As I said in my previous post we made an on the spot decision to head to Sardinia after watching a video on Facebook. It was was literally 24 hours from driving to the Slovenia border to turning around and being on a boat to Sardinia. This is one of the great things about being in the van, on the spot decisions that could take you anywhere… within reason!
Now, since being in Italy I would say that efficiency has not been the main trait of the country, I think this is exaggerated in my mind as I’m reading a book about Italy in World War One, where their efficiency and tactics were both dire. However, the ferry loading was the epitome of shit efficiency, if this was Dover it would have been chaos. We were loaded in the most random order, I’m sure there was a guy in there playing Tetris with vehicles, and just requesting the bits he needed to fill the gaps. It was a slow process and no one seemed to know what was going on! Once on the ferry we made our way to the top deck, as we did not have a cabin, we proceeded to set up a boat bivi on the deck chairs! It turned out to be a really comfy night!
The police seem to have taken an interest in us since we left the main land. First off at the ferry port, every car and van we saw just drove through, I was planning on doing the same however a last minute hand gesture from the police and we were pulled over where they took all our details and searched the van. When we exited the ferry we were again the only vehicle I could see that was pulled over?? I’m not sure why? Maybe we look like vagabonds in a dodgy van?
After all this hassle, it was topped off when we were parked up at Cala Fuili, and again a policeman pulled over and started to try and talk to me? He walked me to the side of the van, where my waste water had a slight leak, I mean drip here, drip there, not exactly Niagra Falls. It had obviously came loose on the drive in, that said, it should not have been leaking at all, so I tightened up, apologised and said I did not realise, he started blabbing about ‘50 euro’, over and over pointing at the slight damp patch on the floor. He had more chance of curing cancer on the spot than getting the money, Jess came over and we proceeded to argue that we were not paying. He took mine and the vehicle paperwork to his car, and I was wondering whether we were going to have to go to the station, although he came back gesturing that no camping was allowed, no nothing… At this point I looked left and right to see a shit ton of other camper vans all parked up and not getting hassled. After this, I drove into town, and passed a couple of small campervans who had chairs and clothes drying outside etc, demonstrating blatant camping, and the policeman would have to pass these guys when he drove back too. Once we had done our business in town, I saw these vans at Cala Fuili and asked if they had been stopped by the policeman, no, of course not. I’m not sure why but we have been the centre of the police curiosity, but I’m starting to feel a little harassed and invaded, I hope this does not continue and we have just been unlucky.
Also if you wanted to send something or get a stamp, where would you go? Well for me, I would think the obvious choice would be the post office, and so we went into town and found the post office. Jess queued up and when she got to the counter asked for a stamp, where this guy was uber rude, and gesturing like we had just asked for something crazy… like a stamp… in a post office?
All this sarcasm and negativity to start a post that in all honesty is super positive; seriously, from the point we made the decision to come here and were driving across Italy, both our moods were improved, positivity that had been lost by rain and sleeping in a parking lot was restored. The first beach we visited in Cala Gonone was lovely, although the water was a bit too choppy to swim in, but we still got in as it was lovely and warm!
That night we found an amazing parking spot with vistas across the sea, and watched the sun rise the next morning. We kept seeing people walk past our van and like sheep decided that we would follow, and found Cala Fuili, a lovely beach at the end of a Gorge that was covered in climbing. The water was clear like in the video that we had seen on Facebook, so we made the decision to get some snorkelling equipment in town the next day (when we had our run in with the police). We then climbed for a few hours in the afternoon, right next to the beach, this was what we had wanted when we came here, it was beautiful!
The next day after our run in with the police we brought some snorkelling stuff, and made our way back, although stopped short of Cala Fuili and made our way to a smaller beach that we saw the previous day, as the sea looked clearer, and you could see the patchwork of rock and sand through the blue, so would be great for snorkelling. We spent a good hour or so in the water, I think we were both mesmerised by the water and the wildlife, duck diving down to get a better view under rocks etc. It was great fun, although we were in the water for a little bit too long and by the time I left the water I was freezing, I could have cut glass with my nipples!
That afternoon we climbed on the opposite side of Cala Fuili beach, and although the first few routes were in the fives, we felt we were not pushing ourselves enough and were climbing well within our grade. So I found an overhanging 6a+ that I though looked hard, but doable. It took many attempts, falling off and swinging around before I managed to link the moves and get the climb done. This was the hardest climbing we had done for a long while, and it felt good!
That night we moved on to a new location south via some windy roads atop the hills and mountains, it was beautiful scenery. I considered stopping for the night but we pushed on to Porto di Santa Maria, and ended up parking just outside town for the night, regretting the amazing parking spots missed in the mountains. We drove into town and found some parking for the massive van, which was easier than I thought it would be. We spent the mid morning on the beach, and again snorkelled. There was a rock feature just off the beach that protruded out of the water, we swam to this and it was surrounded by wildlife. It seems that you also gain a fan club when you swim out, as there are always fish in tow following you, I’m guessing they are all chasing their next meal rather than me. When you stood on a rock and disturbed the algae the fish came out of no where and had themselves a feast, it was great! No wrecks yet, but I will hopefully see some rust when we go diving.
We came to this location to climb at the port, there is a shard of rock that protrudes at the corner of the port and here are a small gathering of bolted routes, mainly between the Fives and sixes and so perfect for us. The routes were just right and tough, with some great moves and thinner holds that needed to be found, rather than sticking out blatantly. On the other side of the water break, were few other routes and these were super sharp, giving an idea of what some of the polished routes would have been like when they were first climbed. I even smeared on the face, which Is nearly inconceivable on some of the glass like holds we have been on in this trip.
So that’s a few days wrapped into one, I will hopefully get some diving done in the future, as this water is so clear and must hold some amazing dive sites! Sardinia so far has been great, a real good decision and feels weirdly like a holiday from our holiday!