Living in Queensland, Australia we are truly spoilt and blessed with great weather and amazing beaches. After a very long winter and a rather slow-burning summer, we were on a mission to squeeze out as much as we could from our first Northern Hemisphere summer.
As soon as we moved to London, our friends from Frankfurt had recommended that we visit Sardinia before we return to Australia. Since it came highly recommended, we wasted no time and booked for this trip to Sardinia months in advance to ensure it was going to happen.
We flew into Alghero, picked up the car from the airport and made our way to our Airbnb apartment in the Alghero Old Town. I had heard from my workmates that driving in Italy is an experience in itself. Throw in me driving on the
wrong other side of the road and you have a nervous wreck behind the wheel, getting navigated by a very alert tourist. A few arguments discussions may have been had on our way to the apartment.
Once we got to the apartment, we were greeted by a very friendly host who advised that the area we are staying in is pedestrian only so we couldn’t take the car to our door. So a quick summary of the logistics:
- If you’re visiting Sardinia (Alghero or any other part) you definitely need a rental car to make the most of your stay. The Old Town is beautiful but that’s not what you’re there for, you’ll find out why further down.
- If you can, try and get an apartment that has a carpark. When we went, there was a Beerfest going on and finding a carpark was a nightmare! Carpark is free between certain hours, like 18.00 – 10.00 but finding one can take hours. One of the nights, we spent at least 3 hours looking for a carpark. As frustrating as it was, we would still hire a car if we ever went back.
- Costa Smeralda (The Emerald Coast) is not near Alghero, you have to fly into Olbia. In saying that, Costa Smeralda might be beautiful (we don’t know because we never made it there), there is plenty to see and do around Alghero.
Now that the logistics are out of the way, I would like to start by saying that Sardinia is possibly the most beautiful (natural beauty) place we have been to in Europe (overall it is still Queenstown, NZ). The reason why we enjoyed Sardinia so much is because of how nice and accommodating people were. While a tourist town, it is an Italian tourist destination so for majority of the time we were possibly the only non-Italians there (that we knew of). People often mistook me for Spanish and will start talking to me in their broken Spanish as soon as I start up a conversation. This also means that when you go into Lidl looking for still bottled water and accidentally buy 6 sparkling water bottles, the teenage checkout girl will give you attitude from hell but you (me) put your diva on and get her to exchange it.
With the majority of nice people willing to help, throw in miles of white sand beaches, crystal blue water and fresh seafood, you have a paradise on earth. Living in Australia I have seen nice beaches, but have never seen the powdery white sand stretched out as far as your eye can take you. As you can tell, I am truly a fan, but I shall do my best to sum up some key points of interest:
- Even though the lure of crystal blue water is hard to resist, make sure you spend some time exploring the Alghero Old Town, half a day is plenty.
- Make sure you have plenty of water and sunscreen. If you haven’t noticed, we are fairly lucky to have dark skin but we both peeled after so much fun in the sun. As painful as that was, I’ll do it all over again.
- When in Alghero, there are plenty of beaches, but one not to be missed is called Le Pelosa. I am not going to write anything about it, I’ll let the pictures do the talking for me.
- Do try the Spaghetti alle vongole anywhere in Italy, but we had the best one here in Sardinia due to the freshness of the clams.
After coming back from Sardinia, our obsession with the outdoor continued with a trip to Brighton. As soon as we got to the town the first impression was how chav everyone around us was, but Brighton placed its best foot forward with clear blue skies and our first experience of pebble beach, which is surprisingly comfortable to lie on and no sandy after-mess.
The weekend after Brighton we hired a car with a couple of friends and went to the Lake District. It’s a 5+ hours’ drive from London but once you get there, you are amazed at the beauty and serenity of the place. I still can’t believe placed like the Lake District exist within England. On our way back from Lake District, we took a quick lunch (curry) stop in Birmingham. The curry was great but you don’t need to make a special trip to Birmingham for a good spicy grub. London has its fair share of amazing curry houses.
The weekend following was much closer to home (literally walking distance). We joined forces with Dan and Matt again (from our Oslo trip) and decided that we are going to do the Bermondsey Beer Mile. Even if you have never heard of it, you surely have seen or drunk one of the many craft beers brewed within the 1.5 mile stretch. We started off at Kernel Brewery and only halfway through were too drunk to continue, but still intend on continuing it one day.
August was truly about stretching the last few days of summer and immersing ourselves in everything that summer had to offer. So in between all the above madness, there was a good measure of immersive theatre thrown in as well:
- Tim Burton-esque Alice’s Adventures Underground at the London Vaults. You walk in together but depending on the suit of the card you pull, you get separated and put into different “teams”. It was good fun but I later realised that the content of the show was not the same. So what I watched/experienced was somewhat different from what Gee saw. As you know, I don’t like missing out, nuff said.
- Then there was Heartbreak Hotel at The Jetty. Awesome school night out. Starts at 19.00 and you are on your way by 20.30 after a few extremely cheap drinks and something to ponder on.
- Finally, if someone offered you the opportunity to “cook up” your own cocktails inside an Albuquerque, New Mexico themed RV parked on a barren land somewhere in Hackney Wick, how could you say no Bitch!? We didn’t either and had a hoot!