sardinia diary: drive from cagliari to tortoli
i was so enamored by chia beach in the south west of cagliari that the breathtaking beauty of the south east coast caught me completely unawares. from the minute you leave cagliari, after whizzing past quartu sant elena, you begin a panoramic drive that hugs the coast all the way to villasmius, about 40 km away.
the road runs really close to the water and as you drive along you're completely swept away by the purity of the sea and the sky. i saw some truly splendid sights, especially when you are looking down from the top of cliffs to natural inlets below. it was like driving along highway 1 in california with the caribbean sea alongside. h and i played a game of thinking of every colour we could use to describe the sea!
on the way to tortoli there were many roadside fruit and vegetable vendors who stock the freshest and best looking peppers, eggplants, grapes, necatrines, peaches and lots of other produce. we stopped at one of the more colourful stalls to buy some fruit for the journey. i thought i had bought a lot and was worried how much i had spent but 3 bananas, 2 necatarines, 2 peaches, 8 plums and a big bunch of grapes came to just four euros.
once you leave the coast and stick to the highway (s125), the scenery is not terribly interesting until you enter ogliastra when you start seeing vineyards and the landscape turns lush and verdant again as you get close to tortoli, also known as arbatax. we were driving to tortoli to spend a few days with our friend rutton who has a lovely place close to the beach.
la bitta hotel is the best place in town to unwind with a vermentino (white wine from sardinia) while you watch the sun set in the distance. after a few glasses of wine, the ocean beckoned. rutton and i braved the initial chill of getting into the water and then had a lovely swim under the stars. rutton had an extra pair of snorkeling gear which made swimming in the ocean quite enjoyable. i'd never swum in the sea in the early evening and so thoroughly enjoyed the new experience.