Monday, April 29, 2013

Sun-tanning and Seafood Eating in Sardinia

My cousin, Rebecca, has been spending her junior year of high school in Viterbo, a small town about an hour and half from Rome. She came to visit me for a few days at the end of March and this weekend we met in Alghero, Sardinia! Sardinia is the other big island off the west coast of Italy above Sicily. I read that Sardinia had the most beautiful beaches in Italy. Unfortunately, april showers struck, and we only had one beach-going-weather day. Despite the bad weather, Alghero was beautiful and this weekend has made me want to come back and discover more of Sardinia.

We arrived Thursday evening (I flew, but it is possible to take a boat from someplace like Genova). It was cloudy, but still warm and plenty humid. Rebecca and I walked into the center of town along Via Lido which overlooks the beach. We ate dinner outside at a restaurant on one of the main shopping streets, Via Carlo Alberto. I had to try one of the most famous dishes of Sardinia: Spaghetti ai Ricci. The waiter looked at me funny when I ordered it and said, "You know ricci is Sea Urchin?" And I said, "Si!" So yes, I ate spaghetti with the red goo of a sea urchin. And it was pretty delicious. Of course we ate gelato for dessert and walked back to our hostel as it started to drizzle.

Friday was beautifully sunny and we wore shorts! Alghero is famous for Neptune's grotto, a stalactite cave. We took a boat which took 30 minutes and cost 15 euros. You can also get there by bus which is 4.50 round trip. The trick is that if you take the bus you have to walk up and down 600 plus stairs. Once we arrived, we kind of wished we had taken the stairs, but the boat ride was really nice. To get into the caves you have to pay 13 euros. So it was an expensive journey, but I'd say it was worth it, probably more adventurous and money better spent if you take the bus, too.

We had planned to rent bikes so we could visit a beach a bit farther from our hostel, but all the bike rental places closed around noon. So we brought our towels out to the beach right in front of our hostel. As soon as we laid down, the wind picked up and soon we were dusted in sand. After about an hour trying not to eat sand, we decided to rent beach chairs for 3 euros each. An hour after that the rain clouds came out. Still, the time we had was sunny and lovely.

When we went back to our hostel, I found out that a 10 page research essay that I thought was due next week was actually due this Monday. So I freaked out for a bit and I freaked out about the rain that was coming, but I decided to forget it and go out to dinner in sandals and a summer dress to spite the weather. We found a delicious place to eat and I ordered pesto pasta with mussels, which is something I would never have done a month ago, but after eating mussels in cuisine class and realizing they weren't as disgusting as I remember them, I decided to give them a chance. The dish was really nice, and the meal was made even better with the tiramisu and friendly service. It was raining when we walked back, but I didn't even care.

Saturday began with drizzle, which disappeared into sun, and turned back into drizzle. We walked more of the old city center and visited the Coral Museum. It was very small but included interesting information about the biology and history of coral (Sardinia is known for its Coral production) and had many pretty rocks and gemstones on display. If you are deciding between spending time at the beach and visiting the coral museum, obviously pick the beach, but if its a rainy day, the museum is a nice option.

After a last lovely dinner of seafood, we watched the Goonies, one of my favorite movies of all time, and life was great.

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