Sardinia Diaries

Even though I’m in the process of typing up a post about my summer holidays, I’m currently in the most autumnal setting – I’m sitting in what has to be one of the most ‘blogger’ places of the city, the London Grind at London Bridge sipping at a hot chocolate and eating cake. An energy ball, to be specific. Because whilst the days are getting shorter and the second year of uni is looming around the corner, we can all use that bit of extra energy. But before I’m fully ready to let go of summer – a season that has treated me very well this year – let me talk about it one last time. A few weeks ago, my family and me packed our packs to head to one of my favourite countries, Italy. Not to the mainland this time but to one of its islands, Sardinia. The idea to visit this place was born as one my friends went there last autumn and kept sending me photos that looked like they were straight out of a catalogue. A catalogue of the Caribbean. Only that it wasn’t the Caribbean. Needless to say, my expectations of the island were fairly high. But Sardinia didn’t fail to meet them.

So where was I? A few weeks ago my family and me headed to the airport about to board a plane that would take us straight to Olbia. You know you’re travelling with your family when you get mocked for wanting to grab a Starbucks. Cheers guys. Since we had a delay of 2 hours, we basically had 2 lunches and more than one cup of coffee – or chai latte in my case (make fun of me all you want, Starbucks has the best drinks). After a long delay and a relatively long flight we finally arrived in Olbia where we got picked up by someone from the hotel. The journey to the hotel was adventurous to say the least – our driver had an, um, not interesting style of driving. But hey, we made it there alive so I can’t complain too much, can I. Since we arrived early in the evening, we decided to head to the beach restaurant for dinner (and cocktails!). The beach turned out be as stunning as expected – the pine trees in the background offered a beautiful contrast to the white sand. At the end of the beach, we found a small tower that had once served as protection so that enemies coming from the sea could be spotted well in advance. Here is an interesting fact about Sardinia: apparently, Sardes whose families have been shepherds for many generations tend to dislike the seaside – a guide who gave us a tour around a cavern that could only be reached by boat told us how she had brought her dad to the seaside for the first time and how he’d not enjoyed it at all – apparently, that’s because all ‘enemies’ who conquered the island came via seaway. As someone who’s seen all these stunning beaches, I still find it hard to imagine such an aversion towards the open sea.

I could now go on and describe every single day in Sardinia but you’d quickly grow bored as for the most part, we just spent time at the beautiful beach, at the swimming pool and at one of the restaurants nearby. The place we were staying at was basically in the middle of nowhere, only surrounded by a grocery store, a tourist shop and 4 restaurants. Of these, two had a separate vegan menu – got very lucky there, didn’t I. One of the restaurants I’m talking about belonged to our hotel – their vegan pasta and vegan starters were exquisite but don’t even get me started about the cake. If the photo doesn’t make your mouth water, I don’t know what will. What I loved about our hotel was that it only had 21 rooms so it felt like we were staying at a huge airbnb rather than an actual hotel. The staff was absolutely lovely and even though the village we were staying in was quite isolated, the housekeeper offered to drive us to places nearby. That’s also how we got to explore the nearby town, Bari Sardo. The town itself is very small but we were lucky to arrive in Sardinia a day before a traditional festival took place, Ogliastra in Festa. The festival turned out to be a mix of a parade and traditional dancing and my mother and me stayed there well until midnight. I have to admit, our dancing did not look as smooth and elegant as the locals’ but we had a lot of fun and it was fascinating to get to know a piece of Sardinian culture.

The next days were mostly spent at the beach reading – at one point we gave up on the pool as we started to get covered in mosquoito bites and spent all of our time swimming in the sea, eating pasta at the beach restaurant and blowing up our flamingo and doughnut pool floats. I keep saying that but pasta really is the only dish I wouldn’t mind eating 7 days a week. In Sardinia, I had it 10 days in a row and if you think I got tired of it, you’re wrong. On a different note: We spent one night in Tortoli since it was ‘White Night’ – meaning that all the shops were open until past midnight and that the streets were filled with street performers. There even was a small fun fair. I ended up buying a striped dress and some delicious vegan chocolate ice cream. The shop were I bought it had an entire section of Yankee candles – random but amazing at the same time. Another trip we made was to the capital of the island, Cagliari. We rented a car for the day and even though I was scared for my life on the drive from the airport to the hotel, I have to admit that sticking to the speed limit is quite hard when no one does it. Oh well. Cagliari itself was amazing, such a beautiful city. What impressed me most was all the beautiful quaint houses looking like they were out of a movie scene. Cagliari is home to many beautiful caf├ęs, bars and restaurants. My mother actually managed to spot a vegan restaurant – major mum points to her (is that a thing?) – and I had bruschetta, lasagna and literally the best cake I have ever tasted – it was a chocolate and pair tart and well, I think I want to go back to Cagliari if just for that. After our delicious meal, we wandered around the city, visited the harbour and the old town which has mostly been abandoned. A lot of the houses were damaged and it felt like walking through a ghost town – the old town formed a stark contrast to the buzzing city beneath. On our way back to our hotel we accidentally missed an exit and ended up driving through the mountains for a good 30 minutes – the nature was absolutely stunning but the streets were incredibly curvy and I tried my best to drive as smoothly as possible to prevent my mother from getting carsick. Oh the joys of roadtrips haha.

Last but not least, let me talk about the day where we finally saw why some people call Sardinia the Caribbean of Europe. My brother and me took part in a guided sailing tour along the east coast of the island. In my brother’s words, it was ‘insane’. Already starting with the boat – we were only 20 people and all had our own sun bed on top of the boat which meant you could sunbathe whilst taking in the beautiful scenery. We sailed along the beach of Cala Goloritze, stopped at 3 different beaches where we had an hour to swim and just relaxed in the sun. We even got served a 5 course meal – of which I liked 1 course me being a fussy eater haha. We also visited a cavern and paid for a guided tour – even though I was skeptical at first the tour was definitely worth the money as we learned a lot about the cavern including that it had once been the home of a family of seals. The last beach we visited must have been the most stunning of all – the water was a bright turquoise and fantastically clear. We swam around and I took about a million photos – but we spent the majority of the time just enjoying the beautiful scenery that was right in front of us. It can be very useful to have a brother who mocks your habit of taking 50 photos of the same thing – reminds you to put down your camera once in a while to just enjoy your surroundings. This is something we can forget about in a world that is so strongly influenced by social media. By the time that we reached the last beach, the clouds came creeping over the hills giving the location an almost mysterious atmosphere. The journey back to the harbour reminded me of scenes from Twilight – only that it was 20 degrees hotter. One of the highlights was that we got to see wild goats on the way back – it took a while for me to spot them, they were well hidden in their surrounding. All in all, we had an amazing day and an amazing holiday in Sardinia. If you’re a lover of stunning beaches, good wine and delicious pasta, this place is for you. x

Where did you go for your summer holiday? xx