Its Sunday, Domenica and it is clear what happens to the beaches on the weekend. By mid morning the coastline resembles a vast replica of suburban life. Long rows of cars along the roadside and an array of colourful parasols on the beach. Kids bob up and down in the waves whilst dad reads the paper and mum keeps everyone topped up with sunscreen. Thankfully, there are no teen wheels with customised discos in the back, blaring the latest chart topper up and down the beach. Sunday is family day in Sardinia!
After lunch we decide to move on and check out some more coastline. As we turn off the unpaved coast road we spot a sosta with camper services. We are not sure how much but you could stay or just use their service point. Once on the main road it soon became apparent the next section of coast was private. All communal houses and sectioned off with restricted access gates. Needless to say we carried on until we arrived at the next village called Nora, once one of Sardinia’s most powerful cities. Highlights include roman theatre and an ancient baths complex, but parking was a nightmare. The dedicated parking was full to bursting point with not even a space for a postage stamp.
To be fair, we did expect the first week to be busy. It is still holiday season, so hardly surprising everywhere is chockablock. We zipped passed Pula and Chia (with plenty no camper signs) until we ended up back on the desolate and elevated coastal road. The azure blue waters and rocky headlands are very beautiful and it is so tempting to just pull up and park up. However, the coastline is very fragile and you can see it crumbling away, so best to find a safer spot.
All the way to Teulada we searched for a bin but none to be found. In all of our travels we have never struggled to deposit our rubbish but here it is a different kettle of fish. Not even a small communal bin in the main town, how weird. Hopefully we will find one later. Chatting away and Craig spots an opportunity, so we turn off the main road. We wobble and bump around a bit but its worth it. We park up and enjoy an afternoon in our own little secluded bay. Mac n Tosh are delighted with the find and spend their time swimming, surfing and digging up seaweed.
Our Bumble wild camping at Teulada headland GPS position: N038.896863, E008.799302
After a cool shower and a bite to eat, the nights entertainment begins. Sunset, stars, planets and constellations light up the sky. We loose ourselves in an upwards view and the outside world ceases to exists, if just for an evening.
In the morning, we wake surrounded by our coastal garden. A pleasant aroma of salty air mixed with juniper berries. I take Mac n Tosh for a morning stroll, a few miles along the coast and they enjoy sniffing the new variety of bushes. We walk to the next bay were a small beach bar is just setting up stall in readiness for the days trade. Behind the bar, a small car park with a sign nailed to an olive tree ‘no campers’.
We head back and just a few feet from the van when Tosh decides to do a poop. I grab a poop bag from out my pocket and pick it up, as I always do. Before I could even stand up a woman appeared from nowhere and started screaming at me. I have no idea what she was saying but I got the gist of it, she disapproved of the dog poop. With poop bag in hand I politely waved it and said, “sorry, I always pick it up”. Well this god damn woman was like something possessed, screaming at the dogs. Mac n Tosh sat perfectly still with an expression of ‘wtf’. Her racket stirs her husband and he comes scurrying from behind a bush and joins in. Jeez, I have never heard anything like it.
They rant for about 10 minutes and my ears start to ring. What do they expect me to do? The dog has shit, its in a bag and I will put it in a bin. I stay calm and in an attempt to shut them up I say “buongiorno”. Silence! My politeness (or should I say, the only Italian word I could think of) has stunned them.
With all the racket Craig turns up and like me, wonders what the hell the fuss is about. With a 5 second pause before someone presses the play button and hey ho they start again. We both stay calm and eventually, the couple calm down. She mutters to herself, throws her arms in to the air and shoots off in to the sea. Her husband stays and starts to speak a little English. Whilst he never said it, it became clear that the real issue was not the dog poop, it was the fact they wanted the bay all to themselves. They were locals and they made it clear tourists are not welcome in this part of Sardinia.
Over a cup of coffee we tried to work out what just happened. We were in half a mind to stay but with people like that it would just spoil our day. It left a bitter taste. So we packed up, bumbled off and tried to put this mornings event behind us.
The drive to Porto Pino is stunning with wonderful views at every turn and a succession of bays capped by disused towers and turrets. However, our minds were still a bit preoccupied by that grumpy and rude couple. We wanted to now give them a piece of our mind but only once we’ve found a rubbish bin. By the time we reached the parking spot we were wound up and the €14 car park fee with no blinking rubbish bin just made us turn around and leave. Several days of rubbish in the garage, a bit of sunshine and its starting to get pretty smelly…we need a dump, fast!
From the coast at Teulada to Il Salinas there are pockets of military zones. Some of the roads look accessible but then all of a sudden the road is restricted and blocked by heavy armed military trucks. Wonder if they have any bins? Half tempted to ask but after this mornings rant they would probably arrest us for possession of litter. A few miles down the road, on approach to Sant Anna Arresi we spotted a rubbish bin! Brakes on and about turn! A small children’s playground offers fresh water and rubbish bins. We make full use of their services.
On route to Il Salinas we pull up at the marshland and salt flats and enjoy and hour or two watching the flamingos feed and chatter. There white plumage with a fleck of pink is a complete contrast to their underside. In flight the true colours are revealed, the most beautiful vivid pink with a black outline. Amazing.
A few kilometres from the marshland we park up at Il Salinas, a small headland on the edge of lake Botte and near to the town of Giba. Its €10 for 24 hours for a camper with full services, perfect. Craig fancies a day in and around the van, so I take Mac n Tosh to the beach. There are spectacular views over the Gulf of Palmas and endless miniature bays sectioned by drift wood and dried seaweed. To the left, white dunes and pine forests for as far as the eye can see. It really is very unspoilt, untouched and pretty.
Our Bumble paid sosta at Is Salinas headland GPS position: N039.025254, E008.578115
I spend the afternoon watching Mac n Tosh play in the sand and chatting to the odd passer by. I am informed the locals refer to the island as Sardi rather than Sardinia and they do not like to be classed as Italian. Interesting. They hate rubbish with a passion and feel very mixed about opening up the island to tourists especially in the South. Half the people are friendly but the other half, well, not so friendly. A complete contrast to mainland Italy.