Jewel bright Bosa

The first town on our Sardinian odyssey is the picture postcard settlement of Bosa.

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Crossing over the river Temo (the only navigable river in Sardinia) this quaint little town is characterised by colourful houses, wrought-iron balconies and narrow alleyways.

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High above the town is the imposing Malaspina castle which was built in the 12th century.

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Before heading into the gorgeous town itself we take a meander along the river to see the town from below.

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The pastel fronted buildings and old warehouses and huge palm trees add a riviera feel to the scene.

Then we head into the labyrinthine alley ways of Bosa itself.  Straight away I am captivated by the colourful shop fronts.

I absolutely adore this weathered travel agency window with its baby blue paint and well ordered advertisements for far flung destinations and real estate for sale.

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Around every corner there’s colourful posters and art exhibition signs. So much to see!

Next we’re heading further into the paintbox bright back streets to experience the incredible coloured heart of this little town.

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Pretty Portixeddu

We’re heading on from Cagliari now, destined for the old walled city of Alghero in the North East.

On route we’re heading to a series of little villages and towns to soak up the Sardinian scenery.

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One such town is Portixeddu, a tiny tourist town in the Province of South Sardinia.

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The pretty beach is a postcard perfect scene early in the morning with not another soul to be seen except a fisherman setting up his rod and line.

The unspoilt swathe of golden sand is backed by remote green hills and off season it is a haven of peace and tranquillity.

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It’s a far cry from the summer months when hordes of visitors descend to enjoy the natural beauty of this little town.

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Poetto beach

If there is one thing that Sardinia is not short of it is stunning beaches, so we’re starting off with the one closest to Cagliari – Poetto beach.

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Spiaggia del Poetto di Cagliari is a long stretch of white sand with the rocky headlands of Tempio Punico rising above the harbour.

Poetto beach is eight kilometers long and offers views over the deep blue waters of the Golfo di Quartu.

These photos clearly show the impressive green Promontorio di Sant’Elia, nicknamed the Sella del Diavola (Devil’s Saddle) that rises above the pristine sands.

In summer Poetto is a heaving mass of the city’s young, hip and party crowd as well as families soaking up the sun.

In October however we have the long glittering stretch of sand virtually to ourselves.

Poetto is an easy bus ride from the city centre and the bus stops at several points along the beach.

The first stop will put you closest to the harbour and the walking trail up to the green headland.

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The wind whips up white horses on the ever changing blue, emerald and turquoise seas.

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Poetto is one of the most windy spots in Sardinia and for this reason it is a favourite spot for kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing enthusiasts.

When we visited we bumped into a world champion in training for the world championships of kite foil surfing.

Another attraction are the large lakes behind the beach that attract flamingos.

The lakes –  Stagno di Molentargius and Stagno di Quartu are best cycled round as it’s quite a walk from the main road.

Religious art

The Cathedral of Santa Maria, or the the Cathedral of Cagliari, has an incredibly ornate interior with geometric marble inlay creating mesmerising patterns.

Heading underground to the crypt you come to the Martyrs’ Sanctuary, so called because there are around 179 niches containing the relics of the martyrs of Cagliari.

Heading back into the city we find yet more ornate old churches whose weathered exteriors are of gently fading pastel colours.

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Inside even the most mundane looking buildings you can find a wealth of awe inspiring details and soaring flights of decorative fancy.

As an added bonus we are treated to some exquisite old balconies complete with old shutters and verdant window boxes.

And some cute little doors and rosy walls, all beckoning you inside for a peek.

And as always around every corner is yet another church looming large over the city.

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The city swings wildly from refined old elegance to cartoon street art and weathered poster collections.

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As we have a time to kill we also visit Cagliari botanical gardens, but as it is October there is not much in flower.

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However you can find a variety of impressive trees and cacti that still intrigue with their sculpture shapes and textures.

Scintillating Sardinia

We’ve off on our third trip of 2017 now. To the stunning Italian island of Sardinia.

Sardinia is one of those places that doesn’t seem to register very highly on people’s travel radars but is an absolute hidden gem.

Over the next ten days we find majestic old cities, hidden coves and stunning beaches so be prepared to be captivated by Sardinia!

First up we spend a few days in the capital city of Cagliari. We’re staying in the old castle district in the Castello Suites set in an old apartment block.

The old castle district is perched high up on a hillside which entails a bit of a trek from the station but is crammed full of traditional old features and shops.

The beautiful cathedral overlooks the city and is a pretty sight against a deep blue sky.

