Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sunny Sardinia

I remember reading the book The Blue Zones many years ago, which sought out the longest living cultures and tried to understand what made them live so much longer. Indeed, people living in these Blue Zones reach the age of 100 at 10 times the average rate. One of the Blue Zones highlighted in the book was in Sardinia, and I am not sure I even knew where Sardinia was at the time. But after reading about it, I knew it was a place I had to visit. And I just did.

Sardinia is a rugged, rural island, lined with clear turquoise waters, sandy coves, and jagged cliffs. During the summer holidays it swells with tourists who come to splash in its warm waters. The landscape is brown and dusty from the unbearable heat (says this Northern girl) of a Sardinian summer. But I can now tell you that May is the perfect time to visit Sardinia.

We traveled a bit around the northern part of the island, and it made me realize how much it has to offer as I felt we saw so little. The landscape varied in each area, and the number of small hidden secluded beaches was really impressive! We stayed at small agriturismos along the way, all of them with a homey feel, good food, limited English, and - most importantly - animals!

Our first destination was just outside the small village of Arzachena, just inland from the Costa Smeralda. Our B&B was tucked away in the rocky hills, with a lovely pool and an unbelievable breakfast spread. We explored some beaches, rested by the pool in the sunshine, and did some hiking.

From there we headed south to check out some of the beaches near Cala Galone. Lucky for us, the weather was on our side and perfect for playing at the beach, and even swimming in the chilly water. One of the beaches we found had a warm tide pool, and it was so perfect that we ended up back at it the next day. At the end of the day we headed back to Los Canales where they served up a nice pasta dinner for the kids. Once we put the kids to bed, we set down for the set dinner menu and enjoyed local Sardinian specialties (such as suckling pig), wine, and date night in Italy with our kids sleeping nearby!

Our last stop was outside the city of Alghero, at a nice little farmstay. We explored some beaches, and enjoyed all the animals on the farm. There were baby goats and 2 week old piglets! So cute! We also had a memorable meal, again without kids, that included 11 appetizers, that nearly all came directly from the farm (including the wine)!

Gelato in Alghero
One of the highlights of my days was my early morning dates with Ebba. Unlike her brother, she is not one for sleeping in. In an effort to let the boys get some sleep she and I would head out each morning to explore our surroundings. By the time we were all ready for breakfast we had already climbed a hill and found a great view of our surroundings, or walked along the cliffs along the sea. It felt like we sharing some sort of solitude, and it was lovely.
Sardinia was a perfect place to spend the May holiday. It's low season, but still has lovely weather and so much to offer!