This article is a detailed days ride of Sardinia, Italy.
Riding Day 4: Arbatax – Olbia (~210 km.)
Well, today the rain caught up with me. Luckily, one in the morning, which has ruined my 370 km of previously planned route. In these twisty roads, it is pretty hard to do 370 km if you start the day’s ride at 11:30. So, I chilled at the hotel bar, drank loads of coffee and waited for the rain to stop.
Cala Gonone is my first waypoint set for the day, it is a relaxed ride from Arbatax and as you exit the 100 meters-or-so the tunnel connecting the coastal settlement to SP125, a few hairpins and curves welcome you with a nice view of the sea and the town. The rain had its toll on the road and the first couple of hundred meters were covered with dirt from the rain overflow. Aside from that, it is a nice ride down. I have stopped at the port area for an hour to take lunch break. There is a very nice cafe/restaurant with an extension of a souvenir shop. You can park your bike at a spot easily visible from where you eat and enjoy a fine Italian seafood for a change
I have not had this much octopus, mussels, clams, scampi and crabs daily in my entire life, I believe my cholesterol levels are off the roof.
One major thing in Cala Gonone is that there are daily excursion trips departing in the morning and returning in the afternoon, showing you some of the caves that are only accessible trough the sea on small boats. If that is your thing, you should rent a small boat for personal or a small group and visit these caves. I haven’t, but I was told it was a mistake.
Departing Cala Gonone, the sky started getting darker by the clouds and you know the feeling… I never enjoyed riding in the rain, even though I am usually pretty water proof with my gear. From there on I have followed the route highlighted below. All the roads were quite nice but have not topped my satisfaction from the previous day.
It was around 18:30 by the time I checked-in my hotel in Olbia. Town of Olbia, I did not fancy all that much… So I have not much to say about it…
Riding Day 5: Olbia – Santa Teresa Gallura (~90 km.)
I had an easy ride today. I have planned roughly 100 km, just enjoying the luxurious coastal settlements of Sardinia, where the rich and the famous prefer to spend their vacation time. Yes, I am talking about Porto Cervo and it’s surrounding coastal towns.
I have checked out of the hotel at 11:00 and got on my way, my first waypoint is Porto Cervo (pronounced like Chervo). If you don’t like the luxury scene, especially on motorbike trips, try the avoid the area except for sightseeing. Porto Cervo is the most expensive and fashionable town in Sardinia, the marina hosts some of the biggest motor-yachts you will probably see, especially during the high season.
Marina parking is the only place you can park your motorbike and they charge you €2.00 for an hour. Having planned eating there, I paid the asked amount to the person in charge, welcoming you while rubbing his hands, with a look “are you sure you want to be here?…” Sorry but I have a thing for arrogant people, I become one of them if I don’t like the way I am treated. Anyway, I ate at a brasserie by the marina, checking my watch regularly, really not all enjoying the over-priced salad and went for a cruise around the neighbourhood. There are really nice and expensive looking properties you can ride around. It is just all too familiar and not my type of scenes anymore; not that there is anything wrong with it…
The surrounding villages and towns are all nice, I especially like the harmony between the architecture of the buildings with its habitat. The colours and the textures are elegant, in the least. Anyone with a little taste would agree with me on this.
When I was riding around in Palau, my rear tire got punctured by a piece of metal, and thats where my hassle for the next three days began trying to fix or replace it. It was pretty warm out in the higher 20’s and with the sun directly on top, it felt more like 30’s. Having such a load on my panniers, my bike was resting on its rear wheel even though it was on central stand and to fix it I had to remove them for the bike to lean on the front tire. I was ready for this, I had two repair kits, a canister gun, but more importantly, had an electric Touratech Compressor all packed and at my disposal.
Patching the rapture was not a challenge, but the compressor failed because the all new R1200GS has and electric outlet that supports only 10 amps. The device requires more and unfortunately my Touratech dealer in Turkey failed to mention this fact, and with my laziness of reading the manual before packing, combined, I was a victim of my own doing, I guess. I would have had an auxiliary outlet installed if I knew, but the excuse I was not warned was: “You change your bikes so frequently, how was I supposed to know?” Bummer. Though it is not a heavy item to carry around such a long trip, it takes up necessary space, and now I am stuck with a 100 plus Euro device I have no use for, for the rest of this trip. Anyways..
It took both of my repair kit CO2 tubes plus one in the chamber of the gun, to air up the tire to its recommended pressure of 2.9 bars. The patch held up for the next 29 km and overnight with just a small amount of depressurisation. Of course that was the end of my day and I rode to my hotel in Santa Teresa Gallura.
Final Remarks on my trip to Sardinia
Sardinia is a remarkable vacation spot if you like the sea and ideal in autumn if you are travelling on motorcycle. I would have enjoyed it much more if I was on my KTM 1290 SuperDuke R. The road quality of the island is, in general, very very very good.
The prices for fuel varies 15% within the island, but credit card is accepted almost everywhere, which I cannot say the same for rest of Italy. For those of you, who have travelled to the Dolomiti area, would know that cash is the only way to pay for your fuel in majority of the places. Lowest per litre price I have seen was €1.62 and highest €1.79 around and on the island.
The prices, again, for accommodation may not be very cheap but is cheaper than those in high season. I have stayed at three and rarely four star hotels. The prices really compete among them from 70 to 100 Euros. At places that are off the crowd the four star hotels cost less than 3 star ones in the urban areas.
The eyes, those eyes…
I have to say this; I have travelled on my own quite a lot. Many western and eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Russia, but have I never felt so disturbed by the staring of the people. These people are not locals, it is the tourists, elderly ones, couples, what have you… They stare at you without even pulling their eyes away and talk about you between each and one other. All motorcycle travellers are used to being looked at, but such stare, it is just so discomforting. If you have something to say, get of your butt and talk to me, don’t just stare…
For those women fellow riders, it is pretty safe to be in Sardinia. Petty crimes have diminished, almost to zero, in the last decade as I have read somewhere on the net. Travelling alone may be OK but you would probably be safer with a friend accompanying.
Sardinians are quite friendly in general. As long as you know a few words to communicate in Italian such as numbers, some vocal greeting and gestures, you will have not problem interacting with them. I love talking to Italians. If you smile asking something they are all warm inside and they show it to you, so smile, please…