Castelsardo, as viewed from the approach road.
OK, I admit, I am not expecting to win any awards for these titles, but at least they go to show that the week-long stay in Sardinia has put me in sufficiently high spirits. The next location for the hotel stay was in a rural setting perched midway between Alghero's airport and the Mussolini-planned town of Fertilia, stemming from the neo-fascist era of occupation. En route, there was a lot of terrain to be covered, and as such, an entire day was devoted to doing precisely that - a leisurely scenic drive through dramatic landscapes and noteworthy towns and settlements. The first stop-off point was a rural one, and the rocky landscapes of the Valle della Luna (valley of the moon) provided a couple of photo opportunities, as well as a chance to get to grips with the island's topography.
Prominent public building in central Sassari.
A short stop-off at the coastal town of Isola Rossa was a good enough break and more coastal terrain to gaze at, and in succession, the prominent, colourful and layered coastal town of Castelsardo
was next up. Castelsardo looks best from its approach, and appeals for being such an unpretentious and picturesque spot along the coast, and precisely where I began to realize that due to the choppy seas there, the island was able to develop a surfing culture of sorts. A series of flash visits had already made for a compelling day's drive, and the next stop-off point, the city of Sassari
, Sardinia's second largest, was another collection of historic and well-crafted buildings, despite the deserted and ghost-town allure of the city on a Saturday afternoon.
Typically Mediterranean-style buildings in Alghero.
The hotel of choice ticked all the right boxes, simply because it was the closest we'd come on the whole trip to a chill-out zone in the realm of accommodation. A visit to Pelosa beach, right up on the north-western tip of Sardinia, was a must-see, as all guide books pointed out, and was preceded by a value-for-money lunch break in the town of Porto Torres
, scotching the myth that the island's cost of living might make your wallet weep. Expectations were riding high for Pelosa beach, but even on first glance, it appeared jaw-droppingly pretty, and upon experiencing the beach proper, gave the impression that the natural splendour of the whole setting would give any man-made structure or complex a run for its money. The splendour of Pelosa beach was matched, in some shape or form by the feelgood factor generated by a stroll around Alghero town, itself a tourist destination minus the overblown and overstated trappings of commercialism which somewhat falsify too many places of similar ilk.
Natural formations at Neptune's grotto.
By far the most invigorating excursion from Alghero town is a boat trip to the Grotta di Nettuno (Neptune's grotto), which is quite simply breathtaking in its scope, detail and cavernous nature. By this point, the trip was gathering so much momentum, I sensed it would be able to freewheel all the way through to the very end (thus saving us a load on petrol costs!), but I attribute this emotion largely to the succession of diverse experiences which the trip had yielded thus far.