Windswept grass, salty bushes and vistas over the endless ocean followed us out of Villasimius , until the road started climbing inland and upwards , getting windier with every hairpin turn into the towering mountains .The air grew colder and fresher and the colours changed from blue to green ,yellow and red. We were entering the impenetrable Sardinian mountains that held the Sards safe from violent intruders in it’s thick forest for millenias ,full of wild boar, deer and other endemic animals . On our left , vistas opened up toward more mountains inland and Europe’s largest canyon cut a swath among the towering rock. Still the road climbed upward , with so many turns it made my head spin. Time went on and on and the difficult road made the trip last hours more than the distance conveyed on the map . Still, it was an incredibly beautiful journey and it truly made me want to drive into those forests inland , but sadly there was not enough time this time around.
We came to the turn off to Cala Gonone and the road descended downward steeply until we came upon the small town wedged between sea and rock , all alone in the pines.
There is so much quiet joy in this little place and to me it seemed it had to do mostly with the spirit of the community.Walking through at night I saw old men gathered in a square for a glass of wine before their wives called out to them to get back for dinner , children and adults gathered in a little amphitheatre at midnight dancing to funny choreographies , laughing and having fun. We stayed at the perfect Hotel Cala Luna , a small but charming hotel on the waterfront with great views and bougainvillea climbing up the walls.
Certainly, the best thing about this area is the beaches stretching southward , only reachable by boat. Cala Sisine, Cala Luna, Cala Mariolu and the rest are the beaches that grace all those impossibly gorgeous postcards that have come to define Sardinia in many imaginings.
Down in the port we rented a boat from one of the kiosks, no licence required. Having bought some food at the supermarket, Sardinian pecorino, prosciutto and thin music sheet bread, (a Sardinian speciality), we hopped in our little runabout and were off. It was exhilarating driving fast , past caves and beaches, sea spraying everywhere, flying fish at the bow. We pulled into any beach we liked, parked our boat and lounged reading books and eating our picnic, all around us crystal ocean and the smell of salt and evergreen..A prefect day in paradise!
NEXT STOP: PORTO CERVO