After a restful night’s sleep in our Moby stateroom (cool ship!), arrived Olbia, Sardinia along with many big rigs, cars and motorcycles. We found out later that Sardinia is a favorite motorcycling destination, esp. for people from Germanic countries. Took taxi from the port to the Olbia airport to pick up our rental car (Fiat with manual transmission) around 9a. Got lost finding the right road heading south to our hotel in Bari Sardo, eventually getting to the dual carriageway and to what we thought would be the most direct route (SS125). Turned out the SS125 was an extremely narrow winding mountain road with many fast drivers (cars + motorcycles), perched on steep cliffs. After four hours in the mountains (top was around 1000m), we arrived at Bari Sardo, and got lost again trying to locate our hotel Domus de Janas Sul Mare. With the help of a kind ambulance driver, we located the correct turnoff to Torre di Bari at the Pharmacia sign- thank God for that sign, esp. when we returned late at night! Torre di Bari is about 3 miles east of town, right on the sea, and very beautiful. We were grateful to check into our nice room with patio, and immediately went to the beach, right next to the 16th Century tower. Swam in the crystal blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and enjoyed the warm sun. Returned to our room for a picnic on the patio, and a good sleep.
After breakfast with our fellow hotel guests (mostly motorcyclists from Austria, Getmany, Switzarland, etc), decided to head south for the beaches of Costa Rei today. Immediately got lost again leaving Torre di Bari (should have “stayed straight”, rather than turning left). After about a half hour and a dead end at a small beach, we found the SS125 and continued south. Thankfully, this section of the highway isn’t too windy, and there are many tunnels (Galleria) through the hills. Arrived at the 8km long Costa Rei beach, and located the gorgeous Scoglio di Peppino beach. Soft white sand and blue blue water. Swam for a while, and tried climbing on the rock that looks like a turtle. An Evil Turtle, that is, as Elena slipped and fell face first, hitting her nose quite hard. There was bleeding, unfortunately, and 2 black eyes for her trouble. She gave up on climbing that turtle, and sat in the sun while Edward climbed that infernal rock to take pictures. After more swimming, we had beer at the cafe on the beach and headed to another, more remote beach further north on the Costa Rei. After more swimming, headed into town, found a Pharmacia to buy antiseptic for Elena’s poor nose, and looked for s restaurant. Found a great seafood place, rather fancy, and had delicious mussels and other tasty swimming creatures, along with a nice bottle of Sardinian Vino Rosso. Drove back to our hotel quite late, ready for sleep.
Drove north a different way (directly west into the mountains, through Lanusei, and then straight road to the dual carriageway back toward Olbia), intending to hike at Capo Testa. Took so long to get north of Olbia, we abandoned our hiking plans and headed for the beaches of Costa Smerelda. Unfortunately they should probably be called the beaches of Costa Smellerelda, as they had a very unpleasant odor from rotting seaweed. Not inviting for swimming. Gave up on these beaches, heading to a beach near Siniscola. Also not very pleasant for swimming, so we found a gelateria instead. Drove back to our hotel, defeated, and drowned our sorrows in good Sardinisn wine. An experience for sure, if not a positive one. But we’ll be back tomorrow, stronger than ever!
Taking no chances, we repeated our Wednesday itinerary, spending the whole day at Scoglio di Peppino, swimming & sunning. Had beer & ice cream at the beach cafe, and again headed into the Costa Rei town for dinner. Found another great restaurant, had Long Island drinks while we waited for the dining area to open at 7p, and ate another delicious dinner. Had a huge dish of spaghetti with assorted seafood, along with grilled veggies and another fine Sardinian red wine. Headed back to Torre di Bari happy and sunburned.
Not wanting to say goodbye to Sardinia, we packed our car after breakfast and walked to the beach for one last swim at our beautiful beach. Left around noon, drove again through Lanusei to the 4-lane highway on our way to the airport in Olbia. Edward got confused and put a few gallons of gasoline in the tank of our diesel Fiat (yikes!), but returned the car without incident. Hope it didn’t cause a problem for the next renters. Checked in for our Air Baltic flights to Oslo (via Riga), finally arriving Oslo around 1am on Sunday. All trains closed at that hour, and got ripped off taking a taxi to our Hotel Thon Munch (>$200 for a ~30 minute ride!). Finally hit the rack in Oslo, and we do mean rack, as it was the worst bed of our trip. At least the depression in the middle kept us snuggled together!