“Call me a taxi”, a Postcard from Alghero
September 5, 2018
I have a confession:
Does anyone else dislike driving overseas?
There’s the de-skilling effect of your expensive hire car having a manual gearbox, when you’re used to an automatic. Driving in an Italian town is like a stressful video game, played in a real car, in hot and humid conditions.
You’re proceeding cautiously along a street; an olive oil delivery van is parked facing towards you on the opposite side. You brake to avoid the oncoming car that’s overtaking the van, and swerve to miss the scooter passing him in turn. Then another brake as, without warning, cars reverse out of diagonal parking bays into your path.
Then an emergency stop, as a pushchair appears from between parked vehicles to your left (no visible sign of the parent), and a granddad on foot languidly waves a hand to stop you as he crosses a junction, his other hand holding that of his toddling grandchild.
It’s not my idea of a relaxing holiday, and this is Sardinia, not Naples or Palermo which are really crazy.
It could be worse. You could have hired this little boat for a leisurely turn about the bay.
Then these boys come out to play with you.
Two jet skis approached at high speed and started circling us.
(Actually we were on a tourist boat to Neptune’s Grotto, and this one came up close enough to the stern to ask us to pass them a beer….)
There are more boys’ toys in the historic centre of Alghero.
A little history:
Giuseppe Garibaldi landed in Alghero in 1855. Father of the Nation, liberator of the Italian people, and inventor of the famous squashed fly biscuit.
Where to stay:
We stayed at Tenute Bonaria, a group of holiday homes set in an olive estate about a mile out of town.
We had a spacious terrace in the shelter of an olive tree, where we ate out every evening to a soundtrack of cicadas (constant), braying donkeys and an Italian birthday party nearby (very occasional).
It was recommended by Stefano Vallebona, who imports excellent Sardinian food into the UK. His stylish warehouse in South Wimbledon is open to the public, and you can also buy from him online.
We had a problem picking up our rental car at the airport (and ended up hiring one from a local office in the city).
The friendly man on the information desk directed us to the bus service that runs from the airport to the centre of Alghero; it costs just one €1, and runs every 15 minutes.
At the taxi rank, I asked about the cost of taxis from Bonaria to town. They’re €10 each way, at the most.
Would we go back?
Yes, we’re already planning for next year, and our plans don’t include hiring a car.