Monday, August 05, 2013


Most people have never heard of Sardinia.  The majority of visitors are Italian, so it is somewhat off the beaten path from an American perspective.  Maybe when Anthony Bourdain visited with his wife did it get some attention, although I'd be willing to be most people couldn't find it on a map (it's west of Italy, just south of Corsica).  It's a place I've been dying to see, and it coincided well with TT's Eurotrip with two friends and his cousin.  Convincing them did not take much work, especially since I speak proficient Italian.

My cousin recommended renting a car and taking the auto-ferry.  While this was an interesting experience, I wouldn't do it again.  For starters, TT's choice to decline a GPS coinciding with his cousin's tablet not being able to get turn-by-turn directions delayed us an hour leaving Rome for Civitavecchia, and resulted in much strife. Lesson learned : 55 euros is worth every penny when reducing travel-induced stress.  If we had known that we could have camped out on the ferry, we wouldn't have booked a cabin.  However, seeing the stars over the Meditterranean was a beautiful sight.  It's not often you get to see that many twinkling bodies living in the city.

Olbia is about an hour drive to Santa Teresa Gallura.  While not as glitzy and overrun as Costa Smeralda, it still attracts a good number of tourists.  I stumbled across a cute B&B on Tripadvisor called Domus de Janas.  We had such a great time staying with them.  The proprietors both speak English and are very pleasant.  Our daily breakfast had a lovely assortment of fruit, pastries, homemade preserves, and espresso. Guests have access to two roof terraces, which adds to the experience.  I'm so glad I stumbled across it in my webtrolling.

The local beach is gorgeous - Rena Bianca is packed for a reason.  None of the other beaches really compared to it.  We drove within half an hour to find some of the others and had mixed experiences.  Rena di Matteu required a bit of a hike on some sandy hills, and on the way back to the car I stubbed my toe on a rock and had to hobble with a bloody foot.  Luckily it didn't get infected.  The previous day, when we tried to find the beach, we ended up further down at Cala Pischina, where we had made camp next to washed-up WWII ordnance.  This only became apparent to us when the carabinieri, the forest police, and the military all showed up to remove it.  After that, we stuck to Rena Bianca.

There were some decent restaurants in Santa Teresa Gallura.  I got to try horsemeat and wild boar cold cuts.  Fresh fruit was also quite good.  The real highlight was dining at the nearest agriturismo in Saltara.  We stuffed ourselves silly with pasta, homemade salumi and cheese, and the famous porcheddu.  The house red wine, served cold in pitchers, was awesome.  Our innkeeper couldn't recommend a good local winery, but this was good enough.

My only regret was not staying longer here.  We had such a pleasant time between the beach, local food, and just general relaxation.  Despite some of the logistical difficulties, it was worth the journey off the well-beaten tourist trap paths in Europe.  Buon viaggio!