Sunday, 27 May 2012

West coast of Sardinia

Started riding at 8.00 am after a breakfast of bananas, cheese and bread that we bought the previous evening. Amost the only vehicle on the road we cruised SW along the Costa Paradiso (Paradise Coast)which lived up to its name, with rugged rocks and deserted white beaches on our right and countryside that reminded us of Connemara in Ireland – small fields scatted with boulders and with drystone walls and full of wildflowers. Lots of camping villages and eco-resorts but all of them closed as it is out of season. Passed the lovely hill-top old fortified town of Castelsardo which looked very interesting but we decided to keep going as it was too early for a coffee stop. Skirted the city of Sassari and went south to Alghero, a place that is described on some websites as one of the best coastal sights in Sardinia, a claim that we though a bit exaggerated but it is certainly nice. It has all the touristy trappings like seafront cafes and horse and buggy rides, but I have to say I preferred the place where we stayed last night because it was more genuine.

Had cappuccinos and then got on one of the boats going to Cape Caccia to see Grotta di Neptuna (Neptune’s Cave). A good way to spend 3 hours but the sales pitch is a bit misleading. We got the impression from their advertising board on the wharf that the boat actually went into the cave to see the stalactites and other formations, but in reality they put you on shore and then you have to buy a 13 euro ticket on top of your 15 euro boat fare to enter the cave. Once inside it is very nice, with 2 main chambers full of very nice limestone formations and several water pools.

The boat trip out and back is spectacular in itself, cruising past high limestone cliffs on flat calm water.

Back on shore we continued south long a very scenic winding road with more rocky coast on our right and this time mountains on our left. The mountains are “softer” than those in Corsica, being covered in vegetation rather than bare and craggy.

A late lunch at an outdoor cafĂ© at Bosa Marina and then as we continued south we started looking for somewhere to stay the night. We soon discovered that on Sunday afternoon Sardinia is closed! We found hotels but their doors were locked and many had their shutters shut tight. We went through some small towns that were almost devoid of any sign of life. Eventually we found a Travelodge type business hotel in the not quite so deserted large town of Oristano, but I’m sure we are the only people staying here. Nice room at a good price including breakfast.
Wandered into town at  7.30 when the place was just starting to come to life again and the restaurants were open for drinks but not for food yet and found beer, wine and a great dinner in an alleyway restaurant though it cost us an arm and a leg because we splurged a bit. They seem to be very nice people in Sardina and are very helpful to those of us who dont speak a word of their language.

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