Tag Archives: Stintino

Thursday Doors – Sardinia

Sardinia Door Church

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

 

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Sardinia – More Doors and Windows

Sardinia Door ChurchCastelsardo Sardinia DoorSardinia Worn DoorSardinia Window

More doors…

Doors of Catalonia 1

Doors of Catalonia 2

Doors of Catalonia 3

Doors of Catalonia 4

Doors of Dublin

Doors of Northern France

Doors of Portugal

Doors of Siguenza, Spain

Sardinia, Doors and Windows

Sardinia DoorSardinia windowOlbia SardiniaAlghero Sardinia

More Doors…

Doors and Windows of 2015

Sardinia – Doors and Windows

Brittany – Doors and Windows

Blue Doors of Essaouira

Doors of Catalonia 1

Doors of Catalonia 2

Doors of Catalonia 3

Doors of Catalonia 4

Doors of Dublin

Doors of Northern France

Doors of Portugal

Doors of Siguenza, Spain

Sardinia, A Ghost Town and a Cyclone

Argentaria Sardinia

It was grey in the morning. Very grey. Very grey indeed. So there was no reason to stay long in Stintino and instead of hanging around for the day as we had originally planned we set off immediately on the next stage of our journey to Alghero.

In view of the weather there really wasn’t much point in going directly to Alghero either so we studied the map and identified a couple of places on route that might be worth taking a look at on the way.

Under steel grey skies, the colour of battleships, we drove south until we took the turn for the village of Argentiera and headed towards the coast and took a soaring, sweeping road  that reached as high as the lowest cloud that finished at a dead-end at the abandoned works of an old silver mine because Argentiera is one of Italy’s estimated twenty thousand ghost towns and villages.

There are several reasons why Italy has so many abandoned villages, such  as harsh living conditions often without modern amenities and services, natural calamities such as landslides, earthquakes and floods and massive emigration flows triggered by the appeal of a better life in larger cities or overseas. Argenteria became a ghost town when its mining industry collapsed and closed for good in 1963, now just a handful of people live there solely to run a couple of bars for the tourists that occasionally drop by.

Argenteria Ghost Town Sardinia

From the hills we dropped down into the town and drove through the neglected and pot-holed village piazza with a solitary defiant palm tree in the centre, along damaged roads next to bricked up houses and through the rotting, crumbling corpse of the old mine works.  In the fifty years since closure roofs have collapsed, timbers have split and splintered, windows have disappeared and metal has rusted and flaked away.

They say the village is haunted of course by all the miners who lost their lives in the harsh and dangerous conditions in which they worked tackling a seam of silver seventy metres beneath the ground and with shafts extending under the sea and the stories are embellished now by the creaking timbers and the cracking stones which contribute an eerie ambiance to the place.

The sky wasn’t grey any more, it was chalky white and the rain had slowed to a light drizzle so, living dangerously, we parked next to a collapsing cliff face and walked across the shingle beach to a small bar tucked in one sheltered corner and on a day such as this the young girl working there alone seemed pleased to see us and have some temporary company.  It was a curious place and it felt almost surreal sitting under cloudy skies, on a beach, drinking coffee in a completely abandoned village.

We left shortly after that and made our way next to Capo Caccia a few miles further south.  Capo Cacchia is an imposing limestone promontory about three hundred metres high and with good views in all directions.  There are some underground caves to visit but on account of the weather almost everyone else in the area had abandoned the beaches for the day and were looking for alternative entertainment and had chosen to come here instead.

Parking was a nightmare and we were forced to leave the car in a precarious position on the bend of a narrow road under a crumbling limestone cliff which was clearly regularly shedding lumps of rock and I naturally worried about that.  We might have visited the underground grotto but to get there meant negotiating six hundred and fifty  slippery and crowded steps so we collectively decided against it.

This is what it would have looked like…

Neptune's Grotto Alghero Sardinia

Much like any other underground grotto then!

Secretly, I was glad about that decision and the opportunity to move the car and now we drove directly to Alghero and our seafront hotel where there was a lobby area full of damp and miserable people.

It wasn’t raining when we stepped out of the main door and began the one mile walk to the city centre but some people had been paying closer attention to the weather forecast than we had and all along the route we were pestered by lookie-lookie men who saw this as an opportunity to shift their stock of cheap umbrellas.  At some point during the morning the weather warning had turned to red (very serious indeed) a full emergency, apparently Sardinia was due to be hit by a cyclone sometime later in the day.

Yes, that’s right, a cyclone, a holidaymakers nightmare but a bloggers dream!

To be honest it was really quite miserable and the temperature was steadily dropping  and then as we sat at a street side bar it started to rain, only steadily at first but then it began to get heavier and we had to make a dash back to the hotel.

We were still unaware of the impending weather disaster when we went out for evening meal but luckily we only went across the road from the hotel because part way through the meal the storm out to the west hit land and brought with it howling gales, rain of truly biblical proportions and an electrical storm that created an entertaining light show over the hills of the interior.

The rain thrashed down, water flowed down the street and collected in puddles as big as glacial lakes, the angry sea thrashed itself into frothing foam like a good cappuccino and attacked the beach, the wind tugged at the plastic blinds of the restaurant and threatened to tear them permanently away from the metal frames, the lightning filled the sky and the thunder drowned out our conversation.  Any thoughts of leaving the restaurant to go back to the hotel were pointless because we would have been soaked through in seconds.

We ordered more beer!

The restaurant staff told us that this was a Mediterranean cyclone and they are apparently quite rare as there have only been one hundred reported cyclones in seventy-five years.  The bad weather was likely to last for a day or two and everyone was quite disappointed by that.  I tried to cheer them up by suggesting that we were really very lucky because seeing a Mediterranean cyclone it seems is even rarer than seeing the Northern Lights and we had once travelled all the way to Iceland to see those.

My travelling companions however were not convinced.

Have you ever been caught in very, very bad weather?

Alghero Sardinia

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Other Cave Stories:

Drogarati Cave and Blue Lagoon, Kephalonia

Cueva del Aguila, Spain

Altimira Caves, Spain

Blue Lagoon, Capri

Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine

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Sardinia, Castelsardo to Stintino

Castersardo Sardinia

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.

Sardinia Isola Rosso

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.

Sardinia Stintino Storm

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!

Le Pelosa Stintino sardinia

Have you ever had travel plans disrupted by the weather?