Sardinia Day Three: Cagliari, Spiaggia di Cala Cipolla, Tuerredda Beach and Flamingo watching!!
The sand may brush off… The salt may wash clean… The tans may fade… But the memories will last forever!
This is exactly how we feel about Sardinia! Each day just kept getting better and better.
After our incredible evening at the THotel in Cagliari, we could have slept for hours the next morning to recover from the amazing dinner… but instead, we woke up early for breakfast so we could make the most out of our day. We had a big day planned, visiting two more incredible beaches, Spiaggia di Cala Cipolla and Tuerredda.
On our way to Spiaggia di Cala Cipolla, our first stop for the day, we noticed off to the side of the freeway, these creatures in a swampy area … we quickly realised that these were in fact Flamingos!!! Yes, flamingos in Sardinia! I’ll get back to the flamingos a little later…
The beaches in Sardinia are always busy in the summer. The water is crystal clear, most are sandy and you can get plenty of vitaminSEA… So, needless to say, you have to get there nice and early to secure a car park and the prime sun tanning spot.
Spiaggia di Cala Cipolla
Cala Cipolla is a tiny bay at the end of a dirt road and a short stroll further over the hill. It’s not too hard to find, but there are a number of beaches in the area, so make sure you drive all the way to the end of the road! The walk over the hill appears to continue further along the coastline, but to be honest there is nothing there, head straight to the beach!
Parking was plentiful with the standard €5 cost for the day – you’ll soon realise you’ll need a lot of 5€ notes in Sardinia!
Despite the overcast weather, Cala Cipolla was well worth the visit! The water was warm and unlike many European beaches, is sandy with waves, proper waves!! Having lived in London for a couple of years, it’s funny how quickly you forget how powerful waves can be and a gentle reminder to get our act together for when we move back to Australia!
Jenna got dunked by a massive wave… it was at the point where you decide whether to go over or under the wave…
The experience was described as being thrown into a washing machine, being chucked around and thrown on to the ocean floor! Luckily for her, she was able to save her hat, sunnies, and bikinis!!
Being thewelltravelledman, I should mention I was perfectly fine and quite enjoyed it – even got this cool shot on the GoPro as a wave just passed us and the spray of the water created my own little wave!
Having already had the beach on our list, we knew we had to visit it when the T Hotel restaurant manager specifically recommended it! It was only a 15-minute drive from Spiaggia di Cala Cipolla to Tuerredda. There were two parking lots, one closer to the beach and one just opposite the road, prepare your €5!
The beach wraps around a bend and has plenty of room for everyone. There were no waves and the water was definitely much colder than Cala Cipolla – now when I say much colder – it may only be a couple of degrees but it makes a big difference! Given the lack of waves, this would be the perfect spot for some snorkeling.
There were a number of vendors, towels, bikinis, jewelry and the like was plentiful and prices comparable to the other beaches. There is also a café near the entrance; relatively expensive, so if you can bring your own drinks, then I would definitely suggest that!
This was the highlight of the day! Having not seen flamingos before, we were eager to get a closer look.
These crazy creatures were off the main road with no clear entrance to the lakes – but being on holidays and breaking the typical road rules we couldn’t resist pulling off to the side of the road! We noticed a hidden entrance leading towards the dirt tracks surrounding the lakes. Being in a tiny little rental car, we drove slowly, zig-zagging around the track to avoid the potholes and potential damage to the undercarriage, but we nothing was going to stop us from reaching the other side of the lake where the hundreds of flamingos seemed to congregate.
We were close to the flamingos and they seemed very unphased by us – we were gutted we didn’t have 200mm camera lens on hand, but glad we had a camera on hand to take plenty of photos!
The place is only around 20 minutes from Cagliari and there were hundreds of flamingos just chilling in the lake!
When we got into Cagliari town, being a Sunday….. everything was closed!! The only positive of having everything closed was that the parking appeared to be free on a Sunday. Some of the retail shops open around 5.30pm which is when the locals head into town and the restaurants open up, but aside from that the town was deserted.
Like most European old towns, you will find a little ally way where there is some pretty cool graffiti. Cagliari was no exception!
We wandered around and took advantage of the very quiet town! There is a lovely viewpoint at Bastione di Saint Remy which is worth checking out. You get panoramic views over the city and you feel like you’re on top of the world… well, Sardinia!
