Sardinia II – East to West

19th – 21st September 2017 

Two nice relaxing days at Santa Lucia doing nothing much except pottering round the van, grbbing a couple of hours at the beach and, after a bit of sandblasting, a bit of time at the small pool where we were sheltered by the pine forest. Our last evening we wandered into the village, checked out all 4 restaurants and opted for the one with traditional Sardinian cuisine. We wanted an aperitif of Vernaccia, a sherry-like local wine that can be sweet or dry, drunk as aperitif or dessert wine. They were sold-out so we had a very nice similar local wine. Suckling pig with myrtle was tasty but unattractive to look at and a plate fried prawns, squid & small fish went down well.

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Next day started with the challenge of getting off the site without damaging the van much to the interest of the rest of the site then negotiating the steep slope to the grey waste disposal where the rear air-suspension came into full play to avoid damage to our back-end. Too much excitement too early in the morning.

We intended to cross the island to the west coast and had a couple of stops in mind. Nuoro, the biggest inland town in Sardinia sounded interesting and the main road across the island went through it so possibly an overnight stay at a sosta there and an evening out in a completely tourist free zone. After that we were aware of a colony of griffon vultures on the east coast and wanted to see them, maybe staying in the vicinity overnight.

We drove along the Siniscola valley then up into the hills, much lower and less dramatic than Corsica and less wooded with much more livestock grazing, sheep and cattle. We were at Nuoro by 11.30 and it’s setting is indeed attractive with Monte Corassi looming behind, but despite the presence of a couple of museums and a Lidl the sprawling town appeared unremarkable and didn’t tempt us to stay. We drove on, starting to see the ruins of nuraghi scattered across the landscape.

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These circular structures built with large stones were constructed by the native Nuraghic people between 20,000 to 500BC for defence and for shelter. Eventually, invaded by the Carthaginians then caught in the middle of wars between Carthage and Rome the remaining Sards retreated to the mountains. Their structures collapsed over time but the huge blocks stones that weren’t re-used remain, testament to a lost race.

We took a wrong turn at Macomer as we were busy singing along to the Dubliners and had our friendly satnav on silent so had an annoying 8-mile detour through the rocky farmland. The fields were full of rocks and there was a lot of drystone walling, even some Mourne walls (what Kate calls walls with holes in – boulders and air).

Then we turned a corner and had a great view down into the valley where Bosa’s multicoloured buildings – yellow, orange, terracotta, blue – looked bright and cheerful climbing the low hill towards the castle above them. An unexpectedly pretty picture.

From Bosa we followed the directions on the website and within 10 minutes were at the described lay-by where we started scanning the cliffs. Within minutes three huge griffon vultures were in view soaring above the rock face. Love it when a plan comes together (it’s so rare). Endangered here due to human disturbance the colony is part of a reintroduction scheme using birds from Extramadura, Spain. We spotted a juvenile on his ledge being watched over by a parent. Great – but with a crappy camera and a spotter combined by amateurs, this was all we could manage – can you see the baby??

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Eventually our stomachs got the better of us and we headed back intending to get lunch at Bosa marina but were barred by a “No Motorhomes” sign. Frustrated we moved on towards Oristano. Now on the east coast we passed through the relaxed beach-hugging settlement of Santa Caterina di Pittinuri and onward to Torre Grande and Spinnaker campsite. Yet another pine forest. On the up side were nice pitches and good showers with really hot water, something rare on campsites. On the down side were far too many wasps and, worse, mosquitoes. Kate acquired a huge variety of bites from her face to her toes, despite repellent, citronella candles & mosquito coils. Even Danny had bites and they usually ignore him.

But the site has direct access to the long, sandy beach with a view of Oristano’s factories in one direction and a small marina at the other, with the peninsula of Tharros across the bay with it’s distinctive tower.

All we need is some good weather.