One month land-bound Part 5: Sardinia – Saving the Best for Last

Welcome to the final installment recounting the time I spent off the Staatenloss this fall. If you’re jumping in now, be sure to check out the weeks leading up to the grand finale in Sardinia.

To give you a quick recap, about three weeks prior to the events on this post, I flew from Montenegro to Switzerland to begin my month land-bound.

From Switzerland, I road tripped to Germany; making stops in Italy and Austria. After seeing my family for the last time in 2020, I flew to Sicily where I spent quite some time exploring its nearby islands and climbing up volcanos.

In the last installment, I recounted the 3-day adventure I had in Lampedusa and Linosa and that brings us to my time in Sardinia, so without further ado…

Palermo, the route to Sardinia

I spent a few hours in Palermo before my flight to Sardinia. Because of the short layover I simply stayed at the airport until it was time to board my flight to Cagliari.

Buona Sera Sardinia

I had another convertible booked for my time in Sardinia, so as soon as I landed in Cagliari, I went straight to pick it up.

After, the first stop was Cagliari town – aka old Cagliari, the capital city of Sardinia. The town is known for its hilltop Castello; a medieval walled quarter established high over the rest of the town. The town is built quite steep, with many hiking and roads that go up and down.

I did some sightseeing and then continued all the way to reservoir lake, Lago Gusana. This lake runs from pretty much the middle of the island all the way to the top. I drove mostly on the highway to get there, avoiding the scenic route to make it to my destination before sunset.

Lago Di Gusana – In the mountains of Sardinia

That night I stayed at a nice hotel in the area, and the next day I ended up having to do a lot of driving due to some miss-calculations on my part.

I totally underestimated the journey a bit, and I had a friend to meet in the evening on the other side of the island. I ended up having to push the meeting a little. I was at the northwest part of the island, and I had to go over some mountain passes down to the southwest coast to a town called Abatax.

Arbatax di Tortoli – Made it back to the windy coast!

Arbatax, a harbor town in southeast Sardegna, quite famous for its cliffs, I went to do some sightseeing in the area. I actually got to see this huge storm that was coming from Sicily over Sardegna. This is the storm that Staatenlos got caught in.

There were very high winds and huge waves; you could see them from the coast. Eventually, I continued through some really nice roads with stunning backdrops of really high mountains lining the coast. I must say it’s a gorgeous area. Without a doubt, Sardegna is one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean; who knew?

I drove all around, taking in the sights and making some pit stops to capture some memories here and there. Pretty much the theme of my time in Italy.

Cala Gonone-Golfo Di Orosei

I arrived at Orosei in the evening, the town where I was to meet Frank. Frank is the author of the book Avoid Taxation, which I sell on my blog. He wrote the book, I just offer it to my audience, and we split the profits.

Great road trip through the Sardinian mountains today. Now meeting Frank Exempter, the legendary alias of my over 80-year-old tax consultant friend, author of the book “Besteuerung vermeiden”, who lives here during Corona 🙂

Frank is a pension tax consultant from Austria, but he’s already retired; he is 82 years old after all. He is actually a very fit and healthy 82 year old. During this trip, I met his wife for the first time; she’s 79 and very active.

We were able to meet because I knew that he usually spends 4 months in Thailand, 2 months in Sardegna, and the rest of the year in Austria. Because of Covid, I knew he was no longer in Thailand, and then I thought he wouldn’t have gone to a risk area like Austria, so I figured he might be in Sardegna, so I reached out.

I basically wrote to him a few days before, and he was still there. He was actually leaving a few days after, but I set up a meeting with him and finally met his wife. We went for a nice pizza that evening, had a good talk, and the next day he basically took me in his car to explore the island.

Frank drove me around the area to show me some famous monuments and some stunning beaches. He showed me the best that Orosi has to offer, essentially showing me why he has chosen to spend his summer vacations in Sardegna for the last few years. During our time together, I learned a lot about him and his life, which I didn’t know. I really enjoyed the time we had.

