Sunday, 25 August 2013

Hippies and Lawyers in Sardinia

Alghero, Sardinia

From Corsica, we took a ferry to Sardinia. The port town we arrived in was uninspiring so we drove to Alghero, where the Spanish influence still remains from days long past of Spanish rule. It was a fortified town, with sea walls, and along them were cannons and catapults.
Tiny red chair by the seaside, and part of the fortifications.

The Moorish influences can be seen in the colourful tiling of their religious buildings, which reminds me of Zaragoza's Basilica of the Pillar.

If you look closely you can see the path carved into the cliff that we walked along to reach the Grotto of Neptune. This was where Yannick dropped his camera lens cap into a pool of cave water. He tried to retrieve it, but it was just out of his reach. We had to use a glasses cloth for the rest of the trip (and we have only just replaced it even now that we've been back in New Zealand for over 8 months). 

The cave! Very drippy.

When driving along the mountainous roads, Yannick saw a hippy filling dozens of reusable plastic bottles from a tap poking out of the cliff he had somehow managed to find by the side of the road. He must have used his hippy wiles to locate such a spring, and he was making good use of it. He wore red shorts (this deserves mentioning).

Nuraghe Su Nuraxi - a nuraghe is a stone tower, and this one is the only World Heritage Site in Sardinia, dating from 1500 BC. 

The village surrounding the tower (pictured here) started in the Iron Age. 

To visit the site, a guide was needed to accompany you for safety reasons. Her English was impressive, but she often pointed to the different 'lawyers' of the buildings and I was a little thrown until I realised she meant layers. 

Cagliari, Sardinia

The capital of Sardinia. We walked around and saw the city from up high, where a sand coloured archway framed the sprawl of sand coloured buildings. 

Gelato in the capital. We ate in a park. 

We attempted to walk to the Gola Su Gorropu, or the 'Grand Canyon of Europe'.  However, it was quite tiring and looked as though it would start to rain. Not wanting to be stuck hours from shelter, we decided to turn back.  
There were goats roaming around, who were much better at navigating the rocky paths than us.

The campground we stayed at nearby was based on the rocky ground as well. We even tried to use a rock to prise off the bottle cap of some Italian orange drink we had bought. We ended up using scissors, which seems dangerous. Was the drink worth it, you may be asking. Possibly, I can't remember.

Altopiano del Golgo
The landscape became oddly swampy, and donkeys roamed. We followed sharp switchback roads to get there, parking and walking along a dusty path to find a 270 meter deep abyss. It was fenced off for safety, but you could still feel the dark depth.

The donkeys wanted food, like scavenging pigeons, but Clive our car only held biscuits which are not healthy for donkeys (or humans for that matter).

Another cave we visited was the Grotta di Ispinigoli. It contained the second tallest stalagmite in the world (38 meters high). The tallest is in Mexico at 40 metres. Our guide told us that the cave remained at a stable temperature throughout the year, so in summer it would feel cool when you went inside, and in winter it would feel warm. From Sardinia we took the ferry back to mainland Italy.