat (chicken, pork, beef), cheese, bread, snails, pulses, pastries, pastas, mushrooms, fruits and vegetables. The aroma around the cheese vendors' stands was glorious. 

The aroma of this cheese was intoxicating.
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The fresh colours of the fruits and veggies made me want to take a big bite out of something...anything. But I restrained myself.

Gorgeous displays of fresh vegetables.
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More herbs and veggies.
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The entire lower floor of the market is where you find fresh, very fresh (i.e. still living) seafood including whole/ filleted fish, swordfish, cuttlefish, prawns, eels, rockfish, sea snails, octopus, tuna and a whole lot more. The vendors were clearly proud that their catch was still alive and would brush their fingers across the octopus to get it to wriggle around. They didn’t need to agitate the eels, they were a squirmy just because they are eels.

Lobster. So fresh, they were waving their ‘arms’ at us.
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Beautiful moules.
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These octopi don’t look very lively (nor would we without a spine), but they are definitely still alive. One of the suction cups on the long overhanging tentacle was stuck to the wall and when the vendor tickled the octopus, the whole body and head reared up.

Octopus...one was trying to escape.
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Razor clams, still alive
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We passed by the cheese stalls again to clear our nostrils before leaving the market. Next, we headed up to find the Church of Santa Maria. On the way we strolled through a neighbourhood called Villanova. This is a snall area at the bottom of the hill where the original buildings are just two stories high. There was a mix of dwellings and tiny artisan’s studios. Inside one studio we watched a woodturner carve details into the base of a spindle. In another, the owner had hoarded so many tools and projects, he looked to be straddling one of the piles looking for something he had set there god knows when. The streetscape was as beautiful as you could want. Many residents had potted plants infront of their homes while other had rooftop gardens.

Via San Giovanni
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Via San Giovanni
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A gardener lives here.
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Skies are much clearer today.
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Terrazzo Umberto I, atop the Bastione Saint Remy.
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The town was particularly quiet yesterday and today there seemed to be more people out and about. It didn’t take long for us to clue in that there was a cruise ship in the harbour today. They were flooding the town by the time we neared the Church of Santa Maria. Not only that, but they were completely blocking traffic as it tried to get through the narrow arches of the old town. We were glad to have had the place almost to ourselves yesterday.

View from the Terrazzo.
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The Church of Santa Maria.
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Inside the Church of Santa Maria.
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Church ceiling.
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Marble designs of the Pisans.
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We strolled back down the hill and bought two takeaway panini’s for lunch. Then David set up outside Ignazio’s garage to assemble the bikes.

Bikes going back together.
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My bike’s all ready to roll.
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At 5:30, we switched hats and walked to our cooking class. It was held in a local resident's ground floor apartment. Robi invited a friend, Lucca, to join us. The main dish we were to learn was a tradition Sardinian stuffed pasta called culurgiones. We set about making the pasta dough with semolina, flour and water and then put it in the fridge to rest. Next we made the potato, cheese and mint stuffing and set it in the fridge to rest. So far, so good. Next, Robi demonstrated the technique for knitting the pasta edges together to make the blanket for the potato stuffing. Try as I might, mine just never came out right. By the fourth try, David was turning out beautiful little culurgiones

After flattening out the dough, we cut circles out..
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Culurgiones coming off the assembly line.
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Cute little culurgiones...mine didn’t make the cut!
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Our two new friends, Robi and Lucca.
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Lucca was our DJ for the night. While we worked on the pasta he prepared a big platter of antipasti, which we washed down with a white Sardinian wine. He started our evening out with traditional Sardinian music, but quickly switched over to Neil Young!  Robi then put the pasta on to boil and served it two ways: one was boiled and served with olive oil and finely grated aged pecorino cheese; the other was boiled and served with a tomato sauce and pecorino cheese. Both were delicious. 

The conversation was really interesting and we shared a ton of laughs. Robi went into fits of laughter when David told him he figured out why Sardinians are so slim: it takes them forever to eat. To which Robi replied that he ate his pizza in 7 minutes last night! When I showed Robi a photo of our bike set up he got more than a little excited (he and Lucca are also cyclists). When he calmed down, he told us we will be greeted as aliens by the small town people, but nice aliens. Lucca concurred and told us that every time he visits his grandmother’s village they look at him with curiosity and ask what he’s doing there. So, surely we will be aliens! The evening confirmed what we expected, that Sardinians are great people and we are in for a great tour.

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Keith ClassenI agree... it looks like you are in for a great tour - your start sure looks good!
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2 years ago
Patrick O'HaraHi Anne,

Patrick here. Susanna and I are living vicariously through you (and the Classens, Anderson's, and the Gaudet's). Looking forward to your entries every morning. This one is on our bucket list. Tail Winds.
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2 years ago
Mar gorHi Anne

Absolutely love your photos and blog!
Saving the next four entries until tonight because right now I need to work on my animal portrait......three Roosevelt Elk!

Stay safe
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2 years ago