Beach bums

Having been dropped off on the delightful little Cala Mariolu beach we’re left for a few hours to enjoy this pebbly cove.

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Along with the simply stunning water there is a cliff that attracts children and the foolhardy like lemmings . .

Obviously the dare devil scales it straight away like a frenzied, suicidal mountain goat.

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Then proceeds to hurl himself off it repeatedly almost as if it is some sort of fun…

Yeap, looking like endless amounts of terrifying, vertigo inducing “fun”

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However, determined not to be outdone on this particular occasion, I make the (foolhardy) decision to jump off too . . .  instant regret! The cliff is really sharp and feels amount a million miles high from up here (notice the grimace on face)
 

I must have faffed around up there for about 40 minutes.. tottering to the edge only to discover that my body has a very strong “hell no” reflex and a surprisingly strong desire to live.

It was literally as if there was a glass wall preventing me from stepping over the edge and no amount of constructive help (just step out / shall I push you etc) was going to help.

It actually took a boat load of strangers floating into the cove and staring at me to make me jump! I was not going to be a coward in front of people I would never see again . .

Enough dare devilry for me. Back to paddling in the warm shallows and posing.

The photos just don’t do justice to how beautiful this part of the world is.

And then that’s it, the boat comes to collect us and we head back, salt encrusted and sated.

On-route back we enjoy more views of the stunning limestone cliffs tumbling to the sea.

This little beach is a dead ringer for parts of Ao Nang in Krabi, Thailand. Makes me nostalgic!

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And that’s your lot for Sardinia fellow travel lovers. All in all an unexpected, fantastical treat of an island.

An unspoilt (for now) gem of a place with everything you could want for an amazing get away.

Next stop, my first ever trip to Germany with the achingly hip capital city – Berlin!

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Jewel bright waters

We’re coming to the end of our Sardinian adventure but on the last day we see possibly the very best of this stunning island.

Hopping on a boat tour around the coastline from Cala Gonone we’re treated to some truly spectacular rugged cliffs and the most beautiful water yet!

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I can honestly say that I have not seen water this clear or this blue outside of Thailand.

In fact this is probably even better as it’s just a few hours from home and nowhere near as overrun!

Even swimsuit phobic old me can’t keep out of this gorgeous blue water.

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The lesser spotted smiling Marples is testament to just how invigorating and joyous it is!

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The limestone cliffs dramatically plunge into the turquoise sea, often erosion has created weird and wonderful sculptures such as the archway and Cala luna caves below.

It’s hard to believe that this gorgeous sight is only a short haul flight from the UK!

Then the boat drops us off on the lovely Cala Mariolu beach for a few hours of soaking up the sun and swimming.

 

Cosy Cala Gonone

Hairpin bends bring us ever closer to our final stop on the Sardinian adventure – Cala Gonone.

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It has a sheltered town beach, a pretty crescent of shingle lapped by navy and turquoise seas.

 

Once unpacked we’re celebrating our 11th anniversary in traditional style – with pizza! 🙂

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Cala Gonone is a jumping off base for exploring the craggy limestone cliffs and ravines.

But before we hop on a floaty boat to explore the glorious seascapes, we enjoy a leisurely breakfast complete with epic view from our hotel’s rooftop restaurant.

During October the amount of accommodation on offer is very limited so we opted for Hotel Ristorante Bue Marino 

Room wise it is very basic but you can’t argue with its location, overlooking the beach with stunning views out across the sea.

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Next up we’re taking to the seas to enjoy a tour around the cliffs and waters of Cala Gonone.

 

Plethora of paint

There’s a last lingering look at the amazing murals of Orgosolo now before we head onwards.

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I love the combination of faded pastel portraits of people with the flaking, peeling paint of old doors and metal work.

Below Mahatma Gandhi ministers to the poor and dwells on the plight of the impoverished.

This colourful house is so delightful it deserves a double whammy of photos!

Musicians line the walls of this ochre coloured building hidden in a backstreet.

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It is thought that the mural as a form of genuine political expression and dialogue  is dwindling because, although more appear, often councils invite artists to paint to attract visitors.

Therefore sanitising and professionalising a once wild art form.

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Whatever the motivations behind the murals of Orgosolo, and other bandit hill towns, they are an undeniable draw for art lovers and photographers alike.

So if you fancy an out of the way, mountain top detour to visit a former den of iniquity and banditry, you’ll love Orgosolo and its colourful art.

Multitude of murals

As we continue our exploration of Orgosolo’s outdoor art gallery we come across everything from political and historical paintings to cubist style works.

Below is a painted reproduction of a movie poster for the famous Bandits of Orgosolo, a 1960 Italian film drama directed by Vittorio De Seta that featured local shepherds as some of the lead characters.

Other murals reflect more recent world events such as the 9/11 terror attacks.

This trio of modernist works depict local women carrying out traditional crafts.

The man is dwarfed by this ornate and detailed mural that takes up an entire house facade.

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While below a window is surrounded by colourful depictions of local life.

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I took so many pictures of Orgosolo that I might manage to stretch to a third post about it!

Ogling Orgosolo

Moving away from beaches for a while we’re heading to the isolated town of Orgosolo.