By this stage, after not eating lunch we were absolutely starving!! We found a restaurant called Grotta Marcello at Piazza Yenne. We were desperate for a good pasta, so having sat down, looked at the menu and decided on the pasta we were going to order, were told that because of the time of the day (not lunch .. not dinner…) they are only serving pizza!!!! So, we had to quickly change our minds and pick a pizza!
It was honestly the biggest pizza we have had, and we ordered two!! The toppings were plentiful and the flavour was delicious! I can still remember the moment it came out and thinking how on earth will I finish this!! Well, I did finish it.. Jenna not so much, but it managed to fill the hole and certainly didn’t need dinner that night!
The Seven Wonders of Cagliari
In one of the short story books the T Hotel gave us, it goes into detail about the seven wonders of Cagliari. You’re probably wondering what they are? Well, here is a list for you!
- The Sun
- Carlos Kleiber’s Last Concert
- Portrait of Ines
- The Market of San Benedetto
- The Sea
Here is a snippet from the short stories:
The Sun: “An Icelandic summer is at least as cold as a Mediterranean winter. July in Reykjavik is rainy and windy. Fortunately, the Icelanders don’t mind. On the contrary, they go around in shorts and vests, proudly displaying unnatural tans expensively acquired in solariums. The girls even wear sandals, as if the weather was sweltering! ….. Such is Cagliari: a city kissed by the sun and blessed by its rays. Maternally protected from the cold. Sunny in every sense: full of light; hospitable, warm and always plenteous with emotions.”
Flamingos: “Flamingos, mauve-winged birds given a variety of imaginative names by different peoples: Fenicotteri, Genti Aruba, Palamenci, Qizilqaz… Seen from a distance, in groups, filtering sandy beds of ponds through their abstruse beaks in search of small molluscs; standing there, poised on one leg, they seem like tightrope walkers in a celestial circus, divide acrobats, indifferent to the passing of time, guests in a disharmonious present quite alien from their grace.”
Carlos Kleiber’s Last Concerts: “Montreal, July 1976. The Romanian gymnast Nadia Comeneci is the first athlete in the history of the Olympic Games to be given the perfect score of ten by the judges. Thanks to her, that day humankind officially attains perfection. A divine, in human achievement; made possible by willpower and discipline…. Perfection has occurred in Cagliari too It happened on 26 February 1999, when Carlos Kleiber, the greatest conductor of the twentieth century, gave his last concert at the Teatro Lirico. It was one of the most wonderful days in the city’s history.”
Portrait of Ines: “Love can be an obscure thing: distant from Romanticism. Close only to obsession. Imagine a complex, stern love, composed of many feelings woven together like the transparent threads of a spider’s web. Jealousy, sacrifice, possessiveness, pain, anger: but also affection, tenderness, compassion and trust. They are all summed up in one painting: The portrait of Ines that Umberto Boccioni painted five years before he died.”
Distance: “Distance both obstructs and preserves: it shrinks objects in our sight, but magnifies them in our thoughts… When in Cagliari we’ll feel distant from the rest of the world. And when we’re elsewhere we’ll feel distant from Cagliari: bereft of its solitude, nostalgic, longing to return there.”
The Market of San Benedetto: “The market: a symbolic place of medieval tradition that has miraculously survived the onset of modernity… Cagliari too has a unique and distinctive market of its own, the Mercato Civico of San Benedetto, first held on 2 June 1957. Here you’ll be greeted by all the traditional delicacies of Sardinia: Carloforte tuna, mullet bottarga and oysters from the pool of San Teodoro. As well as arbutus honey, herring, sea slugs, sea urchins, scallops and an unusual Sardinian version of fish and chips which include fried shrimps.”
The Sea: “Cagliari is no freshwater city; it’s a place of sea and salt. Although the large white mounds on the salt flats are no longer there, salt is always in the air: it fills the day and night with flavour, giving the city the privilege of an additional sensory perception, which makes it unique and unrepeatable.”
Bio on the Author of this book:
Born in Cagliari in 1976, Nicola Lecca is a passionate traveller who has lived for long periods in England, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Hungary and Iceland. His works include Concerti Senza Orchestra (Marsilio, 1999, shortlisted for the Strega Prize), Hotel Borg (Mondadori 2006) and II Corpo Odiato (Mondadori 2009).
His novels have been published in fifteen European countries by leading publishers. At 27 years of age, he was awarded the Hemingway Prize for literature.
Visit Nicola’s website
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To read about where else we visited in Sardinia, check out our Sardinia: 7 day Italian Love affair!!
“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton