The friday before easter is a holiday in most european countries (strangely in Italy it's not). So I had the day off. Our flight should have been at 11 am but they had shifted it to 3 pm. Turned out it was better that way as we had some sunny hours here at home while upon arrival in Alghero it was POURING.
Just to give you an idea where we were during the holiday: we spent the first 2 days in the orange area Alghero / Capo Caccia / Fertilia / Sassari. On sunday afternoon we went to the point northest in the yellow area. The region is called 'La Gallura' and the village where I have spent most my summer vacations ever since 1978 is Santa Teresa Gallura, facing Corsica.
When arriving at the airport the bad surprise was the rain but the nice surprise was that Antonello and Diletta were waiting for us. I've known Antonello and his family in 1980 and we've been friends ever since. Diletta is his girl-friend and she is adorable. We didn't know they were coming to the airport as we were supposed to meet the next day for dinner. But it was great to have someone waiting for us. They went to our hotel in Alghero with us and then left.
We were hungry and that day was the procession we've had a glimpse on last year but last year we'd been too tired to follow.
Like last year they had put red tissue on the lamps on all streets where the procession was to walk by. This put the town in a very uncommon light later on when it was dark.
We went to a Pizzeria which accidentally was near the church where the procession had it's start. So we could sit down and when they were to leave the church I was able to go outside and take pics while my parents saw the procession from inside. Some of them are not really sharp as I didn't want to use a flash. Those people in the procession were praying and I didn't want to disturb them with the flash. Lots of other people did but it's just not my way of taking pics.
Most women in town do have those red lamps whether they are in the procession or just watching.
I have no clue what the men with the ladders were doing in the procession. :D
Here you can see them walking through the narrow streets. In the back is the cathedral where the main mass is being held.
And this was my dessert. It is a sardinian specialty called 'seadas'. They are filled with melted cheese and on top is warm honey. I just LOVE that dessert. :)
And here is a view of the port of Alghero (I did play around a little bit with the cam). ;)
The next morning when I opened my curtains I saw THIS:
The cliffs with the white lighthouse are Capo Caccia which is where we headed after breakfast.
I had my new friend with me which later on with Antonello's children we named 'FiLu' (their names are Filippo and Luigi so the name of that ant consists of their names). My parents were dying with laughter when I first got this ant out of my bag and started to take pics with it but later on my mom found several places where she asked me to take pics of FiLu.
This is the breathtaking view FiLu was watching:
We continued then to the head of Capo Caccia. Here are some impressions of the breathtaking views you have from there:
If you look close in this one you can see the stairs go down. You can take those 600 steps and go down to see a cave which is on water level (it is easier to go by boat ;) ).
On the way back towards Alghero we first stopped to take pics of this antique watchtower later on we walked over to it:
Near this tower there was a small beach with crystal clear water where the boat to the Neptun caves stops. We sat there to eat tramezzini (italian sandwiches) and enjoy the sun. Then we had to head back to Alghero. Along the way we stopped at 'Nuraghe Palmavera'. The 'nuraghe'-s are very old towers and cities which have been found only in Sardinia. They have been built about 1,500 before Christ which makes them 3,500 years old. Here are first the surrounding vineyards:
And this is the main 'house' of the nuraghe Palmavera:
Palmavera is only a smaller nuragical complex and it is not allowed any more to climb the main tower. You can go inside though where it is like this:
Along the way back to Alghero we further saw this beautiful yellow 'flower carpet':
The water on the beach was really ugly this year though. It's all alghes.
Whoever of you has already been to Italy knows those cars:
And of course I couldn't resist to take a pic of the gigantic easter eggs they have in Italy (it's all chocolate inside!):
After a short stop at our hotel we drove to Sassari where Antonello and his brothers and sister live. We had agreed to meet Antonello and Diletta as they are building a house and we wanted to see the construction site. We didn't expect to see one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen. They didn't do any landscaping - it is just wild. Wild flowers, beautiful trees and it is a VERY big garden. When starting the tour of the garden someone found this stone in the gras. As you can see there is a carving in it which looks like a human being. So we think that this might be of some archeological value.
Here is an impression of the most beautiful part of the garden:
After that we went for a short walk on the coastline and then headed back to Alghero where we had a dinner reservation with Antonello's brother Pietro and his wife too. The restaurant is directly on the beach and the special thing about them is that you first get a big plate with salad and then it's just barbecued stuff. You can choose between fish or meat or both of them... it is GOOD!!!
And then I couldn't resist and had to try Antonello's cap which is the typical cap of the sardinian men:
Once again sunday morning the sun was shining on a clear blue sky. We decided to go for a walk in Alghero after breakfast and to check-out late as we were invited for easter lunch at Diletta's place in Sassari and after that we were going to Santa Teresa which is about a 2 hours drive.
I liked that window as the figure shows somehow the culture and history of the island:
Here you can see the red tissue on all the lamps in the small streets
For the first time we went inside the main cathedral to have a look...
The big yellow building is our hotel (Hotel Catalunya)
After the walk around the old part of Alghero (btw. although this is Italy in Alghero you can speak spanish and people will understand you - their dialect is a catalonian one as that part of Sardinia had been invaded by the the catalians once) we checked out and went to Fertilia, the small village which owns the airport. They have a wonderful old bridge there:
Behind the bridge there is a small lake which that morning was very calm and therefore like a mirror (couldn't take enough pics there... :D )
Even from Alghero you can see this church but till that morning I didn't know it has a blue roof.
When it was time to go to Sassari we left and drove over to Diletta's house. We were greeted by Antonello's two boys who are two funny guys. I do like them a lot. Diletta and Antonello did have a easter gift for me: one those traditional hats sardinian men wear. ;)
We had a very traditional lunch: as a first a sardinian pasta with tomato sauce and salsiccia (a sardinian salami). Then grilled lamb with vegetables. Third was cheese, fourth course was cake with fruits and fifth were 'formagelle' - small cakes filled with ricotta or cheese but with a sweet taste not salty.
After lunch we chatted some more and then we left to drive over to Santa Teresa. Here is another Nuraghe we saw along the way.
Once we arrived in our hotel of course we had to say hello to everybody. We've known the family who owns that hotel for 30 years now and came to the wedding of the daughter 17 years ago. Once again I tried to contact the dive shop I was supposed to dive with the next morning but still was not able to contact them. We had passed at the shop on the way to the hotel but it looked closed. Well, we were in Italy, weren't we? When I couldn't reach them I got pissed off and decided to dive with someone else I had been in contact with as well. So we went down to the port and the base was open and I made an appointment for a dive the next morning.
After that we went for a short walk around the village. This is the beach where I spent so many vacation days.... *sigh* ;)
Unfortunately it's not a place I would spent another vacation, at least not during summer. The beach is nice but when it gets warmer it is so crowded you can't even move a finger. So....
Went around the village and when I saw the parents of another old friend I was happy as we had talked about that friend the evening before and I had been asked how he was. The big surprise was that with the parents I saw that old friend himself. He left Sardinia more than 20 years ago to study at the University in Rome and never came back to his original village (only to visit his parents). He's always back for Easter though so I was happy to talk to him after about 9 years I hadn't seen him.
Then we went back to the hotel and after having drunk some sardinian whine we went to sleep.
Easter Monday is a day which in Sardinia you traditionally spend with friends. I did that already several times in my younger days ;) and it was always great fun with barbecued lamb and great company.
Well, this year it was a little bit different. When I opened to door of my room (which leads directly on the sundeck) I saw this beautiful sight, the ferry from Corsica just coming in.
After a short breakfest I went down to the harbour as I was going diving *woohhoo* When preparing my stuff I started to find out though that the guys there didn't maintain their equipment really well. It dawned only later though that I wouldn't go diving with them again. I don't have much experience with dive shops and maybe I was just unlucky that morning but before I was in the water I had already 3 problems with the equipment and my guide (I was the only diver with them that morning) did touch a lot under water and this is not what I know as being a professional diver. It was not so easy to put on the 7 mm dive equipment and I will most probably not dive with gloves again. The water was cold and the pics didn't turn out as good as I would have liked them but at least you can recognize the corals.... :)
The underwater world in Sardinia is different from the carribbean of course but it is very colourful. When I came back to my room I could see that my favourite pink flowers had opened up in the sun. The coast you see in the distance is Corsica.
