Entries in Europe (118)
In April Frank and I started our Scandinavian vacation by flying from Detroit to Amsterdam, continuing on to Oslo. I slept well on the first leg of the journey but on the short flight from Amsterdam to Olso I was glued to my window with the beautiful views. The clouds were gorgeous, lit up by the early morning sun. Later when we dipped below the cloud cover I could begin making out the coastline of southern Norway.
At the time I didn't know exactly what I as looking at, only that it was lovely. Since returning home I used the satellite view on Google maps (yes, I enjoy being a dork) to figure out where I was looking when I took these photos out the window. Below is the town of Lillesand nestled into the rugged coastline.
I was quite amazed at how clearly I could see these bridges linking Stathelle and Brevik.
At this point the flight path veered away from the coastline over the beautiful countryside of Vestfold County.
Next I caught a glimpse of the islands of Kommersøya, Gåserumpa, Killingholmen and Bjerkøya.
We proceeded past Drammensfjord with a view of the city of Drammen in the distance.
Below Drammensfjord is on the left with the town of Sætre on Inner Oslofjord on the right.
Finally we approached Oslo. You can see Bygdøg on the left with the city center on the right.
Straight down out the window I could see Nordstrand and the cargo terminals of the port.
Looking back out I now had a closer view of Oslo. On the left along the water is Tjuvholmen, the neighborhood where Frank and I stayed while in Oslo. Continuing along the water is Aker Brygge and then the ferry terminals of the Port of Oslo. The tall brick building just inland of the ferry terminals is the City Hall and right up the hill surrounded by trees is the Royal Palace.
After flying by Oslo we continued northeast over more lovely countryside, finally landing at the Oslo Airport. It was such a gorgeous flight and it made me even more excited to start our trip.
When Frank and I were visiting Italy last spring we ate a lot of delicious pizza during our trip but out of all the places we visited our favorite was L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples.
The restaurant is run by the Condurro family who have been making pizza in Naples since 1870. Known by many as the "the Sacred Temple of Pizza” Da Michele is an old fashioned, no frills establishment serving up amazing Neopolitan pizza.
When we arrived there was a long line of locals outside Da Michele so Frank and I knew it had to be good. We waited until our number was called and were seated at a table with two locals. One of the guys spoke some English from having spent time in New York and we ended up having a great time talking to them as we ate. They even recommended the place that we ate at the next night, Trattoria da Nennella, which was amazing.
The simple menus were framed and hung on the walls at the tables. Da Michele only serves two types of pizza, Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, oil, cheese and basil) and Marinara (tomato, garlic, oregano and oil). A few drink options rounded out the menu and that is all that Da Michele needs to provide a great eating experience for its patrons.
Frank and I both decided to get Pizza Margherita, with doppia mozzarella (double mozzarella) of course. The pizza was completely worth the wait with delicious sauce and a perfect crust. Da Michele could easily charge more for their pizza and drinks and their refusal to do so makes the restaurant even more of a gem.
After Frank and I got back to the U.S. we often talked about how we wanted a pizza oven someday. It seemed a far off wish since building a brick pizza oven would be both time consuming and expensive. A few weeks ago, Frank stumbled upon the KettlePizza online so he ordered it, deciding to see if that could make our backyard pizza-making dreams come true this summer.
The KettlePizza is a big cylinder that sits between the base and top of a charcoal kettle grill. After starting the charcoal or wood fire, you place a pizza stone on the grate and let the heat build up on the grill. Frank found using his infrared thermometer that the temperature of the stone could reach up to 1000 degrees Farenheit.
Through a little experimenting, Frank found that the trick to having the pizza work out well was not to make it too large and dust some cornmeal on the bottom so that it was easy to remove the pizza from the peel when placing and removing the pizza from the stone. For the future, Frank wants to get another pizza stone to place on the top grate to concentrate more heat over the top of the pizza for the toppings.
Frank has made pizza twice now with some delicious results (the crust is amazing!) and I am looking forward to more pizza in our backyard throughout the summer.
I have no affiliation with KettlePizza and am recommending it because we purchased it for ourselves and enjoyed using it. In the spirit of full disclosure, I provided an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything from Amazon through my link.
Amalfi Coast, Italy