Eric and I were soo excited when we landed in Cagliari, Sardegna for our week long vacation. I had read several articles online, and in the newspaper about how beautiful and interesting this city is in the off season. "Skip the maddening crowd of summer tourists, the waiting in long lines, the trumped up hotel prices, and enjoy historic Cagliari at your leisure in November!" Sounds like heaven, right? Hmm, not quite. It appears we were misinformed.
We arrived at our hotel and were excited to find that it was beautiful, very modern and stylish, with a lovely bar, and personable staff. Our room was nice as well, although the view left a bit to be desired. We were of course, a bit outside of the city center, so we expected that. We had dinner in the four star restaurant and welcomed our first disappointment. Good wine, boring food. I thought this was Italy? Oh well.
Next day, we headed out to the downtown area for sightseeing. Cagliari is full of small cobbled streets, shops, churches, and cafes to see, as well as a bunch of cool historic landmarks. Saldy, most of it was under construction. Pitfall of visiting in the offseason. It's cool though, because the people watching is great. Everyone was gorgeous, and bundled up like it's the Arctic although it was 60 degrees. After walking through half of the city in an hour, we realized that this whole sightseeing thing could be completed in about a day, and we had six to fill. Then we got hungry. Little did we know, the entire city closes down from 1 in the afternoon, until 8 at night. You can't eat, drink, or shop much. Back to the hotel.
We spent our next few days trying desperately to find things to do, but it wasn't easy. Despite the promises of our in-room brochure, the staff actually had no information at all about goings on in the city. Not even restaurant suggestions. Luckily we are resourceful. If you get stuck in this predicament you should:
- Visit Iglesias, a nearby town with the most amazing cemetary I have ever seen. Sounds macabre, but it was awesome and I'll share photos as soon as I get them back from Eric! Just make sure you go early because they close the cemetary gates from noon until 3, and the walls are topped with shards of broken glass to deter burglars or overzealous tourists.
- Try to go the week of the European Jazz Expo. It's a huge event, but make sure you plan your transportation thoroughly. The bus stations don't post schedules, so you need to take your chances or talk to the drivers, and they don't speak English. Taxis are expensive, and if you don't speak Italian you'll get ripped off, so watch it! We saw a bunch of cool performances, even if we aren't huge jazz fans, and it was probably the most fun night we had.
- Visit the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. We did a night at the symphony which was beautiful, and you can get cheap tickets.
- Eat dinner at the restaurant at the base of the Bation San Remy. I've forgotten the name, but you will walk past it at least ten times as you tour the city, and you can't miss the green awnings. Amazing food, by far the best meal we had, and the servers were very accomodating. Lots of sign language since our Italian is nonexistant, and they made great recommendations.
All in all, we did have a good trip, but mainly just because we were together and we can amuse ourselves wih very little (Italian talk shows and a bunch of beer! Yay!). This city requires better weather, a short stay, or some really thorough planning, for it to be a relaxing, romantic get away. I think we'll take a second honeymoon.