Valeria came to Alghero 10 years ago and loved it so much she wanted to come back, so when Ana and Charlie said they’d be able to spend Easter here with us we were over the moon. They arrived on Thursday 13th, bringing Ana’s nephew Mateus with them, and we met them at the airport.
Once settled in and following a glass of Prosecco in welcome, we spent the evening wandering around Alghero. It is an old walled town and a the streets are a delightful maze of narrow cobbled lanes between 3 and 4 storey buildings. Being Easter the place was quite busy, and got busier, giving the place a fantastic atmosphere. In fact, apart from a visit to the Neptune Caves we spent most of our days either relaxing on the boat or strolling around the town.
Valeria found us a great little family run restaurant called La Cullera; great food but they also served such fantastic ‘seadas’ (a Sardinian cheese pastry with honey and lemon) that we booked to return just for the Seadas. They even made two lactose free ones for Valeria and Ana, their first ever, and it will now become a part of their menu.
Ice cream parlours were everywhere, which pleased Charlie. I was just happy we didn’t have go searching for Haagen Dazs for Valeria. Basically we had such a good time in each other’s company I didn’t even have the time to find out much about the history of the place ! It is pretty much the same as the rest of the island but there is a strong Catalan influence left over from the Spanish period, so much so that the town flag is the Catalan flag.
Our one excursion was by boat to the Neptune Caves at the foot of Capo Caccia. These are limestone caves with magnificent stalagmite and stalagtite formations. You can get there by bus and a steep stair way down the cliff or by boat; we chose the latter. It was interesting watching how the boatmen actually got their quite large boats into the narrow cleft in the rocks without smashing them to pieces.
But once inside the caves were quite magnificent. A path has been built through the caverns and unfortunately everything within reach of the walk way has been damaged by souvenir hunters but the rest of the formations are fantastic. The caves are flooded with sea water making still pools which reflect the formations above.
Our other ‘excursion’ was a walk along the coast towards Fertillia to the beach area which is bounded by a pine forest. Ana had said she’d like fried squid for lunch, so we set off on our ‘Squid Hunt’. The beach is very picturesque and is backed by hundreds of holiday flats; in the summer it wil, be heaving! We failed to find anywhere we fancied for lunch and so walked back to Alghero to a place we’d had squid before. We had worked up a good appetite covering about 9 km on our ‘Squid Hunt’ and really enjoyed our rewards, beer, squid and pizza!
But it wasn’t all rest and relaxation. Charlie helped with some of my routine maintenance; truth be told I was saving them up for him! The main halyard and main sheet needed untwisting again, I had bought some markers for the anchor chain as a visual check of my chain counter and he and Mateus helped mark and stow the anchor cable. Most importantly he helped trace a fresh water leak which was setting off the bilge pump under the deck in their cabin. I’d been searching for this for ages and a fresh set of eyes found the trail of water I’d missed. I’ve now tightened up the jubilee clip on the hot water pipe at the water heater.
When we first met Mateus in the UK we decided he should have a cool nickname. His surname is Aranha which means Spider, so it was a no brainer really! He is staying with Aunty Ana and Uncle Charlie for a year studying English and to his credit he spent a lot of time studying. He’s only been in the UK a few weeks and just managed to master ‘up, down, left and right’ and suddenly finds it is now ‘aloft, below, port and starboard’, not to mention galley, heads etc etc, all whilst visiting Italy!
By the end of their time with us Ana and Charlie were making themselves far too comfortable for my liking …… !
All joking aside, their visit with us was over far too soon and before we knew it we were saying good bye as they headed for the airport. We set off for the shops as they left but once we got back on board it did seem very quiet without them. We’re really looking forward to them coming to sail with us later in the year.