After our taste of northern Sardinia, we drive from Olbia to Chia, in the south, about 3.5 hours away. We're getting used to driving in Sardinia, it appears that the speed limits are advisory only and we observe that people seem to drive at twice the posted limit until it reaches 70 km/hour (44 mph) or so, then they drive at a little under twice the limit.We plan a picnic lunch as we drive and stop at the Simply grocery store in Olbia to pick up all the great fixings (it's hard to choose, but we finally pick): 100 grams (1/4 lb) of salami, 100 grams of mortadella (Italian cured sausage), a package of cheese and 3 rolls, all for 5.3 euros ($5.67).
After our scenic drive and a great picnic, we arrive in southwestern Sardinia, a land of mountains, beaches, agriculture, and tourists. Chia is reported to have some of the best beaches in Sardinia, along with magnificent sand dunes, and our hotel is adjacent to the sea, with a boardwalk across the dunes to the water.
The contrast of the dry landscape, the lush tropical plantings at the hotel, and the native cork trees all blend together to make a varied and inviting environment. We have never seen a cork tree before and, when we spot several in the hotel parking lot, we all of a sudden understand why there are so many carved cork items in our room and for sale in the stores as souvenirs.
As we drive around, we find spectacular sights in every direction!
The next day, we return to the same restaurant and share three salads and two entrees among the three of us:
Octopus and potato salad
Melon and prosciutto
Caprese salad (mozzarella and tomato)
Spaghetti fruitti di mare (all from the sea)
Sardinian pasta with sausage and tomato