1205-1207: Sightseeing in Heat!

1205 – A Nothing Day

Sunday 23rd June 2019

We literally drove to a car park in Cagliari.  James was a bit pooped so he rested in the afternoon and then listed on the radio to his football team, Dublin, win.  After all this excitement, it was too late to explore the capital of Sardinia.  So we went to bed early-ish to city sounds and the noises from the port.  Empty car park when we arrived on Sunday, and packed by the time we got up on Monday … free and close to town.


1206 – Cagliari

Monday 24th June 

I’d plotted all the main sights on Maps.Me so was tour guide.  There are supposed to be a few elevators to take people up to the castello … I know they were out of order 2 years ago when Penny of europenomand.wordpress.com blog was here … and they still are!  So we slowly and stickily made our way up to the top.  Rewarded with views and a coffee.  We thought, being the capital of Sardinia, we would be back into rip of the tourist territory, but no, only EUR3 for 2 cappuccino.

We spotted a huge cruise liner in the port and discovered a huge number of Brits around … all off the ship.  They ‘done’ Naples, Florence, now Cagliari and were on their way to Cadiz, having started in Southampton.  All in 2 weeks, and here we are scratching the surface of Sardinia in a month.  We chatted to a couple off the ship, who were missing their own 3 dogs.  They were in trouble with the tour group leader who had been counting heads and missing two.

One of the highlights for me was the Giants of Mont’e Prama in Cagliari Archeological Museum.  The anther exhibit of interest was a stone with the first known script on it where the name Sardinia is used.  The rest of the museum contained a lot of artefacts we’ve seen else where, such as pottery, coins, urns etc.  

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Busy car park.  And not the nicest of views.


This was a bit smarter than the normal Cagliari street, which was very Italian … in need of a good jet wash and make over.  Shouldn’t say ‘Italian”; the Sardinian’s are Sardinian first and then Italian.


Pisan built in 1307 in response to the Aragonese threat.  One of the main entrances to the Castello and open to the elements on the rear. Elephant Tower ,,, due the statue on the wall …



Wouldn’t fancy being under this gate if it were to be dropped.


Coffee stop view and cruise liner.


Torre San Pancrazio with its open rear.  Also the Petit Train, but as the historic centre is so contained, there was no need.


 The nuraghe Giants  were found by accident in 1974 in farmland.  They are carved sandstone and their height varies from 2-2.5 m.  15 heads and 22 torsos were found.  they symbolise warriors  archers and boxers and are believed to date from C11-8th BC.This ancient civilisation reflects the importance of the area in trade with places as far away as Syria.




The Nora Slate is the oldest written document in Sardinia and “probably Western Europe”, dated between 850-725BC. The name Sardinia is on the 3rd line.


Cathedral Santa Maria Crypt.   This is the Martyrs Sanctuary as there are 179 niches with relicts of Cagliari martyrs.


Santa Maria Cathedral … 4 lions at the foot of the balustrade.


Bastione di Saint Remy; Built into the vita walls between 1899-1902.  A huge terrace with views 



The main gate and stairs down.


Looking back up.


After a very good lunch, we drove along the coast to our overnight, near Pula and Nora.  I wandered with CO2 whilst J napped and then early evening saw us take our first full cooling sea immersion.  And no need for wet suits to keep us warm!

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Walk view.

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Drying off.  Neither CO2 would enter the water … if only they knew what was good for them!

 1207 – Nora and No Batty Tights & A Mine

Tuesday 25th June

We drove a very short way to Nora.  On arrival we were told for an additional EUR1 pp there was an English tour in 6 minutes … our guide spoke fluent English and German, and had done his thesis on the ancient site.  An C8 BC Phoenician city, then inhabited and changed by the Punics and then the Romans in 238BC.  What you can see is the Roman on top of what lies below.  And what you can see is only a fraction of the entire city as the water level has risen 1.5 meters so a good chunk is under water.  You can see the baths , amphitheatre (which was being built up for the summer concerts) and and some impressive mosaics in a wealthy man’s house.  Much of the stone was recycled to build the local towers agains the Spanish and the ‘new’ inland village of Pula, when the kidnapping and raids from N Africa and the Visigoths got too much.

