Although we had enjoyed two fine days in Sardinia we were keeping a careful watch of the weather forecast because all of the indications were that things were going to change for the worse quite soon.
This didn’t especially concern us that much this morning however when we checked out of the Riviera Hotel in Castelsardo because although there was a scattering of high cloud the sky was mostly blue and it looked even clearer away to the west where we were happily now heading.
After driving out of the town the landscape started to change very quickly, there were no more mountains, no more sculptured rocks, no mountain goats and no more hillside villages. Instead we drove in almost a straight line along a road at the back of the coast and the beach and we made good progress. Rather than green hills there were dusty plains, fields that had done their job for the year and had now taken on the mantle of autumn – beige, khaki, olive, the colours of modern army uniforms.
There were no longer wild roadside shrubs as these were replaced now with an avenue of pink oleander with branches that strayed into the road that could make a nasty scratch in the car paintwork if you drifted too close so I stayed as near to the middle as I dared being forever mindful of car hire insurance scams.
Eventually we reached Porto Torres and any ideas that we might have had of stopping off there for a few minutes were quickly extinguished for this is a busy industrialised port, home to the chemical industries and oil refineries and although I am prepared to concede that the city centre might have its attractions the unattractive ring road around the south did nothing to persuade us that we should give it a chance.
Past Porto Torres we drove through acres and acres of solar energy panels and then wind farms and I was beginning to wonder if we were doing the right thing going to Stintino. One good thing however that we were always driving towards clear skies even though we were being relentlessly pursued by grey cloud behind.
By the time that we had found the hotel and checked in the cloud had caught us up and steadily it spread like a contagion across the sky and was blotting out the sun like an impending Biblical calamity so we walked for a while to the modern port full of swanky yachts, had a drink by the side of the water and kept a close eye on the weather. Blue and grey battled it above us like American civil war armies but it was becoming increasingly windy and it was obvious who would be the eventual winner of this particular skirmish.
The wind was teasing the water now and sending waves crashing over the side of the port walls and it was getting close enough to reach us with sea spray so we left and walked around the second, older and more protected port until we found a pizzeria where we stopped for lunch but where famous Sardinian hospitality was sadly lacking and the mood of the staff matched the weather outside and afterwards we walked back to the hotel and sulked in our rooms for an hour or so.
Close to Stintino is Le Pelosa beach which it is claimed is the finest on the island and so good that it regularly gets included in top ten lists of Europe’s finest so after we had come to terms with the weather and the disappointing news that it was likely to stay like this for the next couple of days or so we made our way there to take a look. It was hopeless for swimming today of course but it was perfect for wind surfers and beach kite bikes so we found a suitable spectator position, a bar, and watched the activity.
No matter how hard we tried to convince ourselves there was no hiding from the fact that the weather was getting worse, the sky had a few solitary patches of blue further to the north but overhead it was turning through lavender to grey to purple to black and all the while the wind was getting stronger and sending waves crashing into the walls of the port with ever-increasing power rather like Thor on a drinking night out with his hammer.
From the shelter of the bar it was all quite good fun watching these high waves and churning sea as the wind clawed at the rigging of the boats and rearranged the furniture on the bar terrace but what we didn’t know was that right now the Sardinian government in an emergency meeting in Cagliari had issued a yellow weather warning (serious) in anticipation of it getting a whole lot worse.
We had chosen to stay in Stintino to break up the travel and for a couple of leisurely days on the beach and some time around the swimming pools but it was becoming increasingly obvious that we may have to change our plans for the day ahead.
Later we walked into the village and had a pleasant meal in a traditional restaurant and we were lucky to get back without getting drenched because not long after arrival heavy rains arrived and they continued all night long. Some time while we were sleeping the government escalated the weather warning to orange alert (very serious) and had ordered schools and government offices to stay closed the following day!
The rain crashed down all night!
Have you ever had travel plans disrupted by the weather?