On my way back to the hotel after the dive I called Pietro and he told me they were on their way to Santa Teresa as well and we agreed to meet later on and go sailing together. Two years ago we went sailing together in Alghero and my mom was so sick then that she didn't wanna come this time. But my dad convinced her to come along. Once Pietro and Fausta had arrived we went down to the harbour to the boat.
Didn't have to stop here (but we might have had to as there was no real wind that day ;-)))) )
Nice view from that house I guess...
The cliffs of Bonifacio (Corsica)
Safira, Pietros and Faustas 4 week old dog. We spent some quiet hours on the water and it was nice to chat along with Pietro and Fausta.
The black lines you see near the coast are dolphins...
I hadn't seen that church at the harbour in Santa Teresa before. My mom told me that it had been built by a dad to remember his son who had drowned.
Went to dinner with Pietro and Fausta. They left afterwards and we went back to the hotel to chat some more with the owners of the hotel. If you go way back 30 years you always have lots of things to talk about. :)
Tuesday was our last day as wednesday morning we had to go directly to the airport and I didn't take any more pics during the drive....
While chatting with my mom during breakfest suddenly a smiling woman came in and (I knew her too) it was a friend from Rome of my parents. She didn't have much time but we agreed to go for a walk together in the afternoon.
I had another appointment for a dive that morning but my cold which had been very light the day before had worsened a little bit and in the course of the night I had decided that I didn't wanna go diving with those guys again as I just didn't feel safe doing that. One should never forget that diving IS a dangerous sport and your life can depend on good maintenance of the equipment. So after breakfest we drove down to the harbour to get my own dive equipment and pay for the dive.
After that we were off to Capo d'Orso. Orso is the italian name for a bear and there is a huge rock which looks like a bear.
On the way there I took some pics of the landscape I love so much. These goats were just near the road. My mom who always laughs at me because I take so many pics at the sight of them shouted 'Stop the car! Andrea, get out to take some pics!' *lol*
This is La Maddalena. On the island of La Maddalena is a NATO-base where lots of US citizens are staying there.
Then we arrived at the 'orso'. When I first went there about 12 years ago we had to find our way through the bushes to get up there (the bear is overlooking the area). Nowadays it is all with stairs and a nice path. Some bizarre rocks going up...
And this is the butt of the bear... ;-)))))))
Unfortunately I can't show you how the rock really looks like a bear because you can't go any more to the spot from which you can see the bear. And you can't climb the bear any more either as we heard that last September a german tourist fell down the rocks and it took several hours to get him up again (he was stuck between two rocks, don't know how deep he fell as it is rather steep there - he was hurt but he survived).
Love those rocks
And I loved the painting on that house. Filigheddu is a very common sardinian name.
Some red rocks on the beach of Conca verde (this means green shell).
These yellow trees where blooming everywhere. They looked like Mimosas but weren't as the flowers are bigger. They looked fabulous though as they looked like yellow carpets in the distance. Franco told us though that they grow very fast but then they bloom only 3 or 4 years and after that they dry out. In fact we did see lots of dry trees once we knew that.
After having eaten tramezzini for lunch my mom and I went to the hairdresser. Have my hair shorter now. :) And then it was already time to meet with Franca and Franco for our walk. We had decided to walk along the coast.
My favourite pink flowers:
Will this rock ever fall down? We've been waiting for that for 30 years now ;)
The main square of Santa Teresa where italians meet in the evenings for their daily chat.
Franco is a big collector of everything he finds on the beach and he has put all those buoiys on his balcony... :D :D :D
And he is a great artist too as he did those mosaics:
Had dinner again at a nice restaurant and then the vacation was already over.
We had such a great time and it was nice to see my italian friends again... I am glad we went, I definitely needed that break.