Friday, March 15, 2013

Exploring the coast north of Alghero

Wednesday is market day in Alghero and of course we had to make this our first stop of the day. It was quite a large market with lots of fruit, vegetable, and flower stalls.  The artichokes looked slightly redder and longer than their Spanish cousins but other than that things looked remarkably similar to the Port. People were queuing to buy new, skinny stalks of asparagus. There were aisles of clothes of course Made In Italy but in reality many will be made in China with Italian labels sewn in. I bought a dress in Spain with one of these labels and all the dye came off on my skin, caveat emptor. There were several stalls with lovely Sardinian lace. However, my favourites were the ones selling Sardinian cheese, much of it pecorino made from sheep's milk. Our purchase was one tea towel with a map of Sardinia on it.

We travelled north up the coast stopping in Fertilia, a fascist-built town, to admire an old, arched Roman bridge that juts out and almost sinks into the lagoon.

The drive to Capo Caccia along the coast with its rugged rocks was quite beautiful. We stopped at the dock where the boats leave for Neptune's Grotto but it was empty. Not to be deterred we continued along to the place where you could climb down over six hundred steps to the grotto but unfortunately it was closed due to electrical repair. I suppose that the upside of this was that we didn't have to climb back up the six hundred steps, but it was disappointing nevertheless.

We continued on to Porto Torres past wind farms with adjacent fields of solar panels to the port, where ferries leave for Genoa, Marseille and Corsica. Further along the beaches were sandstone, which looked like hard packed sand with lots of holes in it. I think it would be difficult to walk on these beaches. Stretching for several kilometres and running parallel to the beach was a lovely walkway.

After an unremarkable pizza we continued  in a westerly direction to Stintino, a colourful fishing port, and by the looks of it, a very popular summer spot with yachts docked a long way up the river. Further up the coast we stopped at La Pelosa to admire the turquoise blue sea with a colour so vivid that it was almost unbelievable. This inspired us to go for a walk along the white, sandy beach. I even felt the water and it wasn't too cold. From the beach we looked across to the island where the white albino donkeys live, trying to figure out if a couple of white dots could possibly be the donkeys. Back in the car we rounded Capo Falcone and started our return journey.

Just after Stintino we stopped at Spiagia Salina or Salt Beach. We couldn't get right across to the beach because the storms had created a little lagoon but the beach was white. We think  the beach was made of tiny little, white stones but there are actual salt pans in the area. It was unique and very picturesque with the old wooden beach shacks dotted all along it. On the other side of the parking lot there were pillboxes used in World War II but the remarkable thing was they were only fifty metres apart. It seems an allied landing was expected here.

After a relaxing swim it was time for a good walk around town and dinner. We returned to  
Il Pavone where we shared some homemade shell-shaped ravioli  filled with pecorino and potato served in a very light  pecorino sauce. Seamus had the veal that I had on a previous visit and I had the roast suckling pig. Once again the food was delicious.

It is becoming decidedly harder to eat so much food. We were very glad of our brisk walk back to the hotel to plan another day.

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