Thursday, May 31, 2012

From Alghero to Barcelona

Last day to enjoy that beautiful view!!

  Day four, sadly, was our last in Sardegna. Linda and I would be moving onward to Barcelona, a city I had had my eye on for several years, that evening. Even though I desperately wanted to visit Barcelona, I had thoughts of ditching the Spanish city, and staying in Alghero a few days longer.

  Sardegna had been prefect. And there was still so much to be seen on the island (and so many more hours relaxing on the beach!). But we stuck to our itinerary, and would be getting on an airplane back to mainland Europe that night.

  In a perfect world, we would have visited Barcelona first. Done the sight-seeing, the walking, the 'touristy' things, exhausted ourselves, and THEN gone to Sardegna for some R&R. But the schedules just didn't work out that way (when Ryan Air has flights for 7 euros, you kind of have to go when they say to go)! So we had to bite the bullet, and leave paradise when we really didn't want to (but then again, when do you EVER want to leave paradise?).

  We wanted to soak up every last second on the beach our last day, so we stayed out extra-long for our after-breakfast coffee on the sand. And even though we had to check out at noon, we planned to hang at the hotel a while after that, playing in the water, and relaxing on the beach.

Linda and our delicious focaccias from Bar Milese.
  We didn't have to be at the airport until almost 6pm. So our plan was to have lunch at Bar Milese again (the focaccia was too good NOT to have it one more time!), and then spend some time in Alghero, shopping, and seeing the old city sights: the ancient city walls, the harbor, and the scenic narrow streets.

  The weather that day was the warmest we'd had. Roughly 80 degrees, and you could really feel the difference. Both in the air, and in the atmosphere. Everyone was out on the water, or at the beach.

  In fact, when we ventured into Alghero for our focaccias, followed by an afternoon of souvenir shopping, we found nearly every store closed. And it was a Thursday! I chalked it up to the first really warm day of the season. So everyone closed up shop, and headed for the water. But I could have been wrong.

  None the less, I found a few things to take with me from beautiful Sardegna. With the stores closed we had nothing but the streets to walk and the old city to see.

Sardegna, Italy, and Alghero flags.
  Because of its location on the Mediterranean Sea, Alghero was a fortified port dating back to the 1100s. In the 1300s, Alghero was taken by the Catalan colonists, explaining why you see such a strong Catalan influence in the city.

  We walked around the harbor and the city walls, and enjoyed the last views of Alghero (for the time being, anyways!).

  I hope to visit Sardegna again soon, revisit some of the beautiful sights we already saw, and see even more of the island: Costa Smeralda, Stintino, and any other place that is suggested!

  I can't stress enough how perfect a May visit was -- few tourists, and beautiful weather. I can imagine August on the island gets a little dicey. All of Europe goes on vacation in August, and I'm willing to bet many of them have Sardegna circled as a potential destination.

  I recommend Sardegna 1000 times over. It is, without a doubt, a hidden gem. For those of you in the US, if you get to Europe, make the extra effort and visit Sardegna. You will not be disappointed. And if you're already in Europe, what are you waiting for?!? Get to Sardegna!
Me at the Alghero Harbor.
  But onward to Barcelona! As sad as I was to leave Sardegna, I was excited to finally get to see Barcelona. I had heard so much about it over the years, from friends who had been lucky enough to  visit. Many said Barcelona was their favorite European city. So how could I not be excited?

  By nightfall, we were in the hustle and bustle of the Barcelona city center. While it was merely 400 miles across the sea, Alghero couldn't have felt further away. Linda and I were in Barcelona, but it's safe to say our minds were still on the beach at Hotel dei Pini.

  Ci vediamo presto Sardegna ...  see you soon (I hope)!


From Hotel dei Pini
There's Capo Caccia again. From Alghero.
From the old city walls.
Alghero Harbor.
Linda at the Alghero Harbor.
Alghero Harbor.


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