I beach hopped each day. I visited the ports – Porto Cervo, Porto Brandinchi, Porto Rotundo, Puntaldia, and Golfo Aranci. I shopped the stores for regular junk to take home, like magnets and t-shirts. I shopped the stores for clothes I will never wear and never buy, and honestly, I don’t know who would or how those places even stay in business. Somewhere is an unfortunately dressed woman who is going to credit Sardinia with her brightly patterned look of coral and tropical fish and locals the land over will cringe. She’s likely sitting next to a man in pants that are too tight, too short, too linen and too pink to be useful anywhere else.
I more than enjoyed the local scenery – limestone mountains, cliffs, sweeping seascapes. And I enjoyed the locals and the poor to nonexistent English. There’s something gently charming about being in a place where they can take you or leave you. I like this. Gesturing, pointing, trying to recall words that sound like other words in Italian that I have heard or read in the past, simply trying to fill my Fiat up with gas. It’s an adventure, each day a small challenge to be won.
My favorite is presenting my credit card and watching the merchant read my name. I often watch the expression on their face go from abject indifference to welcoming acceptance. On more than once occasion I heard something like, “Your surname….it’s Italian, yes?” Then it was like the front door of their home swung open, and I was ushered in, had a glass of wine thrust in my hand and sat at the dinner table. I was in. I just wish I was in enough to find out how they make a living and how much do cars cost and what the winter is like…
I found the whole island to be relatively undeveloped and therefore fascinating. The occasional roadside inn, pizzeria, food truck. A smattering of food stores and hotels. None such that you would know what you were looking at if you weren’t actually looking for it.
And each day was harder and harder to end, the sun just never set. Not until 10pm when it finally ducked behind the limestone mountains. I didn’t feel I could end my day until the day itself ended.
I did spend many several hours on the beach and I was warned not to ‘overdue it’ but I don’t know what those words mean and now I am now permanently colored somewhere between rotisserie chicken and pulled pork.
Speaking of which, the food. Oh, dear, the food. The island itself is Italian, but it is very close to Corsica, which belongs to the French, and has some Spanish influence that dates back thousands of years. That being said, one might expect to find a thorough mix of these cuisines and maybe they can. But not me. That’s not my goal. My goal is to eat the Italian from morning to night. The fresh tuna, the blindingly tender clams and muscles, the mouth melting pasta – where does one begin? One evening, I went into the center of Olbia, and dined outside. I had an Ichnusa beer, the spaghetti with clams and panna cotta with a raspberry sauce that brought tears to my eyes. You know the food is fresh from the sea when along with the clams you chew a little sand. I didn’t mind much. So the dish was a little gritty, just like Sardinia itself.
I spent each day exploring a different beach, fighting parking lot crowds because no matter how early it was, I simply wasn’t early enough. But I always found a good spot and managed to enjoy 10 or more hours reading, sleeping, and frolicking in the water. I snorkeled and picked shells; some already had occupants.
In the evenings, I explored the center of the town, the shopping areas teeming with bright colors and billionaires. I fit in quite nicely.
Sardinia is my little dream island. It’s small but had everything, and nothing more than is necessary. The water and beaches are to die for, each one more spectacular than the next. The scenery was stunning no matter where I went. I thought it would be amazing based solely on the adverts in Fiumicino Airport, and it was.
I had an entire week of beach days, no rain, no clouds. I bounced around among the glitterati on the most beautiful island I have ever stepped foot on. I would recommend it highly but I prefer to keep it my little secret.