We woke and I checked the weather. It was glorious once again and the sky was a never-ending blue. We had a very adequate breakfast and I made acquaintances with a gay couple who gave me some advice on where to go and what to see. The informative taxi driver had told us about a street market that was in town every Wednesday so after breakfast we went to find it.
It was really impressive. There were lots of clothes stalls and some selling domestic items that didn’t interest us especially but we did like the food stalls, especially the vegetables and the cheese. Once again the choice of top quality produce was truly amazing and I always compare this with the paucity of offerings back home. Shoppers were buying olives by the kilo, presumably to take home and press, and the range and quality of the produce was staggering. If only crops like these were available in the United Kingdom, I am certain that we would all be healthier. We enjoyed some free samples from the two dairy stalls where competition seemed about to boil over into violence between two cheesed-off vendors who were struggling for customers and then we left to walk the coastline to the next village. On the way out of the market we came across the fittest looking beggar that we have ever seen and we admired his cheek in setting up position in the middle of all of the activity but we were pleased to see that his begging cap was empty.
We walked along the beach with the intention of reaching the nearby village of Fertilia, which looking out over the bay from Alghero appeared to be picturesque and inviting. To get there we passed through a pine wood and onto the beautiful sandy beaches and although the weather was becoming cloudier we enjoyed a pleasant walk along the beach to the village. On the way we passed a naturist who was burning his private parts in the sun and we passed by trying to appear disinterested.
What a disappointment the next village was. It was dull and uninviting and it didn’t help that most of it was closed. There were no restaurants open and we could only find one dreary old fashioned bar where we stopped for a quick drink with the October flies before setting off back to Alghero. The only thing of note was a thirteen arch roman bridge at an ancient site just outside the village and that was in ruins.
Retracing our steps back along the beach the day got cooler as the clouds raced over and we worried that maybe this was the end of the good weather. We stopped at a beach bar and had a drink but didn’t need lunch because of our large breakfast so we walked back and bought supplies from a different supermarket that we were impressed to see had a bar in the entrance hall, I think Tesco should do that.
We needn’t have been pessimistic because after a short while the sun came out again so we changed appropriately and went to the beach. About two hundred metres out to sea was a reef of rocks that was home to a flock of Cormorants and Kim challenged me to swim there. Later she became convinced that it was more than two hundred metres but truthfully it wasn’t. Two hundred metres doesn’t sound very far I agree, but swimming there was more of a challenge than I had imagined. As we got further from the shore the sea swell became more difficult to negotiate but what was most perturbing was that the closer we got the birds seemed to get much bigger until they looked positively huge. After swimming Cormorants stand and dry off and extend their metre wide wingspan to the full and they began to look very intimidating.
I was prepared to go on of course but with about thirty meters to go Kim panicked, renamed the reef Pterodactyl Island, on account of the size of the birds and persuaded me to return to shore. What could I do? I wanted to go on and introduce myself to the cormorants but felt obliged to accompany her back to dry land. The short swim back was more difficult than getting out there and I had to agree that we had made the right decision. Those birds were large.
After sunbathing on the beach we went back to the hotel and Kim got a little inebriated on red wine on the balcony. It was a really nice hotel, less than a year old and very well designed so that although it was set back from the beach every room enjoyed a westerly facing room out to the sea. This was good because we caught the late afternoon sun and it was relaxing to sit and enjoy early Autumn sunshine.
In the evening it was back into Alghero for dinner. Last night’s restaurant was closed but others were now open and we worked it out that because it was out of season they were operating a cooperative roster system and we thought that was clever. After a while we found an inviting restaurant with outside tables that overlooked the sea from the battlements and we had a very good meal that included a fish medley and a bottle of inexpensive wine. We chatted to a couple at the next table who were from Canada. She was as skinny as stick insect and hardly touched her main course but instead asked for it to be wrapped so that she could take it away. I have no idea what she was going to do with it; they were staying in a posh hotel in town. We ate all of ours and drank all of the wine and then we walked back and had an early night.
Other Market stories: