There’s nothing better than a straight forward arrival in a new destination, but it doesn’t make for a story does it? We were relieved upon arrival in Alghero that the rental car company had kindly forgotten about a GPS system for our navigation around Sardinia’s winding and sign posted(?) roads – similar relief was felt when they handed us not a map of the country, but just a city map to get us out of Alghero (on which we got another local to actually draw the route we needed to take). A story was developing. Grappling with being on the wrong side of the road for the first time and fumbling at the door handle, when I thought I was reaching out for the gear stick, we made our way into Alghero to head south on the coastal road. Alghero itself was a great looking city, so we were happy that it would be the place we would spend our final two nights. Getting through Alghero and onto Bosa was another matter, one-way roads in the middle of the town and a couple of tired heads meant we took 4 scenic laps around the inner city before finally getting out onto the coastal road. From there it became straightforward, drive until we hit Bosa, keep eyes on the road and not straying out over the amazing coastline that Sardinia was already serving up.
Bosa, a town of 8,000 Sardinians, (map here) pulsing with the personality and culture of many more. A few challenges finding our accommodation B&B De Anna without a map; the tried and tested tactic of running around the streets asking a few locals in my best Italian accent if they new where Via Mocci was, eventually resulted in us arriving at Anna’s quiet and well kept terrace house. A smiling greeting from Anna made the challenges of driving fade away and we were already feeling the warmth of Sardinian hospitality, the fresh coffee helped to bring back the memories from our time in Italy a year ago. Spending the rest of the day soaking up Bosa’s atmosphere was the plan, this included our first big Italian meal – olive oil and bread was served up first (still can’t beat that stuff), followed by four large soft pieces of ravioli for me and a whole baked fish with pomodoro (tomatoes) for Cel, all washed down with the local Sardinian wine (served out of a ceramic carafe). The town of Bosa is split down the centre by a small river which local fishermen use as their channel out into the Mediterranean, mooring their small, hand crafted fishing boats on the sides of the river when not in use – certainly makes for some pretty iconic Italian photos! The buildings that line the river are, as you would expect, colourful, yet worn by day after day of the Sardinian sun. Using the rivers pedestrian bridge, we headed across to the far side of the river, where we found the local supermarket. We love our Italian supermarkets, they’re overflowing with all the best flavours that you strive to find in UK or NZ markets. So there were no surprises that we went overboard, stocking up on the best cheeses (pecorino and brie), layers of Italian meat (salami, parma ham and coppa), Sardinian olive oil, the cheapest and best red wine (Montepulciano and Torbato), a few cans of local beer (Ichnusa) and of course some chocolate in case of a craving. The day eased itself into the night, we were feeling the effects of an early start so grabbed a quick meal out and headed for an early night in.
An Italian breakfast of breads, cured meats and cheese set me off on the right foot, while Cel and her, at this stage, gluten free intentions opted for the g-free cereal we’d bought over with us from London. Then of course the espresso kicked in and we were quickly off to blast up the hill to Castello Malaspina (Castle). The castle sits at the top of a hill looking down over Bosa, with views out to the ocean and all the way up into the farms of olives trees and grapes. It was built in 1112 by a wealthy Tuscan family, it’s certainly feeling the effects of time – explaining why the authorities are spending time and money securing some of the key structures. The views from the castle are the best in Bosa by far and a great spot for a few shameless self-taken pictures, we’re getting pretty good at it! The old town itself ambles up the hill to the castle, so it was our route down and it was screaming out Italy – brightly coloured buildings, plants hanging out by front doors and the odd Italian yelling something out to someone in another building. After 5 minutes walk, we were back in on the main street and quickly came to realise that Friday was ‘stop work at 10:30 am and smash back a few beers’ day, it seemed like every 5th building had been converted into a gentleman’s bar where the general objective was to drink, play cards and talk louder than the guy sitting next to you – unique stuff!
After the mornings activities, we decide that a relaxing afternoon is in order. We pack the car and pick up some fresh ingredients for lunch and head out to Bosa Marina, a big breakwater that helps the ships to come in, but also forms a beautiful sheltered bay with amazingly clear water. We eat lunch sitting on top of the breakwater, watching an enormous crane drop huge boulders off a barge onto another breakwater that is being built – sounds boring but was actually quite interesting. The beach calls, so we kick of the jandals and walk down to the water front, lay out the towels and begin to soak up the 28 degree sun. Every 30 mins or so we hit the water for a swim in the crystal clear water, a pretty easy way to spend the afternoon. We cap it off with a drink at a beach shack bar looking out over the ocean.
That night Cel decides to break the gluten free diet, in pretty spectacular style – we order a half meter of pizza from the best pizzeria in town, and it’s huge! Needless to say, Cel loved every bite of it, we didn’t quite make our way through the whole thing but the leftovers went down well the next day for lunch. After checking out of B&B De Anna the next morning, we headed into town for Gelato (Celina’s request) and then back out to the beach for more sunshine, swimming and picnic time, by this stage we were really starting to feel relaxed – hard not to really. Our final night in the Bosa area was spent and Pessingette Agriturismo, a large villa set in a farm of olive trees and vines, with the owners working the land and hosting guests each day / night. It was still close to Bosa, so we were able to head back into town for a great dinner at Verde Fiume (a recommendation from Anna) where Celina, of course, decided that the gluten diet was broken so why not just carry on a good thing – can’t really argue with that can I! My wild pork ragu was awesome and Cel simply revelled in the process of eating fresh pasta. A great end to our 3 days in Bosa, it certainly lived up to it’s name of being a quiet town with lot’s of character and great food. We set off the next day with instructions from the Pessighette owner, Claudia, to take us through the more mountainous route to get to Oristano.