We packed up a picnic this morning and headed to the secluded waterfall at Martis to enjoy an al fresco lunch.
[The fig tree at Martis waterfall]
We found a pleasant spot next to the plunge pool, in the shade of a giant fig tree. We had taken local salad, the smoked ricotta from Perfugas and fresh cakes from the bakery down the road – all of which made an excellent picnic.
On the way back to the car, there was plenty of wildlife to be seen, and I managed to spot this damsel fly sitting on a twig next to the path:
[A damsel fly next to the path]
We also made a short detour to the ruined church of San Pantaleo in the town of Martis – a wonderful old building with a few frescos still surviving inside, and plant life beginning to take over outside:
[A fresco from the interior of the Chiesa di San Pantaleo, Martis]
Having had a wonderful week on the island, it was time for me to head home this evening, and so I was dropped off at Alghero airport for my return flight. Another couple of friends were staying on into the weekend, I’m sure they will enjoy themselves!
We were due to pick up another friend from Cagliari airport this afternoon (the main reason for us heading south), so we had a few hours to explore around the area before going to meet them.
It was another hot day, so we spent the morning wandering around the Orto Botanico in the old part of Cagliari, admiring the exotic plants and grateful for the shade that was provided by many overhanging species. They have an excellent selection of cacti in the gardens – the climate is perfect for them, and many were in flower:
[cactus in bloom in the Botanical Gardens in Cagliari]
We had enough time to take a drive out to the Capo di Pula before heading back to the airport. It’s lined with palms and has the ocean on two sides, very close together. More visions of white sand and blue ocean:
[The sandy beach at Capo di Pula]
The drive home was quite straightforward, if a little dull – but at least it was on Sardinia’s one and only motorway, and therefore a lot quicker than many of the roads in the interior.
As it was my last evening in Sardinia, I decided to head back up to the castle and watch another Chiaramonti sunset:
[A last Chiaramonti sunset]
It was pretty spectacular this time, and with the gentle clanking of bells worn by the sheep grazing the hillside below, it was a great way to end the day, before heading out for a final Sardinian pizza!
Tuesday saw us head south to Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital. On the way, we stopped off about half way down the west coast for a detour to the ancient Phoenician ruins at Tharros. The place was also settled by the Romans, and certain bits of the town remain – mainly some rather incongruous columns sitting right on the edge of the Tharros peninsular.
The place was also teeming with wildlife – loads of wild flowers, bees, insects and the ever-present scurrying green geckos:
[Gecko in amogst the pebbles and wild flowers at Tharros]
That was a tranquil part of the day – trauma came later when we hit Cagliari in the rush hour and realised the locals all drove like folks possessed. Eventually we made it unscathed into a car park near the main station and walked the short distance to our hotel on foot!
We managed quite an extensive walking tour around the old part of town, including the Bastione San Remy with its commanding views out across Cagliari harbour:
[Clouds gathering over the harbour at Cagliari]
Another wonderful day out, with hot, sunny weather more or less everywhere we went.
We started out by heading to Ploaghe and the Chiesa di Santissima Trinità di Saccargia [right], a wonderful Romanesque church famous throughout Sardinia. It has striking stripey stonework outside and is simply decorated in the cool interior.
After a refreshing cuppa in the cafe, it was back in the car and a bit of a drive to the north western most point on Sardinia – the Capo del Falcone. More prefect blue water, white sand and people gently frying in the sun.
There is an old fort and lighthouse on the peninsula, which is a very popular place for visitors. I even had a paddle in the Med!
[Boats and azure-blue water at the Capo del Falcone]
We explored an old saltworks near Stintino on the way back from the cape, and then made our way to Alghero, one of Sardinia’s major towns in the north.
It was very pleasant to sit by the harbour having some dinner and watching the sun sink below the clouds. The sunset wasn’t fantastic, as there was a heavy bank of clouds just above the horizon, but it was a great spot for poeple watching, as the locals strolled along the harbour walls for their evening constitutional.
[An evening stroll along the harbour in Alghero]
We even managed to navigate ourselves back to Chiaramonti in the dark, without getting lost – must be getting used to the place!
Our first stop today was the nearby town of Perfugas, where they were having a street festival. We wandered around the market stalls and bought some lovely smoked ricotta from one of them.
It was blisteringly hot, and the locals were mostly sitting in the shade enjoying some banter with each other. I caught these gents [right] on some steps arguing good-naturedly between themselves.
Our next stop was the northern coastal town of Isola Rossa, with its azure blue marina, chocked full of colourful boats and sea life.
[Left, some reflections in the hull of a boat in the marina at Isola Rossa]
After enjoying a much-needed ice cream, we made our way inland again via the Valle della Luna near Aggius. This is an amazing landscape of rocky outcrops which does look very much like the moon.
Our final stop of today’s tour was to visit a tiny little church on the banks of the Lago di Coghinas near Oschiri.
[Chiesa di Nostro Santo di Castro has wonderful stonework with many different colours in evidence]
The church was closed, unfortunately, as we arrived quite late in the day. But the evening light was making the stonework glow with pinks and orange, and we wandered around the tiny little courtyard taking pictures for some time before heading for home.