Alghero Travel Blog

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Sardinia wasn't quite what I expected. I had chosen to go because Alghero is very close to the airport and so on a short weekend break we would waste no valuable time in transfers. We were picked up from the airport by the british friends of our b&b owner and taken to a 3 bedroom apartment near the sea which we happily found we had all to ourselves. The kitchen was stocked with breakfast foods and the fridge with limoncello. So far so good!

The first night we made ourselves the talk of the town, not by acting the lairy slutty British tarts on holiday, but merely by enjoying a couple of bottles of wine together at a local cafe bar. It is unsurprising that Brits get a reputation for being uncooth with regards to alcohol in Italy since it is unusual for people to order more than a glass or half bottle of wine to share between 2 people. It is also quite unusual for women to drink without food. At an Italian friend's wedding, after dinner, my friend Charlie was told on no uncertain terms not to approach the drinks trolley for fear that she would be labelled by guests. She got her husband to go naturally, but it goes some way to explaining the misunderstanding. In Alghero it caused some consternation to the waiter and other patrons alike that two women ordered not a glass, but a whole bottle of wine and then proceeded to drink it all and order another. Since Charlie speaks a little Italian (fortuitous in Sardinia since at the time I couldn't speak a word) she could understand the slating we were recieving by the two men sat near us who were vocalising how atrocious our conduct was, despite the fact that we were not acting racously, just chatting amiably. The waiter, bless him, brought us peanuts to preserve our diginity, quite unasked for, and we were grateful for the gesture.

The next day we wandered down to the port, wandered among the uniquitous leather goods stalls and bought a boat ticket to Neptune's Grotto; a series of caves about an hour's ride awat. It was a beautiful day and the caves were stunning and although I took lovely photos my camera sadly corrupted them all.


The afternoon we spent wandering around the town. We would have liked to have hired mopeds to see more of the town but were thwarted by the Meditteranean habit of closing between 1.30 and 4.30pm for lunch and siesta which we had forgotten. Probably wise, since I have never driven one, and when attempting to drive on the opposite side of the road for the first time in my life I appreciated a slower approach to traffic lights and turnings so my feeble brain could work out which direction I ought to turn. We later borrowed pedal bikes from the b&b owner.

The town was shabby and run-down but picturesque. It seemed such a pity that so many buildings should lie in ruins and such a waste that these broken building materials were just useless and unusable for any other application. The shopping however was quite fantastic and we spent much money buying gifts. Alghero produces it's own Port so I wanted to buy a bottle, plus we wanted some authentic limoncello rather than the dross you can buy at Sainsburys at home. I bought a coral necklace and earrings, forgetting of course how much that contradicts my usual morals and values and was made to feel quite guilty by my partner when I returned. ('Oh how pretty, a beautiful thing that used to be living threaded on a necklace round your neck.') [PHOTO_ID_L=img_1202.jpg] Plus we bought aprons and oven gloves cleverly embroidered with whatever we wished. Since our loved ones are mad about food and cooking this was appropriate and I had mine inscribed with 'Mi casa e ti casa' for my Sicilian rigazzo.

It had got quite late when we realised we were still a mile from home, tired and hungry and laden down with shopping. [PHOTO_ID_L=img_1209.jpg]We had been told not to bother calling a taxi since there are only 9 in the whole of Alghero so we trekked back but had to go immediatley out to dinner to avoid almost certain starvation. At this point we comandeered bicycles from our friendly landlord which were welcome on tired feet. The only downside was that they were men's bikes, and so extremely uncomfortable, not to mention difficult to get on and off of gracefully in a skirt.

[PHOTO_ID_L=img_1222.jpg] We had googled some restaurants and having done the reconnaisance earlier in the day we headed straight to our favourite choice. Charlie, bravely (in a Meditteranean sea town) ordered the seafood platter to start. A feast of oysters, mussels etc arrived on ice. [PHOTO_ID_R=img_1215.jpg]She battled to get some of them out of their shells and was baffled as to why she couldn't. We were informed later that the chances were the little blighters were still alive. God knows how we were supposed to eat them but I'm glad we didn't know this at the time. Again we noted our unusual order of a bottle of wine compared with other diners sharing a half bottle! [PHOTO_ID_L=img_1214.jpg]

[PHOTO_ID_L=img_1225.jpg] After dinner we wandered to a lovely cocktail bar over-looking the marina. [PHOTO_ID_R=img_1233.jpg]The atmosphere was beautifully ambient and the view wonderful. The cocktails can't escape a mention either! [PHOTO_ID_L=img_1237.jpg]Limoncello cocktail with cocktail fruit made my evening and I ate it with a spoon....

[PHOTO_ID_L=img_1236.jpg]We were approached after a time by two south african men seeking a lighter but relieved to find two people speaking English and so they asked to join us. After  a day or two of talking only to each other we were open to new conversation. They were convinced that no one liked them, that no one here spoke a word of English though we said we'd found people very friendly. We understood soon why they'd had a different experience when they tried to hail a waiter by snapping their fingers and yelling. Comments like 'That bloke's name is Garcon' were illuminating. They soon toned it down when they realised Charlie could speak Italian, to their embarrassment. We enjoyed a pleasant evening of chatting but since we'd come out quite late the bars all shut after a time and we couldn't get another drink for love nor money. Both the taxis and the bars are apparently controlled by the those we should not speak of and it's not worth a business to disregard their instructions so we went home.

Next morning we awoke late and packed ready to go.  We briefly popped to town to pick up some extra gifts but once again forgot the siesta time and hung around for a time snapping photos and eatting gelati. Having completed our mission we were left with not much else to do but head to the beach. The beach, like the town, seemed a little uncared for and much of both looked much like any other beach town you might have visited. However, the sand was lovely and the water clear and refreshing after a cycle in the sun. We enjoyed a beer before heading back to the b&b to pick up our stuff and head home.

On the whole it's a lovely place to spend a weekend but I wouldn't go to Alghero for any longer. I can't comment about the rest of Sardinia however. We enjoyed a lovely weekend of food (not as much time here devoted to food as was deserving) and shopping and a bit of autumn sunshine.      
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photo by: sweetet