Thursday, 13 January 2011

How to choose between Corsica and Sardinia?

For our main summer vacation last year M. and I chose Sardinia. Since we have already been to its closest island neighbour Corsica, we expected to find similar things there. Well... things were quite a bit different but definitely not disappointing.

Since these two islands are literally right next to each other, one would naturally expect similar landscapes. With the exception of its northern part, Sardinia is not very much like its northern neighbour. Sardinia (with the highest peak of 1834 meters) is hardly a match for over 20 mountains higher then 2000 meters on Corsica. If climbing is your thing, I suggest you choose Corsica. For hikers both islands offer more then enough options.

If you are into French cuisine, Corsica is the obvious choice. On the other hand, if you have a sweet spot for many kinds of pasta and excellent pizzas, Sardinia is a better choice.

For doing a round trip on either island, one should consider island size. Corsica is 2.5 times smaller then Sardinia. I guess three weeks are just enough for easily making it around Corsica. We tried to circle Sardinia in such a period of time and it was not such a great idea. We ran out of time and we had to quickly drive through many beautiful areas, completely skipping some of them.

Both islands have many stunning beaches. Sardinia is larger and has more of them. If sandy beaches are the kind you are looking for, Sardinia has more of those to offer. This doesn't mean there aren't any on Corsica. Sandy beaches might not be all that frequent on Corsica, but if you hate getting that fine sand everywhere, you might actually like this fact.

I also got an impression there are more historical sights and museums worth checking out on Sardinia. Corsica has a few museums, lots of menhirs and Genoese towers (mostly closed for public), but all of that can hardly be a match for countless displays of history on Sardinia.

Decisions, decisions, decisions... Corsica vs. Sardinia, nature vs. history, adrenaline vs. leisure, French vs. Italian and so on and on... The choice is yours.
Which ever you choose, you will not be sorry. If you can afford it, visit both. Just remember to take enough time to enjoy the trip and try not to rush from point to point. Keep in mind that things between planned destinations can be well worth your time as well. Actually just those unexpected jewels can be most memorable points of such a trip.


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Caterpillar close-up


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.

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