BONUS – David and Mari’s friend Greta and her family just happen to be at a nearby resort, and are in the pool. Greta asked if I would internet – YES. It is Thursday AM, July 14th.
I know that it will be sometime before I can post, but I can still be writing, before anything slips my mind. We left the hotel in Rome shortly before Noon on Saturday and headed to the port town of Civitavecchia to catch the Moby Line ferry for Olbia on the Northwest coast of Sardinia.
Well, when I think of ferry my memory goes to the small open Ticonderoga ferry for a dozen or so cars (more if all TR3As) or the Staten Island Ferry – but try to envision a hybrid of a cruise ship on top of two decks for vehicles including busses and semi-tractor trailers that enter from the stern, drive forward and do a u-turn to be ready to exit the stern upon arrival. Unbelievable, but this is Mediterranean travel. Boarding was at 3PM with cast-off shortly thereafter for our 125 mile sail. I wanted to ride with David in the car to see the inside of the ship while Mari and the kids boarded by foot to secure a good seating spot (which was not really a problem it ended up because the ship was far from capacity – another sign of a sad world-wide economy). When we exited the car decks we passed two decks of cabins and then arrived on the deck with restaurants, seating areas, playgrounds, game room, and up forward a three level cabaret with stage. We arrived at Olbia at about 8:30 PM. I slept for several hours, my posting to 2:30 AM that morning having finally caught up to me.
Sardinia consists of coast or mountains, with only small towns on some of the mountainous roads, so we ate in town in a great spot Mari selected. Pizza (better than the states) is everywhere, and ideally prepared in wood-fired ovens. The pies are traditionally prepared with very thin crusts and then a wide, very wide range of toppings. An individual pie is the size of what would feed a family in the states, but in the states the massive toppings on that one pie are far too much for one person. I will have to get a picture sometime for you. Then our mountainous journey began sorting out which road to which town along the way heading essentially due west to Isola Rossa. We arrived about midnight and began trying to follow Mari’s uncle’s sketchy directions to his villa. We tried many roads and paths but back in town Mari located someone in a bar who just happened to know of a relative of the caretaker who was there – and he immediately set us straight. It ends up that on one of our turns we were very close, and at 1 AM we were all unloaded. Travel on the roads on Sardinia is like in Ireland. Very small roads (I will be anxious to see the cliffs and drop-offs as we drive back in the daylight), very twisty, and you cannot cover much ground in a day. We got settled by about 1:45 AM, and I was the first to stir at 10 AM on Sunday.
Now this is a “beach holiday” for the kids, I am not really a beach person, but am easy to “go with the flow” for the experiences and memories. The beaches are magnificent. We headed to the closest one and had cappuccino at the covered snack bar on the water, and then hiked off towards the red rocks (remember, Isola Rossa – RED) to a more secluded area. I joined them in the water but eventually sought shade under an outcropping of rock. It was a relaxed day awaiting the adventure on Monday when we drove East to Palau to rent a boat. David and Mari had done this before. The plan was to explore The Maddelena Archipelago and circle the islands of Budelli, Razzoli, and Santa Maria. We stopped in one busy cove with fabulous sands and water, and then headed off to a more secluded spot to have lunch which we brought along. The kids enjoyed a swim, and adventure came when Lisa caught a small octopus and brought it on board. It was not happy and worked hard to escape, which David helped with. Eventually I will get some of their images of the adventure. Corsica was off in the horizon, and as isolated as we were there was an ice cream and coffee vendor boating around. We arrived back to the port at 6PM, walked around this typical tourist resort village and had a lovely dinner before heading back over the mountains. I should interject that to get anywhere you must go over the mountains, even to the neighboring coastal village.
Above — Where we anchored for lunch – the windswept rocks are wonderful
On Tuesday the kids all headed over to Resort Le Dune to spend the day with Greta and her family who are also from Winchester, MA. I stayed back, read, and then slept from about 1-3:30 in the heat of the day. I read some more, and that evening we went back to town for a fun dinner (I even bought a T-shirt) and evening stroll. When the sun goes down the temperature drops rapidly and 100 degree heat becomes (at least for me) a comfortable Walpole evening. As a youngster extreme heat used to bother me, but I am fortunate to not be affected too much.
Wednesday morning we headed back to the same open air restaurant on the beach before David left to pick up Greta, her mother and two children to come to our beach. As you know, I love to explore so I opted out to walk back to the beach after seeing the town and the 16th century sentinel tower.
I covered the whole town in minutes, and I do explore everything. I then followed the coastline back climbing windswept red rocks, and working my way through unique fauna.
I met them on the beach, and David wanted to take everyone over to another secluded spot they found earlier. He rented a kayak to take the boys, the girls swam (I could not believe the distance) and the ladies hiked the walk along the coast. I had lunch at the beach bar waiting for David, and enjoying the slight breeze in the shade. David returned for lunch and said he wanted to get a paddle boat to go back with me and the remaining beach stuff to give the kids some fun. So off we ventured that way, and I found the cove delightful. I actually swam some and then settled under some rocks reading with my feet in the water and a shrimp constantly tickling or nibbling at my foot. I noted that the water started crashing upon the rocks, and soon two boats arrived saying – the wind is coming up and the paddle boat had to be returned, and all were offered rides in the boats back. I had not been on that path, and being a walker took the scenic route on foot along with Greta’s Italian mother. All in all the weather was just perfect the whole day, but as we settled down on the beach once again the waves became more fierce – the Mistral winds from the Loire Valley in France we have been told.
Today, Thursday, as we headed over so the kids could play at their friend’s resort the waves were unbelievably high on the beaches. I decided to go along to see “new territory” but packed my computer bag to work on my “blog words” in the shade, and of course have books to read too. When Greta said the resort had WI-FI, I said WOW. So, here is a quick update that I will have to add more images too if time permits. Early this afternoon we head back to Olbia for a night ferry. “Catch you” on Friday, as always, RAY