Many of you won't understand when I say I don't consider my travelling as a 'holiday'. Regular viewers, however, should know what I mean by that as instead of lazing around, I'm always on the go wanting to learn, see and enjoy new things. That's why I am so appreciative I was able to stay with Uncle Rob and indeed enjoy a mini holiday to see some of what Sardenga is well known for - its crystal clear, glass-like effect sea water.
Friday 25th September
First though, and continuing on from my last post, you may recall that I stayed at a random, but very pleasant B&B here in Cagliari. This morning I enjoyed breakfast on the terrace forever remaining patriotic by choosing the mug you can see in the foreground. I continued this patriotism by ensuring its contents where also quintessentially British and not Italian, if you follow?
Cagliari is the capital city of the island of Sardenga. Clearly not the capital of the country as that would be Rome! Speaking of Rome, did you know that Tunisia is closer to my current location than Rome is?!?! Perhaps this accounts for why a lot of locals consider themselves primarily Sardinian and secondarily, Italian.
As I also eluded to in my last post, I had hoped to at least explore my surrounding area here in Cagliari so that's what I did late morning before catching a mid afternoon train to a new yet-to-be-researched location.
Cagliari also happens to be a busy and important sea-port with the train and bus station also in very close proximity of each other resulting in busy roads too.
Here are a few snaps of the surrounding area of the port and stations:
When I returned to the B&B and before I left the premises, I needed to knuckle down and plan my next destination. Within the first half hour of planning I'd realised things were indeed about to get more difficult...
Let's start with the fact that only two days ago I had learned that my time in Sardenga would be cut short. Considering the relatively high prices (for a backpacker at least), that's perhaps not a bad thing after all.
The reason my time on this island will total just one week and not more is because the last ferry to Corsica is in a couple of days time!!! I guess this makes it a seasonal voyage despite there being plenty of other sailings to the mainlands of France and Italy right through to December! Naturally I tried multiple websites and sailing agencies but all were showing similar to this:
Today was the 25th and so I had two days to get from the deep south of the island to get to the very north - and without car. This should be interesting...
Still, I guess I should be thankful I spotted this in time as I'm really not sure what the alternative would have been. One thing's for sure, it'd have been expensive whatever it would end up being.
So with some difficulty and extensive research put in earlier at the B&B, I eventually picked out a place that was another B&B going for £35 euros located on the west of the island. That was the best price I could find which also includes breakfast and gives me my own private room. Sounds great but the problem here folks is that when you factor in eating and transport, days like this quickly turn into 50/60 euros a day and that is certainly not sustainable!
Here's where I am and here's where I'm headed.
Note the blue dot at the bottom of the image and then again at the top.
Another big challenge when searching for accommodation, other than the price of course, is picking out a place in close proximity to the bus/train station that I get off at. This hotel, for example, is nearly 2KM from the station and that was the best that I could find in nearly an hour of research when you factor in everything mentioned above. I had accepted that my luggage and I would perform the walk if I couldn't work out how to catch a local bus to the center when I arrived. Sure enough walking is what I ended up doing as you don't find many Sardinian's that speak good English.
Naturally my mindset has toughened during these months of solo travel. As such, the distance (to a degree of a course) was no longer my primary concern. Besides I knew from past experience that I could walk one whole hour with my luggage if I had to and in that time frame, nailing a 4 KM walk was possible!
Relatedly, however, it was knowing how to get to my B&B that matters most to me. As in, as long as my GPS mapping system was working and my directions were decent and I was on the right path, everything else I could handle. Being lost and wandering aimlessly I couldn't.
Anyhow, I'm happy to report that the walk went to plan and it took me a mere 30 minutes. Additionally my stay at the Mistral B&B was spot on, essentially meaning the bed was comfortable, the shower was hot, the breakfast was good and most importantly, the Wifi was decent allowing me to catch up with a number of things.
Saturday 26th September:
I'd discovered there were infrequent trains from Oristano to Olbia that would get me much closer to where I needed to be to catch my ferry - this being the port of Santa Teresa Di Gallura. If I could catch a train to Olbia, I would need to then catch a bus to Santa Teresa. Sounds easy, huh? Let's see if it was...
The only viable train for me to catch departed around 13:30 meaning I wouldn't reach Olbia until 16:30. I hardly ever arrive so late into a city and I wouldn't even be at my final destination at this point.
I caught this train without drama aware that prior research had warned me another infrequent journey (this time bus) to reach Santa Teresa would leave at 19:00 (2.5 hours from exiting the train) to get me there at 20:30. Bugger.
Still, when the sun is shining in the mid-afternoon you'd be amazed how you can kill time in the simplest of ways; light exploring (even with luggage), several rest points in piazza's (city square's) to people watch, a compulsory Cappuccino and some light supermarket purchasing of food.
As the time drew closer to 19:00, I recall feeling unusually tense. This was because a lot rested on the next part of the journey. I had to catch this bus (granted there was a final much later one as a backup) and I had to get to Santa Teresa tonight if I was going to catch the early ferry I had booked. Not forgetting the small fact of tomorrow being the last sailing day.
I used the final 30 minutes of my free time to work out where I needed to be and where I could buy a ticket from. (This town didn't have a station per-say which was news to me).
Still, when I saw the bus arrive at where I was standing destined for Santa Teresa, I smiled and naturally looked to the sky to say thank you again to whoever has been looking out for me now, and in the months that have passed.