Two Sites and a Funeral

With all avenues having been explored at the Tortoli site on the Sardinian east coast, in other words a short, hot walk along the road as far as it goes and back again- we up sticks once more and ready the van for another hop north, this time towards Siniscola. There’s a site at Santa Lucia, a small seaside village. I look at the map. The road is ominously wiggly, heralding more mountain road terrors.

You’d have thought I’d be getting used to staring dizzy drops and horrific hairpins by this time, but rather than finding it all thrilling [as, admittedly. does Husband] I continue to perspire and grimace. But I’ve perfected the art of taking long, slow breaths as we approach bends or vehicles career towards us. This time, the journey is not aided by the scores of motor bikers who roar up behind us and swerve away at breakneck speed, sometimes enhancing the thrill by zig-zagging across the road. It’s clearly a favourite for motor cycles, also the one and only road where we spot three- yes, three British vehicles- all in one day; and having not spotted a single Brit during the entire trip to this date.

On this route, though there are some short stretches of respite, semi-tunnels where the outside edge is guarded by columns, and by the time we’re dropping down towards Santa Lucia it’s all become much more sensible. A search for a suitable place to stop for lunch gets tied in with supermarket shopping then we’re good to go to the site.

While we’ve been in Sardinia, our own, home, UK news has been full of the Queen’s death- a momentous event for many in our home country. And while any death is sad for those involved and close family of course I can’t help feeling relieved not to be saturated in the details and outpourings all day every day.

We pull up at the gates to our site. The woman in reception is pleasant and welcoming. ‘But you don’t want to watch the funeral?’ she asks me. For a moment I’m not sure what she means. ‘We’re showing it in the bar’ she tells me. I thank her, but say no, thanks, we didn’t know the Queen. [We still haven’t watched any of the ceremony/pomp/footage in spite of it’s remaining on YouTube], which the woman appears to find amusing.

The site is large and wooded with beach access via a woodland path. Getting into pitches is a little tricky, the first we choose being hampered by a gargantuan, Italian motorhome protruding into the access lane. The occupant makes a sudden appearance as Husband begins to manoeuvre into the space, gesticulating and waving like a banshee on speed. As I’m the other side of our van undertaking my own, usual, time-honoured signals, I find this frantic takeover annoying, as does Husband, so we roll across to the next space, away from the hyperactive, oversized-motorhome-owning Italian and his panicky signals.

Again, the site is ideal for beach lovers. This time, we can walk along the road into Santa Lucia, although it is tiny and while it’s attractive and has a relaxing, seaside holiday feel it has nothing of particular interest.

It’s on again, then- this time only a shortish hop north and to the Costa Smeralda, Sardinia’s famous millionaire playboy playground which was developed in the 60s by the Aga Khan, who poured milions into the area. Lucky for us it still has campsites!…

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my website: janedeans.com or my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novelist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook.

Close Encounters of the Polizi Kind

After a few days at the site near Tharros, we decide to ditch the plan to go south to Cagliari and drive across the island of Sardinia to the east coast at Tortoli. We’ve seen nowhere on our site to empty the grey water waste from the tank under our van, so we ditch it on the dirt track that leads to the road. We need to shop for groceries. A quick sweep via SATNAV tells us there’s a ‘Eurospin’ at Cabras, ten miles down the road, so we head there, following the directions. Upon entering Cabras, a somewhat nondescript town, I spot the ‘Eurospin’ sign, its tall, blue, star-studded emblem standing in front of a bulldozed building site.

We turn around and head back towards a brand new shopping centre up a ramp, where I catch sight of ‘Conad’ [renamed ‘Gonad’ by us on a previous occasion]. As we move to the access lane I notice a vehicle pulling level with us, then see it is a polizi car and worse, the window is down and the police officer is screeching something at us. Horrors! He points to our waste outlet, now dribbling a miniscule drip on to the road. ‘Es una problema!’ he shouts at me. ‘It’s nothing’ I say, ‘it’s just water!’ He continues to shout and we turn off up the ramp. I look behind and offer thanks to some unknown deity that the polizi are not accompanying us to Gonad.

We strike out across the countryside, soon beginning an ascent on a mountain road which feels too narrow to me, the passenger sitting on the left with vehicles hurtling towards me round hairpin bends. It’s up and on up, winding high until we enter one of those villages that clings to the mountainside as if a giant has thrown armfuls of toy houses down the hill. It’s pretty as a picture but with nowhere whatsoever to park a van we’re obliged to drive through to the other side- where at least we do find somewhere to stop and photograph the views. But they do not do justice to the panoramic vista stretched out below, a snaking series of hairpin bends and, incongruously, a football pitch halfway down.

We continue on the mountain road, stopping for coffee at almost the top, by a sign warning us of stray cattle- not a worry that had preoccupied me on the white-knuckle drive. At last we’re following the road through a quarry, the entire plant occupying both sides of the road and drop down towards the sea and Tortoli. We find the site we’ve chosen, as usual a good way out of town and away from any village or community, which appears to be the norm in Sardinia.

It’s one of those swish, ‘village’ type sites with pool, loungers, beach access through a swathe of palm trees and what looks like a creditable restaurant. This is lucky, as we’re not anywhere near the town of Tortoli although we can see the port, way around the bay along the huge, breezy beach.

The site is half empty. Our neighbours are two young Italian couples and a small boy. The women wander off with the child while the young men set to pitching the tents, stringing up the fairy lights and installing hammocks between the trees. Once the hammocks [four] are in place, the larger man, who clearly enjoys his pasta, tries out a hammock, instantly stretching it to the ground where it tips him out. The fact that we’re watching with interest places no constraints on the pair’s activities. They’re delighted to have caught our attention, especially when the two light bulbs they’ve inserted work and we applaud.

In spite of being way out of town and the only place to eat, the restaurant is excellent and I select a fishy carbonara which is simply delicious.

With nothing other than beach we decide to make the next hop up the coast, working our way up northwards towards the Costa Smeralda…

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my website: janedeans.com or my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook.