Italy at long last…the purpose of the trip started as a holiday to Italy…Tim got hold of the idea and twisted it into the rest of Europe on bicycles. Anyway Sardinia = Sardegna (Italian) where the region’s flag is 4 blindfolded black faces… being from the most politically correct part of Australia we weren’t sure what to make of this. Read on Wikipedia = 4 Moors flag.
The density of population is confined to large towns leaving lots of open beautiful country-side and beaches to ourselves…another month and we would be sharing it with most of Germany and other tourists. Perfect timing!
We gave ourselves a week to cycle down the eastern coast - approx. 400km = easy… but we didn’t factor in how stunning the scenery was and how ‘distracted’ we became… it quickly became 2 weeks!
We never adopted the Spanish siesta lifestyle but we certainly have fallen into the Mediterranean way. We ride until late lunch when it is too hot to continue, find a tree or shady spot and eat/read/sleep until 5pm-ish and then ride on until a campsite.
The first real stop was Cala Gonone about half way down the east coast. Here we hired kayaks for 2 nights. Paddling into small caves in the massive limestone cliffs and camping on secluded beaches - certainly a highlight and long lasting memory.
Tim loves rocks… hence we found ourselves cycling along a beautiful road (sea level to 1000m) before spending a day exploring the Gorropu Canyon. Photos say more than words.
Tim decided for his birthday that he could still be young and stupid by climbing up a mountain top of sheer granite cliffs for sunrise… STUNNING! But getting down was much much harder… ropes would have been handy. Meanwhile Emily found herself under attack in the tent alone… a herd of donkeys showing far too much interest.
Eucalyptus trees are everywhere across the world… Sardinia made us feel right at home with lots of cloud free nights and the smell of gum leaves. We also felt at home the night we woke to a raging bushfire… fortunately downwind from us and already attended by the authorities.
Food = Dark cooking chocolate… remind us to try back in Australia… bought initially by accident but delicious and 1 piece is all we needed… never mind 1 piece = half a normal block! Gelati = best flavour has been ricotta and vincotto (caramelised jam). Pizza = most pizzerias don’t open until 7pm… we need to adjust our eating/riding pattern to eat more of this = plenty more to come we hope! Local honey and myrtle berry liqueur (Mirto) sound great but taste like medicine without the flavourings… yuk!
Sardinia’s capital, Cagliari was another bloody city so we rode through and headed west. Looking for a campsite we however found ourselves in a tourist site for a castle. The guy running the place was great! “I am closing now but do you want to camp here and then you can go up in your own time for sunset?” (shortened translation of real conversation using our hands) He also sold beer. We were sold!
Rocks… with so many rocks about we also found ourselves in a few caves = Grottos. The first was a stunning mirror cavern gouged out by sea as much as the underground river. The second could have been filled with snow! Eccentric aragonite forms a special type of Stalactite that grows in the most amazing formations.
We have just arrived in Sicily and are spoiling ourselves with Gelati (served in a sweet bread roll rather than cone!) to use wifi.