Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Falling in love with Sardinia (part 1)


Sardinia, a large island in the Mediterranean Sea, has nearly 2,000km of coastline, sandy beaches and a mountainous interior popular for hiking. Its rugged landscape is dotted with thousands of “nuraghi” – ruins of mysterious Bronze-age stone structures shaped like beehives.
Sardinia is the second island in the Mediterranean sea. Because of its geographic position in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and its resources, especially the mining resources, Sardinia has always represented the colonizers' destination. Sardinia is a very ancient island rich in history and legends and everywhere there are traces of human settlements dated from the Neolithic Age. The climate allows to have a very long summer season, from April to November. Sardinia is politically divided into 4 provinces; Cagliari, Nuoro, Oristano and Sassari.
(source:Google)

My trip started in the lovely old town of Alghero, one of Sardinia's most beautiful medieval cities. The Catalan influence is huge owing to the arrival of Catalan colonists back in the 1300's. Today, Catalan remains the official language of Alghero, alongside Italian, making it unique to anywhere else in Italy.


After a very rocky start; our hire car broke down just 16km from Olbia airport and we had to wait nearly 2 hours in the blistering sun until we could be towed back to the airport for a new car! With that behind us we drove through torrential rain and thunder storms with lightning appearing to strike the road before us, finally reaching our first stop the Alghero Resort Country Hotel. What a gem, a real oasis in a hot, desert like landscape and only a few miles from Alghero city centre.


And then the sun appeared....



Our plans to explore that afternoon were scuppered by two 10 year olds wanting to dive straight in to the cool pool... With temperatures in the high 30's and being hot and bothered from our little breakdown, the only thing for us to do was to join them.


Oops, where did that come from?

That evening, we joined other guests on the terrace for a BBQ of local meats, including pork and sausages, and accompanied by a beautiful aubergine parmigiana and mixed salads.

The exploring could start tomorrow!

Bags packed, we headed out to the nearby beach of Porto Ferro. Not the best beach apparently because "the sea wasn't the colour of the sky" but we thought it came pretty close. After driving through Alghero's coastline we'd passed a few beaches that were just too crowded for our liking so were pretty pleased with our choice when we were met with a vast expanse of deserted fine sand and crystal clear seas. There's a great little beach bar at one end serving freshly made hot sandwiches and pizza. I'd recommend walking along the shoreline though as the sand is pretty HOT!!


After lunch, we left Porto Ferro for the coastal drive from Alghero to Bosa, said to resemble the pacific coastal highway in California. 


I was completely charmed by the sellers at the side of the road who had turned their driveway over to a mini market stall, I couldn't resist stopping for some fresh sun ripened fruit.

 Bosa is a unique unspoilt town just 40km south of Alghero, boasting a beautiful and wild countryside, stunning beaches and coastline. The historic town centre is an intriguing maze of medieval streets, stone staircases, gracious palazzos and terraced houses painted in bright colours, all nestled under the hilltop Malaspina castle.


 The view from the castle down the valley towards the river Temo

The next day we were up bright and early for a day on the sea with the fantastic Andrea Jensen, a traditional wooden sailing boat. It is run by a British couple who now reside near Bosa, and spend half their time sailing the crystal seas. This will probably be remembered as the best day of our holiday. The crew, Geoff, Vivien, Tim and Juliano were fantastic, allowing the children to take turns in skippering the craft.
Leaving Alghero behind, we sailed past the dramatic coastline towards Fertilia. After some time, I lost track, we set anchor down in a small bay, were kitted out with snorkels and explored the warm sea... Lunch was a delicious salad of mozzarella and tomato with a selection of meat, followed by pesto pasta, fresh bread and sea air. There were also juicy melon slices for the adults and ice-cream for the children. Throughout the day we were provided with fresh fruit, cold water and the odd cheeky beer!


On the way back we lifted the sails and cruised with the breeze, a truly magical moment that we'll never forget. Children took turns to ride in the hammock up front, while Tim and Juliano took us out in the dinghy to get a few shots!

  

  
Beautiful, isn't she!


If you enjoyed this read, the next part of our holiday can be found here;