Monday, 25 October 2010

Souvenirs from Sardinia

Frankly I don't care much about typical souvenirs. I think of them as dust collectors, because that is more or less all they are good for.

That is why I usually don't bring anything from my trips. However even with that kind of an attitude I sometimes find useful items that just have to come home with me.
Actually there are quite a few useful things I could recommend from Sardinia.

If you have a wall to hang wooden masks on, there are some interesting examples available from Sardinia. If you look around, you can get good prices for handmade goods of good quality.

If you like coral jewelry, Sardinia is a place where you can get a good selection of quality items for reasonable prices. From the places we visited on Sardinia, Alghero seemed the best for buying such items. One can choose from numerous shops in narrow streets of this medieval city. Some of them offer really interesting pieces of coral craft work, necklaces and earrings being the most popular of many.

The choice of various food products worth considering is really great. One can choose from a variety of pasta products, cheeses, wines and many more. I recommend looking for local wineries where you can try various sorts of wine. Also ask for Moscato - a strong liqueur-like dessert wine. They classify it as vino liquoroso.
The best place to buy local cheese is where they produce it. Look for sings advertising formaggi sardi or formaggi vendita when you drive on one of many inland winding road. Among various kinds I liked pecorino (sheep cheese) and caprino (goat cheese) best.
I should probably point out it can be a bit of a challenge to transport cheese in summer months since it should be stored at around 10 degrees Celsius.
As an alternative there are also many tasty dried meats you can choose from (Salsiccia is just one of them). Visit one of many agriturismi (tourist farms) to try and buy the real stuff.

An ideal item for transportation is Sardinian flat-bread. There are many varieties of it - Panne Guttiau and Pane Carasau being just two of them.

Apart from all these things you have to pay for, there are also some souvenirs, you can get for free. For instance, with a dash of inventiveness you can turn a bowl of beach sand in an interesting living room decoration. On Sardinia you can find stones and sand of virtually any colour.
Also there are almond trees growing practically everywhere. If you happen to be on Sardinia in September you can easily stop by the road and pick some almonds - considering it isn't from someone's garden of course. Almonds can be ideal for a quick snack or for taking them home. In this way even your friends back home can get a taste of Sardinia.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset over Torre del Porticciolo


Monday, 18 October 2010

Best camping sites of Sardinia

I have been camping for quite some time now (only around Europe so far). If I would have to name countries where I have had my best and the worst camping experience so far, I would have to say "Italy". Twice.

Luckily the best one happened this year on Sardinia. Twice.

A few years ago we were camping on Corsica (the French island just next to Sardinia) and we liked the experience. Prices were very affordable, camping sites well maintained with clean facilities.
On the other hand our experience from a trip to the southern Italy was not so great. When we took all this in account we just didn't know what to expect on Sardinia...

I guess first I should list the things that are important to us and those that could not matter less, when searching for a place to pitch our tent.

Important stuff:

  • shower and toilet facilities (cleanliness),

  • shady camping grounds,

  • possibility to park our car close to the tent,

  • proximity of a beach,

  • price,

  • hot water (preferably without additional payment).

Things we don't care about:
  • lousy musicians playing on the restaurant terrace every evening,

  • fancy pools,

  • overrated and overpriced restaurants,

  • guided exercise three times a day,

  • tennis club membership,

  • etc.

First few camping sites we checked on the north-eastern coast of the island were not all that special, pretty expensive and (despite it was almost September) they were still overrun with a throng of Italian tourists. I guess you could say we were not impressed.

I am not going to write about every camping ground we visited this time, but let me just say that many stars next to the name and also the price do not tell much. At least to us. We took a look around every time before we agreed to stay.

When we decided to stay in Arbatax for a couple of days and followed road signs to the nearest campeggio we were up for a surprise.
We found Camping Telis (Garmin GPS coordinates: 39° 55.483'N, 009° 42.413'E) which was by far the best one we saw until that moment. Oh, and did I mention - it was also the cheapest to that point of the trip (this was due to a switch of rates from Middle season to Low season, but was a nice surprise nonetheless).
I guess the facilities must have been renovated just recently and everything was really clean. In addition to all this, there was also hot water flowing out of every pipe and we were allowed to park our car just next to our tent.
Exactly what we wanted. This really could not get any better.

Well, actually it could. After another camp switch or two we decided to check out what I guess is the most advertised campeggio on Sardinia. Road signs advertising it can be seen all over the island.
It is called Camping Village Baia Blu La Tortuga and it is located near the town of Vignola Mare (Garmin GPS coordinates: 41° 07.469'N, 009° 04.058'E).
This is a much larger site compared to Telis, but for us it was at least as good. For a similar price we got all the things as in the other one described, plus free electricity. Really neat.

I guess there might be also some other camping sites on Sardinia like the two described above but we haven't seen them. Not on Sardinia, nor anywhere else we have been so far. Has someone had a similar experience while on Sardinia? Any recommendations maybe?

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