Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What to do on an island (not) in the sun...

Sardinia: an island off the west coast of Italy, known for its beaches and cheese. Well, without the sun, beaches have been out of the question, and health consciousness has steered us away from too much cheese, but being the savvy adventure seekers that we are, our 4 days in Sardinia, though not what we expected, were amusing, to say the least.

To start, we got a big surprise when our “bed and breakfast” turned out to be a family’s apartment in which we (true to its name) each got a bed and a breakfast in the mornings. But that is not all we got. Being in such close quarters with our hosts, Sebastiano and Elisa, made us feel like we were living in a host family; and for me specifically, this meant a week of Spanish emersion. While Sebastiano is Sardinian and his Italian is almost as incomprehensible to me as his handful of English, his wife, Elisa, is from Cuba, and took it upon herself to help me practice my Spanish. (I very quickly became the resident translator as well as the pupil of a very enthusiastic Elisa.)

After recovering from our arrival at our B & B, we stepped outside to another shock: a completely deserted city. As it turns out, we arrived in Alghero in the middle of siesta, meaning that from the hours of 1:00 and 4:30, Alghero turns into a ghost town. But, after the shops open back up, Alghero becomes a bustling little port town full of gelato shops, pizzerias, and fashion boutiques way outside of our price range.

And though Alghero is bigger than we expected it to be, we have managed to exhaust its entertainment resources by eating lots of gelato, attending a Palm Sunday mass, conversing with the friendly neighborhood wanna-be rap star, eating 2 meters of pizza (seriously), and lounging on a beach during the one afternoon of sun alongside a speedo-wearing fisherman who was fixing his nets.

But we weren’t going to let cabin fever slow us down, so I climbed behind the wheel of our rented Fiat 600 with Megan as my navigator and Paige as the traffic negotiator and set off to explore Sardinia. We ventured all through the north of Sardinia (Fertilia, Capo Caccia, Porto Torres, Castel Sardo, and Sassari), wandering down random roads, picnicking at deserted beaches, and stopping for pictures whenever necessary. And despite having to deal with horrible Sardinian drivers and an angry rain cloud, it was all worth it to sit on the hood of the Fiat watching the sun go down once we arrived back in Alghero.

Sardinia: the beachy vacation we had been wanting? Not at all. But we definitely had more adventures than we bargained for. I guess if it’s the unexpected things that make the memories, then we will have a lot of them. And now that I have them, I wouldn’t trade them for anything…not even a Mediterranean tan.


lynn said...

thats great that you had such a good attitude so you could enjoy it even without sun. And to be right with your host family, how fun!!!! And to get to practice your spanish! Wow, you were brave to drive. Don and i preferred public transportation in Italy. Love you, Lynn

stuart said...

Hi, bumped into your blog while looking for videos of Alghero....happy you had a good time there, but hey, if you were looking for sunshine and a nice tan why did you go there in April? Sardinia, like 90% of Europe on the mediterranean, has 4 seasons and if you are looking for sunshine, you have to go there in the summer, not just as winter has ended....its like going to the alps in august and complaining because there isn't much snow!

go back there between May to September in the summer you'll love it...check this out: http://www.discover-sardinia.com/beaches/