The beaches of Eastern Sardinia are very nice. Now to the rougher West Coast

He also told me about his new plans, which I found fascinating. I mean, most people his age are thinking about death; he is thinking about buying an expedition caravan. By the way, not to drive in Europe to drive from Austria to Thailand through the silk road, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the middle east.

He understands it is perilous, but he said he “would much rather be killed in Afghanistan than die of old age in a retirement home in Austria.” So yeah, he has a really great attitude towards life; he also had a great attitude towards corona. He went all around without a mask, even in restaurants. I was surprised to see it was actually well accepted, I guess because of his age. 🤷‍♂️

After our little excursion, we went back to his place for a visit. They have this nice apartment right at the beach. They’ve spent the summers there for the last couple of years. His wife made us a lovely lunch, and we had a pleasant time chatting a bit more about life, and eventually, I had to leave.

A nice Bay to anchor

Basically, I had another long drive ahead of me, driving back to the other side of the island. Leaving from Orosi to Barco del Conte, all the way on the western part of Sardegna.

From there, I went to Alghero, which is actually the Catalan part of Sardinia, which was once Catalan territory. Not hard to imagine considering the island is not very far from Mallorca.

Old Town Alghero- Spending the evening in Alghero – a town with Catalunyan past. Not that far to Mallorca any more

Alghero has really nice architecture, and I found it a very nice town, located entirely within castle walls. I went to check it out quickly and walk around for a bit.

No parking, no problem

Alghero by night

After, I continued driving along the north coast and eventually going inland again. I went to Sassari, the second largest town in Sardegna, but I couldn’t find parking. The first available parking was about 1.5 miles outside the town, so I left and went to Castel Sado instead. A really nice town near a big mountain by the coast. Lots of houses perched on this hill alongside a big holiday resort.

Beautiful town.

It was so picturesque; I stopped to take lots of nice pictures and enjoy views of Corsica in the distance. It was truly a lovely setting. After this stop, I went to Campio Pasana, another really nice town in the middle/north of Sardinia.

Great day in Northern Sardinia. The last day before flying back to Switzerland for another 5 days

The town has lots of monoliths and interesting stones in the area. There are also these super old structures from neolithic times. Basically, traces of people and tools from a very long time ago. It was all fascinating.

In the evening, I drove all the way to Obia. I had dinner in town and the next day was my last day to explore the northern coast of Sardinia.

I had a full last day on the island because my flight to Switzerland was late in the evening. Since there was no rush, I took the first part of the day to make some consulting calls and then explore Costa Esmeralda, a famous destination for Italian jet-setters. This is basically where a lot of “corona parties” took place this past summer.

View of Corsica – another missing island for me. Maybe sailing here next summer.

I explored the area of Esmeralda and Santa Teresa, about 20-40 miles from Corsica. A famous sailing area with lots of really nice sailing boats. A really nice area all in all and I am actually thinking of doing a holiday there next year.

Missing the sea and my boat

Also nice cruising grounds

It just so happens that my father invited me to a friend’s boat that will sail between Corsica and Costa Esmeralda, so naturally, I’m really curious what this area has to offer.

Meeting Flavio for some #coronaparty

I was happy that I could see it all by land before heading south again to Porto Cebo, the most famous resort town for the rich and famous. The town has a big marina – one of the biggest marinas in the Mediterranean, so I went to check it out and then continued down to the airport to catch my flight to Switzerland.

It was a really nice drive all along the coast with plenty of photo opportunities. Sardegna is a really nice island, sadly the weather wasn’t too great, a lot of clouds and that storm passing by, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as Sicily, but it was still a great trip.

Arrividerci, Italia

My trip to Sardegna concludes the 2 weeks I spent in Italy during COVID. A pretty cool time, and once again, I was blessed with divine timing; just a few days after leaving, a mask requirement in all spaces was enforced, even outdoors. And now they are back into lockdown. So just travel at the right time.