Sardinia with no sardines in sight,The Cunno’s Costa Smeralda, Italy: July 2008

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Blue skies, Emerald seas, clean sandy beaches, 30 deg temps and picturesque views at every turn. That’s our Sardinia of the past 2 weeks, just the odd cloud bank and a few days of just a bit too much wind but we no complain as it has been beautiful every day.( and no that’s not a nipple ring ,just a twig in an interesting spot ,no major mid life crisis yet !!!!!! )

Our villa is in a complex called ”Marina de Cala Granu” made up of 40 villas spread out across a hilltop about a 500 m walk to the beach. It’s very spacious with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms which has been much appreciated since the girls arrived for the second week .


We are on the ground floor with another villa above us but it has been empty most of the time so it has been very private with our own covered patio, lush gardens and big lawn. The views over the Cala Granu cove are beautiful day and night, so much time is spent sitting around our Alfresco dining area just enjoying the serenity .


The main town is Porto Cervo just a 5 minute drive away which is the jetsetters playground on the Costa Smeralda .This is where the mega-rich moor their mega boats and drive their super fancy cars, it’s a sight to behold.


Every morning at breakfast we watch them from our patio exiting the port for a day out in one of the numerous picturesque bays. It’s like Pitt Street out there, and then late in the day they all come back again. So we just sit and enjoy the passing parade sipping our Vino or home-made limoncello.


We have a beautiful almost white sandy beach to enjoy with the holiday locals at Cala Granu and compared to some of the beaches we have frequented ours is the least crowded but just as nice as some of the more famous,so that was a stroke of luck.


Parking around most of the beaches is crazy but we have got a couple wired that are nice and simple. There are some well set up towns and resorts along the coast with lovely piazza’s overlooking the beach to enjoy a cafe or meal but we have been enjoying our home cooking so much ( 12 out of 13 nights ) we have not done too much wining and dining out except for Wednesday night where we had a lovely seafood meal at Baia Sardinia.


Our home cooking has been real treat and with plenty of super marcato’s nearby we have been able to cook up some veritable feasts, and having so many good cooks ( so says us) we have been treated to some memorable meals.


A few of the beaches are ones you need to trek to, but well worth it when you get there ,still masses of people but nothing else around apart from the luxury cruisers and pleasure craft anchored further out off the beach .

The planners of the Costa Smeralda really did a great job in setting the planning codes as so little is built on and there are land and marine parks everywhere. They also set strict design controls that ensure all buildings are no more than 2 stories high unless they are set into a cliff face and that the colours match the natural environment.


So everything is either natural stone or rendered muted rock tones in apricot ,peach orange,cream,yellow or white and it works as they are all set behind stone walls and plenty of natural vegetation.

It has been fantastic having Amy and Beth with us for the past week and it has been the highlight of our trip ,as well as cooking some wonderful meals it’s the familiar banter and general chatter that makes us feel at home and also reinforces how close we all are and why we love holidays together.

Having said that we also understand how important it is to not overdo such a thing and getting the balance right it so important as we all grow older and wiser !!!!!!! we hope. Luckily we all had a fabulous time together as usual and john managed to handle his 3 girls well. ( or should it be that they put up with him instead )


We are all now so relaxed, and even getting some suntans appearing. The beach umbrella we bought has been invaluable for Ann to sit under, and so much cheaper than hiring one each day. We are pacing ourselves on that front as none of us want that burning sensation but it’s hard not to feel pasty next to the ultra bronzed ,toned Italians.


Oh boy !!!!!!! they really know how to do it 4 to 8 hours a day out in the sun, chatting endlessly to each other ,wading ,swimming ,playing ball games and just baking themselves for the whole summer ,brown from head to toe. They have beach culture like no other,with fully equipped lunch and snack eskies as well for a full days fun.


The natural environment here is very wild with thick shrubbery everywhere that is impossible to penetrate without a brush cutter and rough granite and limestone mountains and boulders to get around as well .So the coast has been it’s saving grace as this whole area was not opened up till the mid sixties when the Agah Khan set up a consortium to develop it for tourism


The bays are natural harbours so perfect for boating and as there is no fishing industry here, it all started from scratch but i believe they have done it really well considering the unfinished nature of most Italian developments and their panache for organised chaos. Don’t worry there is still plenty of that especially when it comes to car parking and car parks ( and the lack thereof ) .But ahhhhhh that’s Italy and we love it !!!!!!!

A beautiful day was spent cruising around the La Maddalena archipelago on probably the most perfect weather day we have had .On board with a boat full of Italians, who push and shove in all that they do ,was interesting but we were not going to let that deter us from having a great time.


There was plenty of shade or sun as you desired on board and as it was an 8 hour cruise we wanted to be careful so as to tan to the max without the burn factor.


The bays and beaches we went to were pristine white sand and sparkling azure waters that rival some of our Aussie beauty but in a totally unique environment.


I could imagine the joys of sailing around these islands but my sea legs still couldn’t handle that much time off dry land.

The islands are very popular with boats everywhere but it was all well arranged and since declared a national aquatic park they seem to respect the environment with one exception… cigarette butts. These chain smoking Italians just can’t help themselves, out in the most beautiful natural region in the Mediterranean and they stub them into the sand. Oh well it’s their country.


A quick stopover in the village of Maddalena gave us a taste of the old Italy we are used to but the waiter at the cafe was still rude……but a nice little town.


We finished off the glorious day with a lovely salmon salad back at the villa washed down with a nice drop of local bianco vino and then the sound of numerous loud boat horns signalled the start of an amazing fireworks display. It went on for about 20 minutes right in front of our view and only 2km’s away in the port. It was the celebrating the start of a big sailing regatta which explained the unusual sight of tables of Aussie sailors we saw at a bar the night before. So it was a great way to say farewell to the lovely Costa Smeralda and Sardinia with a bang!!!!!.

You may get the impression that our love affair with everything Italian is waning and this is partly true ,it’s just that we have had such good experiences with the people in the past but in Sardinia we have come across them in their own holiday environment and they are just not interested in us interlopers  ( Beth says over my shoulder,” just plain bloody rude” ),so be it. But apart from that we have had a ball and really chilled out as we needed to and it’s help put the past 12 months behind us all.

And so after our week together will see us go in different directions, with the girls ready for their French & Spanish beach holiday and us onto a few days in England where we will visit our niece Beth her husband Thomas and their baby Niamh in Norwich before our final destination of our resort in Krabi, Thailand. Stay tuned.

One comment

  1. Looks like you are all having an absolutely FABULOUS time!!
    Sending you lots of love from COLD SYDNEY 🙁

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