As with all Italian cities, every wall is an open air art gallery covered in paintings and street art.

The man manages to find a car smaller and cuter than him tucked in a side street.

More back alleys covered in graffiti offer colourful distractions for the snap happy.

As well as wall paint there are paste ups, stencils and tiny faces hidden in the doors.

As well as quirky art there are amazing little take away libraries in the street for on the move bibliophiles. I also love this colourful spice inspired door way.

Water babies

As a final farewell to Kos this post is dedicated to the wonderous swimming pool at our awesome hotel!

Being UK residents we don’t often have the chance to float around in an azure pool in the warmth!

So this post is just dedicated to the splashy, watery delights of this epic scale pool.

 

Floating, lolling, posing and a little bit of swimming too! In water based heaven.

And with that we bid adieu to Kos, it was a roller coaster of a trip but well worth it.

Next up we’re heading to the enchanting island of Sardinia for some pizza, cocktails and utterly stunning beaches!

Hot rocks and ruins

Close to the village of Pyli in Kos island, there is a half-ruined, abandoned settlement known as Old Pyli.

This atmospheric (and sweltering!) collection of old tumble down houses, churches and other ruins can be explored on foot.

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Above this abandoned village is the Castle of Pyli which was built in the Byzantine times and flourished from the 9th to the 11th century.

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Another interesting feature is at Agios Fokas – a sea-pool with hot springs, known as the thermes.

Located down a steep hill and at the end of a 250 metre-long pebbled beach they are a little arduous to get to.

In the pool the searingly hot water usually ranges between 42C and 50C – far too hot for me but just right for the heat seeking man!

As you can see it’s a popular place that often has to get rebuilt by locals as rough winter seas knock down the surrounding stones.

The hottest water issues from a crack in the rock and this is almost boiling, it’s better to try closer to the sea in order to stop from frazzling . . .

The earth moved . .

Having so far had a fantastic time in Kos, the fates had not forgotten our unusual stroke of luck earlier in the holiday and were about to pay us back – big style!

In the early hours of Friday 21 July Kos and the surrounding area was rudely and terrifyingly awoken by a 6.5 earthquake.

Never having experienced anything like it before it is hard to grasp what on earth is happening. It was pitch black and I had been dreaming that I was being violently shaken by the shoulders.

For the first few seconds it was hard to tell if I was still asleep or not, as I gradually realised that the bed was literally moving from side to side as if we were on a bucking bronco. In the dark I could just make out the room’s ornate chandelier swaying wildly back and forth.

Then the shouts and screams started and that is when I woke the man – by screaming myself! I had until that point always wondered how I would react in a crisis . . now i know that I wail like a girl . . .

After taking a look outside the man prepared to go back to bed, I however was not convinced as our room was almost underground and we didn’t know if it would happen again.

However the decision was taken out of our hands as we stated to hear the hotel staff shouting for everyone to get out of their rooms immediately.

For a while we sat in shock near the pool, gallons of which had slopped out over the poolside lounger area.

In the end we were allowed to go back to our rooms but I refused to sleep there, inside we, and many others, grabbed our duvets and dragged sun loungers to the tennis courts, the most open area of the hotel and away from any buildings that could potentially come crashing down.

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The day after we ventured into Kos town, one of the places worst hit by the earthquake and only ten minutes from our hotel.

Tragically two people died in the town after a nightclub roof collapsed on people.

The damage is all too clear to see. From the huge cracks in the pavements to the harbour side which had actually ripped away from the surrounding walkway.

As we venture further into the old part of the town the damage is even more apparent.

The beautiful mosque that we had visited earlier in the week suffered huge damage with its minaret toppled to the ground.

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The ancient dome where Hippocrates sat to teach his students has also been extensively damaged.

Apparently the damage was actually far less than usually expected for a quake of that size.

The US Geological Survey said it was a very shallow quake – the focus was only six miles (10km) below the seabed – off Marmaris in Muğla province, Turkey.

To put it in context, a smaller, 5.9-magnitude quake in 1999 tragically killed 143 people in Greece.

But even if we got off lightly, seeing the floor literally split open, and feeling the ground beneath your feet buckling and rolling is a horrible feeling.

There were over 100 aftershocks in the following days, even as we were eating a meal the evening after you could feel the rumbling and the earth shifting under your chair.

I was quite glad that we only had one night left as I was wary of going back into the room.

Indeed for several days after, even when safely home, if the man turned over in bed or made any move my heart would start racing as if the movement heralded another quake.