Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Alghero: Day 3 Kayaking and Amazing Focaccia

Just south of Alghero.

  Day three arrived in Sardegna, and it was time to get active. Linda and I had talked for two days about renting bikes, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and so on, but we had nothing to show for it.

  Our morning went just as it had the previous two days: breakfast at Hotel dei Pini, and then coffee on the beach. A nice, relaxing way to start the day off, and a great place to game plan for the day.

  The weather was a bit cloudier than it had been, so we thought kayaking would be perfect. With a light cloud cover, we wouldn't roast in the warm sun, and it wouldn't be too hot to sit out on the water for a couple hours. The waters were calm, so it seemed to be perfect conditions for hanging out, kayaking, in Alghero Bay.

  We found two hours of kayaking for 20 Euros at a place called Ocean Tribe. So we headed towards Alghero to start our adventure on the water. Once we got our 'sea-legs' (I was sure I'd get flipped into the water at some point -- I'm not the most graceful thing on the water), and figured out how to paddle in sync, Linda and I had a good time seeing the sights from the other side of the water. We saw a school of jumping teeny-tiny fish (sardines, in Sardinia maybe???), but nothing else too Earth-shattering.

The boats sporting red flags outside our hotel.
  One interesting thing we did come across were two seemingly remote controlled boats, out in the middle of the bay. They had red flags above them and moved in tandem. Linda and I had no idea what they were (though a CIA spy bot did cross my mind), so we quickly paddled in the opposite direction.

  The following day, we actually saw the same boats in front of the beach at our hotel. Only that time, a diver surfaced on occasion. I suppose he was collecting some kind of data, but thought it was interesting that he was so far out in the bay when we saw him from our kayak.

  Ocean Tribe also had stand up paddle boards for rent, which I contemplated giving a whirl. I have seen paddle boards non-stop the past few years: on Lake Oswego, all year on the beach in Dunkerque, and here was my opportunity to give it a try. But I was in such a good mood, and knew the first couple tries at paddle boarding would probably result in me spending more time in the water, than on the water, so I passed. Maybe I'll try it out this summer while I am home!

Another beautiful day!
  Linda and I had worked up quite an appetite paddling our kayak around Alghero Bay, and it was well-past the lunch hour, so we were starving! I had gotten a recommendation for a good lunch spot that I had been wanting to try out called Bar Milese, which specialized in focaccia sandwiches.

  When we were turned our kayak back in at Ocean Tribe, we asked if they knew Bar Milese. They knew right where it was; always a good sign!

  We found the focacceria, located right in the harbor, and it was jam packed. And it didn't seem to be packed with tourists -- even better! We managed to grab a table outside, and ordered. I tried the Melanzane (eggplant) focaccia, and it was to die for: garlicky goodness. In my opinion, the only way to have eggplant is with a heavy dose of garlic.

  We even spotted one of ladies that worked the front desk at our hotel at Bar Milese. If the locals frequent it, you know you're in the right spot! Linda and I promised to go back the next day for another focaccia sandwich.

  Before we ventured back to Hotel dei Pini, we stopped in for a quick gelato on the go. This stop provided us with one of the funnier moments of our trip. As I mentioned before, while I'm not fluent in Italian, I do understand a quite a bit. After we ordered, and went to pay, the woman who scooped our gelato hollered at the man taking our money at the register: and for the 'ragazze piccole' (little girls)...or not so little girls since Linda and I both stand over six feet tall.

  I burst out laughing, and went on to enjoy my gelato. What people will say about you when they think you don't understand!

Where the wild things are?
  After lunch and gelato, I hit back roads again for an afternoon run. Only this time I was solo. About five minutes into running, I started thinking (too much) about all those critters and animals that were surely out there. And for the first time ever, I ran with a rock in my hand. Though, I'm not exactly sure what a rock would do, but it was better than nothing, I suppose! I managed to have a nice run, and avoided any unfortunate encounters with any wild critters.

  Since it was our last night in Sardegna, we wanted to find a great place to have dinner. Linda wanted to find some fresh seafood, and I wanted to try some of the local fare (not much of a seafood eater). After researching some places online, we headed back to Alghero with a list of potential restaurants.

There's Capo Caccia again.
  Before dinner though, Linda and I wanted to see what the coast was like south of Alghero. So we decided to drive for a bit, and see what sights were on the other side of the city: beautiful countryside, rolling hills, and surprise, surprise, more gorgeous views of the sea.

  You could look back into Alghero, and also see across onto Capo Caccia. Again, it was nice to see the island from a little different perspective!

  For dinner, we chose La Botteghina. It seemed like a fairly new restaurant, or at least, a newly remodeled space. It had a small dining area, but a nice atmosphere, and great food. Linda found her seafood, and I tried the gnocchetti (pictures below). I also tried the local digestivo Mirto (at the urging of the hostess), and introduced Linda to Limoncello. Sorry to those who enjoy Mirto, but I think I prefer Limoncello.

  Our time on Sardegna sadly, was winding down. With only one more day to go on the beautiful island, we wanted to make the most of it! Our final day in Alghero, coming soon!


The views south of Alghero.
Linda finally got her seafood!
Gnocchetti with Pane Carasau. Two specialties of Sardegna.


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