Nights stayed in Marina dell Sole, Cagliari: 5
Marina del Sole is a laid back and friendly marina with the most charming tented office I have ever seen in a marina. Ricardo, the man in charge was charming and helpful, giving us directions to the chandleries and touristic places of interest. The facilities are rough and ready but with unlimited drinking water on tap, who cares? And they get a thumbs up from me for being the first marina to offer recycling.
Price per night for an (ahem) 14.8 metre boat in September : 50 Euros
Distance from the marina into town: 1 mile.
There is a lovely board walk along the harbour that takes you to the centre of town. It is a mere fifteen minutes leisurely bicycle ride (unless one gets a puncture) but after that, be prepared to walk uphill to get to see the good stuff!
Mediaeval hilltop towns visited: 1
Cagliari old town is built on a hillside with the old town and cathedral perched on top of the highest point. The impressive gate of Bastioni di San Remi offers a wide veranda at the top with panoramic views over the city. Just behind this lies a labyrinth of streets leading to the Cathedral and the Tower of the Elephant.
Aperitivos taken reclining on a raised dais like a Roman Emperor : 4
There is a lift to terrace from the ground level but it was out of order during our stay. On the two occasions that we trekked up to the top, we rewarded ourselves with drinks and nibbles stretched out on the café’s fabulous mattress seat and kicked our shoes off. The views across the town and bay are fantastic.
Botanical garden visited: 1
The botanical gardens are small but an oasis of cool on a hot summer’s day (or even a hot autumn day). Be sure not to miss the amazing Roman cistern tucked into one corner of the park. A labyrinth takes you to the hollowed out dome with its incredible acoustics. Be sure to sing when you get there.. you will sound like an angel! The adjacent amphitheatre is just OK, under renovation and visible from the road. The three Euros entrance fee is better spent in the Boxer’s bar opposite the botanical gardens where cappuccinos and Sardinian beer are one Euro each.
Lovely fellow sailors from Belgium befriended: 2
Pierre and Catherine were one boat along from us in the marina on their brand new Waquiez 48 Pilot Saloon, Crock n’Roll (great name, they are Mr and Mrs Crokaert). It was great to meet them and swap stories, tips, apps and maps and to share a pizza together in town. Many grateful thanks to Pierre for coming aboard and helping us with our inspection hatch lid. We will follow them on their travels as they sail east, thanks to Catherine’s blog, and hope our paths will cross again some day.
Hours spent trying to prise loose and old, leaking inspection hatch: 8
If at first you don’t succeed, keep bashing away with a hammer. We got by with a little help from our friends (Pierre was such a gentleman and insisted that we had loosened it, but his physical strength saved us further hours of thankless toil). Some jobs just require brute force and the most stubborn determination. Lucky us for having such great neighbours…
Dolphins sighted in the marina : 4
The water is brown in Marina del Sole but not with industrial by products but thick with mud and algae. I have never seen so much life in a marina and certainly have never seen so many mullet (or “shit fish” as Pierre affectionately called them). No wonder the dolphins come in to feed. They come right into the marina and the mullet then take refuge between the boats which positively seethe with fishy life. Dolphins are not the only ones fishing: every day you see many local people, men and women alike, fishing off the pontoons. There are also wading birds, mussels and the worst fouling I have ever seen!
Flamingos sighted : dozens
Just ten minutes bike ride from the marina lies the Park of Molentargius, a salt water park where flamingos can be seen all year round.
Amazing photos taken of flamingos 0
Flat tyres and punctures – 6
The back tyre of both our bicycles went flat as a pancake, Simon’s a second time after being repaired. Pierre had three punctures on one trip to town. When we bought new inner tubes the owner of the bike shop explained to us that the trees in and around Cagliari push up spikes after periods of dry weather. The Tour of Italy saw 40 percent of the peleton with flat tyres when it passed through the region last year.
Raybans found – 1
An upgrade to my Poundland glasses!
Bicycle mishaps : 2
Poor Catherine had her Brompton bike vandalised in a quiet square when she locked it up and went for dinner. Someone very hamfisted tried to break the bicycle lock by bashing it against the frame of the bike and suceeded in mashing up the frame. Simon came a cropper on the way back from the pizza restaurant at night cycling across a pot hole. His resulting bruise was epic and all the colours of a Caribbean sunset.
Lovely pizza restaurants visited: 2
We can recommend the Pizzeria and restaurant opposite the marina (the first one you come to on your right as you walk towards town). It is reasonably priced, the pizza is delicious, the service is wonderful and if you visit the rest room you can watch a beach volley ball match in the indoors courtyard at the back of the restaurant.
Calories consumed eating pizzas, cheese, ice cream and aperitivos: lost count