Sardinia I – Arrival

18th September 2017

Knowing we were leaving France we had croissants for breakfast before heading to Bonifacio ferry terminal. We were there in good time – a very different experience to our last ferry crossing – and the marina looking very pretty in the sunlight. The luxury sailing yacht was still moored and while we waited a succession of small yachts glided past us on their way out to sea – it does looks great when the sun’s shining and sea is calm.

The ferry did an impressive 3-point turn to dock and boarding was an interesting experience as we reversed on. We sailed promptly at 10.30 and had a great view of Bonifacio rising out of those beautiful white limestone cliffs.

Within an hour we had crossed the 11 miles to the northernmost tip of Sardinia and were back in Italy – it may be some time before we get good bread again!

Sardinia is not as mountainous as Corsica, it’s highest point, Punta La Marmora being  less than 2,000m (6,017ft to be exact). As we drove south skirting the Costa Smeralda it was very different in character and was actually more reminiscent of Spain, particularly the buildings. We checked the Rough Guide – nothing like a bit of advance research – and were surprised, as we were in Corsica, at the involvement of both Pisa and the Genoa in the islands’ history – apparently Pisa dominated the south of Sardinia and Genoa the north. Even more surprising to us, given that we think of the islands as French and Italian, was the involvement of Spain which was given Sardinia & Corsica by the Pope in 1297 in return for giving up Sicily. Sardinian’s resisted until 1404 when Spain won and ruled for 300 years until Italy regained possession. So a real Mediterranean mix.

We weren’t sure yet what we wanted to do and see, or what the weather would permit, so found an ACSI discounted site about a third of the way down the east coast, conveniently positioned for both the beach and the road through the centre of the island. Selema camping just outside Santa Lucia is set in a pine forest and has a gate that accesses directly on to the fine white-sand beach. Beautiful white flowers punctuated the sandy pine-needle covered floor and even extended down onto the beach. Anyone know what they are?

Santa Lucia is a small fishing village with an Aragonese tower at the tip with a view along the white sandy beach towards Posada and it’s marina, the other side of the shallow bay. We walked along the beach into the village which is very quiet and low-key.

One tiny and badly-stocked shop, a gendarmerie and a number of bar/restaurants for the tourist/holiday-home market some of which are now closed for winter.

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The seafront promenade, if that’s not too grand a title, has recently been re-done although the tower itself was out-of-bounds, still being worked on.

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As we wandered we encountered plastic chairs set out on the pavement in front of some of the small terraced homes, a few with elderly occupants enjoying the warmth. The fish market was closed and clearly had been for years, so how much fishing still goes on here we don’t know but there is obviously still a resident population.

We had a good feel for the place and decided we would stay put for a day or two.