The guide was quite open about his political views … Sardinian independence, or vote at least.  Sardinia was the first Italian ‘acquisition’ and he resents that Sardinia history, poetry and the language are not taught at school.


Roads disappearing into the sea … on the right would have been the Forum.



After a refreshment stop in the Nora cafe (ice cream my have been involved), we headed to Carbonia – Coal Town.  When we toured Italy in 2016 we came across a lot of Mussolini / /Fascist evidence from land reclamation and people relocation experiments to architecture.  This is a whole town that was built on wasteland.  As Italy felt the pinch with sanctions agains Fascism, they had to find coal and there is none on mainland Italy.  Within months they had built a coal mine and a town to house the workers.  18,000 workers with 12,000 working below ground in 3 shifts.  The accommodation may have been modern with an inside loo, but the working conditions were anything but civilised.  Starting at the age of 11, menfolk often had to work 16 hours shifts, especially during the war.  They were not supposed to take food down, but did … no lunch or coffee breaks.  What little was paid the workers, was clawed back in rent, fuel etc charges. Back breaking and dangerous work.  Fatalities IN the mine were accurately reported as 128 … but none of the men who died above ground from injuries or lung poisoning made it onto the statistics.  The mine was only active for 27 years, closing in 1964, as it is lignite.  We know Greece still mines this!  The worker were offered a small redundancy package and may left to work in mines abroad.  I asked about those that remained … they mostly found work in the local dock, but with the recession … they were waiting for better economic times.  


You are just a number.


Workers collected a lantern but no protective gear.


Winding gear … one up and one down.  A cage held either two trucks with material or 90 men.



A vibrating conveyor .. no dust or sound protection.


We didn’t have time to walk into the town to see the fascist architecture: apparently residents had had a backlash against the political ideals and changed a lot, but there was now a movement to restore the architectural principles. 


Interesting to see where the world’s coal despots are.  

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Porto Scuso, where we stayed on a new, but not yet open aire in the middle of the fishing village.

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 A few wines / beers to cool off  … just too hot to sit in the van.  And then we moved next door for a pizza and salad and a half litre of wine for under £20 .. we like Sardinian prices.

884-888: A Smattering of Rain in Coatia!

884 -Thursday 2nd November 2017:  Oscar’s Birthday and Porec Bike Ride

Young Oscar’s 4th birthday dawned – at the usual time -‘Oscartime”.  We e-biked along a trail – quite rough in places but manageable – to ‘Oscarplazza’. ’It’s all about our boyo today…. Celebratory glass of wine at lunchtime, de rigeur.  A nice story – K messaged a birthday photo to Elaine (his previous owner). She responded that we had made her day – she’s in hospital awaiting cancer surgery – we wish her a complete recovery, as does Oscar.

Festivities continued with Sally and Mark, GB-ers, on our Porec car park camping … good to chat to like minded folk.  They were staying on another night in the camperstop, but not sure how much sleep they would get as a major car rally was being run from here from Fri and our part of the car park was being used for the odd practice run.


The coastal path was along rocky beaches with pines growing almost to the shore.

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A lunchtime glass of wine to raise a glass to Our Boy.

885 -Friday 3rd November:  Campsite and Washing

Vsrar campsite is good and we found a quiet corner – but, it’s not busy at all. Sunshine weather for – van laundry! K tested the Kerstin sun lounger – successfully, of course.  Walk to nearby beach and headland – and very quiet evening – it got cold later and K was very chilly after laudrification – so the Gluwein came to the rescue!!! 

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Kerstin gifted me a sun lounger and I got to test it out … my first action on arriving at the campsite.

886 -Saturday 4th November:  Lim Fjord (or was it?) Bike Ride

Accuweather promised fine weather up to lunch and then – 19% chance of rain! Now, what boffin calculates a 19% prepissitation – blame the predictive text on that one, maybe?  But Clunegapteeth.dentist can exclusively reveal how it’s done – scientifically…  The boffin (or boffiness) sits in a chair in a field of 100 cows at 9:00 am. If 19 cows look as if they might  lie down later – that represents a 19% chance of wetness – at 1:00 pm!!!   You saw it here first – tomorrow, it will be in the Daily Prophet (Harry Potter, again). 

