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Trip Report Sardinia again

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Landed in Alghero on October 1st and found that the town had changed since my last visit 2 years ago, not necessarily for the better. It was swarming with people. However hotel San Francesco was a haven of peace. The hotel is located on the first - and part of the second - floor of a cloister. It is very basic but clean. Breakfast was limited, the bathroom was tiny but it was fine for a short stay and the staff was very nice.

We headed for Tempio Pausania the next morning, stopping south of Sassari to visit a one of the most beautiful in Sardinia, Santa Trinita di Saccargia. Our hotel was a few miles from the town (which happens to be lovely and very untouristy) and close to Aggius. Aggius is a small town built at the foot of a very strange mountain and is known for its traditional hand-made carpets. Sure enough, we met a very nice weaver who showed told us all about her art, directed us to the local folk museum ("MEOC"), advised us not to miss the '"Valle della Luna" a few miles away - a very strange landscape of rocks -and told us to come back the next morning as it was the first day of the village festival.
So the next morning we showed up for the Festival of Nostra Signora del Rosario. There was a mass in front of the church with a Sardinian men choir, then a procession with horses, people in traditional costumes and of course the statue of the Virgin.
In the afternoon we drove to Santa Teresa di Gallura and Capo Terra.

Next day was spent at sea. We drove to Palau and went on a day-long boat trip which took us through the Maddalena Archipelago. There were onty 6 of us on the boat and our captain was also an excellent cook. The boat stopped several times to let us swim and/or eat. A wonderful day, emerald-gree water, blue sky and some mighty yachts moored here and there ....

After 3 nights in Tempio we left for Cala Gonone on the East coast. Stopped at San Teodoro for a quick lunch and were at our hotel early enough to take a boat to the Grotto di Bue Marino, one of the local attractions. Cala Gonone was full of German and Swiss tourists. It is a good base for hiking, cliff climbing, diving, snorkeling and all these people were teeming with energy.
Next day was spent on a boat again, a mini-cruise that takes you along the coast and its beautiful beaches, some of them only accessible by boat. The boat takes you to one beach and leaves you there if you want, then comes back and takes you to another beach. We shared our time between Cala Goloritze and Cala Luna and came back to the hotel late in the afternoon.
Note : take bathing suit/water/some food for the day. There is only one restaurant in Cala Luna but you have to walk through a creek to get to it and it is not very practical.

We visited Dorgali (wonderful leather bags) and then drove to Fonni, a mountain village in the center of Sardinia. We took the long road via Orgosolo where people express their political opinions by painting murals on the walls and Mamoiada. The people of Mamoiada celebrate San Antonio with a very strange ritual : the mamuthones, men wearing coats made of goat skin and tragic dark wooden masks dance through the village streets. Cow/sheep/goat bells are attached to their clothes - 20, 30, 50 of them - which weighs 60 lbs or more. There is a very interesting Mask Museum in the village.

In Tempio we had fled the hotel one day as there was a wedding party (fortunately ending at 10 pm). What was expecting us at the hotel in Fonni but another wedding party, this time both for lunch and dinner and for 400 people .........
So we fled again, drove to Arbatax and its famous red rocks which were a huge disappointment. It must have been a lovely place before they decided to improve on it by building a gigantic cement belvedere. Litter and garbage everywhere, really a sorry place.

While roaming the countryside, we stopped in Gavoi where there was another festival. People were selling all sorts of things in the streets ; apples, egg-plants, chestnusts, lace, pastries, wood sculptures and T-shirts "made in jail" by prisoners.............
There was a parade of medieval knights and damsels waving flags and in the middle of all that, a biergarten (under a tent) with lederhosen-clad Austrian giants cracking their whips......
Don't miss the church of San Gavino in Gavoi and its very rare statue of the Virgin on her death bed ("dormition of the Virgin").

It was then time to drive back to Alghero and fly home.

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