Wall murals abound in Sardinia, such as this one in Siniscola.
I do believe this is the first blog entry which touches upon Italy, and though I am no stranger to either the nation, its culture, or indeed the ins and outs of Italian language, this was the first foray to Sardinia proper. The first port of call on this multi-leg journey was the Spa town of Sardara, where a spa bathe was abandoned in favour of lunch in Sardara town. Further towards the first hotel location, the town of Siniscola provided a snapshot of small-town Sardinian life, and also enabled us to stock up on essential provisions which were to last the rest of the week.
Typically Sardinian city features, this one being in Olbia.
The setting for the first hotel stay was the north-eastern town of Olbia
, and a perfect base from which to sample the delights of the island's Emerald Coast. The centrally-located Hotel De Plam was a strategic enough base from which to let the plan of action unfold, and a 5 or so minute walk into central Olbia was as much as one could ask for, despite Olbia itself being by no means one of Sardinia's most alluring towns. Well, the plan was not exactly set in stone, but subject to last-minute alterations, and a detour brought us to the impressive and deserted spot of White Beach (Spiaggia Bianca), and then onto the well-poised marina town of Porto Rotondo, where luxury yacht moorings suggested that the glitterati have indeed gravitated towards a place of genuine worth.
City view on the approach to La Maddallena town by car ferry.
Further along the coast, a lunch break in the port town of Palau allowed for the essential souvenir shopping, and the purchase of ferry tickets for the return trip to the nearby island on La Maddallena, which is connected to the neighbouring island of La Caprera by a toll-free bridge. La Caprera is where Giuseppe Garibaldi reputedly spent the last third of his life, and the island could indeed now be considered a shrine to the famous Italian man himself, with the Garibaldi museum being the island's centrepiece. Back on la Maddallena island, however, the island's chief town of the same name was surprisingly well-supplied and well-to-do, and provided a welcome opportunity to sample town life on an island the size of which you might not instantly associate with urbanization. The most relaxing and quintessentially Sardinian experience on the island though, was a brief stop-off at Spalmatore Beach, which was a stretch of sand, easily accessible from the roadside, and a good opportunity to 'test the waters' as it were! Back in Olbia, and preparing to depart for the next leg of the journey, it actively felt as though the Sardinian episode, even in entire realm of the global travel sphere, was so pregnant with promise that the prospect of yet more beach settings and smalltown Italian-esque settlements were further jewels just waiting to be unearthed!