Anticipating rain, the laundry was brought onboard – as you can see – the knickers chandeliers are out of picture, modestly – saving our blushes.  We sallied forth in wet weather gear and had only spits and spots up to halfway and lunch at a nice waterfront restaurant – ‘The Viking’.  Then back up a steep hill on the main road – and the 100 cows flopped on the ground – drenching the boffin and his calculations!   Accuweather is now ”Satuweatheration”.  It poured – but we had the bit between our legs (?) and the grindstone up our noses…

Rounding a bend near the campsite – I was in the lead – and I heard a loud ‘crash’ – K had skidded on the wet surface and went down heavily! The Os-car and the rear wheel wanted to carry on in a straight line, but K was trying to turn!  Motorists stopped and one kind lady got out to help – K was bruised but essentially ok – thanks to wet weather clothing, gloves – and helmet – otherwise a lot of skin may have been left on the tarmac.  Please all you motor homing cyclists – always wear your headgear… Much Arnica lotion applied – hot tea – and now Marsala – but not for rubbing in…

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Yesterday’s laundry hung up to dry – despite the dry forecast, showers started just before we set off.


The end of the Fjord.

887 -Sunday 5th November:  Rovinj

We managed to free park just outside Rovinj to avoid Euro3.25 per hour for motorhomes!  Do they want us to stay and spend money or not?!? Same rate if you stay overnight.   Short walk to town – toured the nice Old Town and then – coffee and custard cake – no ill effects this time, thankfully…  Quite a few shops open and very keen to entice the limited supply of customers inside. 

Our chosen campsite (not a lot of choice, i.e. the only one on the point of Isria) was Brioni – very large – hundreds of pitches – only 3 vans, including a full-time englich couple in a large American RV! A virtually empty site – we pitched with a sea view. A walk to the headland Punta Christo – no chance we would attempt the “Indiana Jones” rope bridge. 

Right then, readers – nightfall and the early morning brought rain that would have deterred Guy Fawkes from his endeavours – he wouldn’t have been able to even light the fuse!!!

The forecast for the next few days is a bit ‘dire straits’……. we’ll be dry and snug with the bugs in our rugs….


Rovinj from one side …


… and then from the other.


The campsite is on the coast and we can see the sea from our mid-priced pitch … there are a lot of islands and nature reserves off the coast here.

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This dog’s for turning at Punta Christo!  Normally Oscar will valiantly and reluctantly cross open metal grating, but this was a bridge too far!

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Not about the be shaken or stirred!  Since neither of my boys would cross, I didn’t have to feign courage and go over!


Fort Christo … used right up to WW2, but now looking very deserted and locked up … I spotted a lady inside chatting on a phone and assumed she was a squatter.


The other side of the Punta Christo was the light house and a strange collection of … ‘stuff’.  Spot the sign to the Nude Beach … and undressed beach?


Some of the ‘stuff’.

888 -Monday 6th November:  Peeing in Pula

Peeing all over with that ‘pissitation stuff – stair rods, cats and dogs – oh, and rain as well!  A doggy training phone call for us re Oscar barking, jumping, etc – with the good folk at Devon Dogs – lots to focus on.  Jez submarined and aquaplaned to a local shopping Centre – and the intention was to walk/swim through the Old Town – no suitable parking – aborted – and back to base.

Thoughts on Croatia so far:

  • Dead after Halloween; most places shut, including most of the campsites.  Yet wild camping is illegal and punishable with huge fines.
  • Seriously lots of caravan storage places … mostly German vans.
  • Restaurants all competing for the tourist trade look for a USP, be it sucking pig or USA style ranch themes.
  • Coastline is pretty with the pine trees coming down to the rocky cost, we particularly enjoyed the bike ride north from Porec.
  • A major tourist destination given the number of campsites and less so apartments.
  • A mecca for nudist camps … the largest in Europe was next door to the Vrsar campsite …. not surprising that these are all closed from end September!
But it would be HELL in high season … nothing much to rush back to here.  I’ve looked at the weather map for the whole of Croatia and the wet, wet wet is set to continue all over for the next few days …. not much point trying to outrun it.  Anyone for a hot toddy?