Hidden in the midst of 1,000-metre-high mountains, surrounded by wild pine forests and a byword for lawlessness and kidnappers, Orgosolo is also an open air art gallery thanks to hundreds of murals that cover every wall, house and shop.

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Paintings can be found on walls all over Orgosolo. Above the many roles of women are celebrated – workers, mothers and lovers.

 

Whether it is pointing out the hypocrisy of giving charity without supporting countries to develop themselves or advocating for women’s rights, each picture tells a very charged story.

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The first mural in Orgosolo was signed by Dioniso in 1969: Dioniso was the collective name of a group of anarchists.

Since then they have reflected Sardinia’s political struggles but also deal with international issues as well as portraying the traditional island ways of life.

Orgosolo and the surrounding villages are infamous due to its lawless past full of bandits and kidnappers.

It is based in the central region known as Barbagia and, fittingly enough, the name comes from Cicero who described it as a land of barbarians.

At one time Orgosolo was known as the village of the murderers due to its high crime rate!

Given the rather reckless driving of some of the locals, it could still claim a fair few unwitting tourist scalps!

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More to come from this rough and ready open air art gallery . . .

Captivating Capriccioli

We’re heading to the last of the stunning Costa S’meralda beaches now – the lovely Capriccioli.

It’s a small beach with a length of 200 meters is surrounded by an abundance of lush Mediterranean brush, with olive and pine trees.

The beach is divided into two parts by enormous granite rocks and is a gorgeous stretch of white sand and gently shelving waters.

The waters are very shallow and so very safe for children and other water babies!

As is common with the Costa Smeralda beaches there are lots of weird, weather beaten rocks that seem to have fallen from an alien planet.

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The waters are as close to the Caribbean as you can get just three hours from the UK.

But luckily Sardinia doesn’t seem to have registered on the tourist hit list so far, so rampant development hasn’t happen and it retains a low key, laid back vibe.

With beaches this amazing though, I doubt it will be long before people looking for alternative, cheap holiday destinations start to wise up to this amazing island.

 

 

 

Spiaggia del Principe

Next on our coastal trip around the Costa S’meralda is the gorgeous little sandy spot of Spiaggia del Principe.

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Spiaggia del Principe, also known as Portu Li Coggi, is one of the best beaches of Costa Smeralda.

The Prince’s Beach is aptly named as it was the favourite beach of Karim Aga Khan IV, the playboy prince who fell in love with the stunning Sardianian coastline and founded the Costa S’meralda.

The beach is located near the small village of Cala di Volpe, between Romazzino beach and Capriccioli.

It will take you a good ten-minute walk along a rocky path before you’ll get rewarded with an arc of stunning white sand, lovely clear water and ever-changing hues of turquoise.

Principe Beach is about 250 meters long in total and is divided by rocks in the middle that stretch out into the ocean.

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White, pink, green, emerald green, blue, turquoise and sky blue colours all combine to make this little beach pack a huge punch!

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There’s a small bar that serves lunch, ice cream and cold drinks. Much needed refreshments in the baking heat of the Sardinian sun.

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It’s a definite must for the avid beach lover and a lovely little spot for watching the waves. It gets chock a block in high season though so visiting in October is perfect.

Romantic Romazzino

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Romazzino beach is the next sandy spot to be bagged on our Costa S’meralda coastal tour and it’s a beauty.

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In the middle of the beach you’ll find a pier that stretches out into the warm(ish) waters!

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While bizarrely shaped, weather beaten rocks appear haphazardly dotted along the sands.

The wind has abated somewhat but the water is still a glorious mix of navy, greens and frothy white wavelets.

Once again we have this little slice of paradise all to ourselves given that it was October.

But in the height of the summer season this beach will be heaving with sun worshippers.

Personally I much prefer it in it’s lonely, windswept, empty glory. Just us and the elements.

Romazzino beach is right in front of the famously luxurious Romazzino Hotel, one of Costa Smeralda’s best beach hotels.  It’s all shut up for the season so we get to roam freely!

Clearly luxuriating guests demand complete peace and quiet hence this amusing collection of “do not” signs . . . not quite sure what the middle one is warning against!

Rough seas and windswept sands

Onwards with our tour of the Costa Smeralda coastline and this time we’re treated to the sea at its windswept best.

The water has transformed into a boiling, seething mass of navy fury topped with foamy white horses at Cala Liccia.

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To get to this empty, wind whipped shingle beach we have to do a far bit of scrambling down rocky paths.

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The beaches in Sardinia are not always accessible but that makes it even more rewarding when you finally arrive on them!

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The navy water contrasts nicely with the weathered orange tones of the weather beaten rocks.

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Onwards in the car until we spot another picturesque spot. The beach at Punta Capaccia.

Naturally I can’t help but be drawn towards the water like a magnet to metal so we end up picking our way down to the sands.

it’s rather blustery now so the effect is slightly less glamorous Italian retreat and more good old Blighty beach!

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Next on our beach day blitz are the stunning beaches of Spiaggia Del Romazzino,  Spiaggia del Principe and Spiaggia Capriccioli.

This island just keeps getting better and better!