Friday, November 18, 2016

Heading to Chia, in the South of Sardinia

After our taste of northern Sardinia, it's time to explore the south and we drive from Olbia to Chia, 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:

               Speed Limit       Traffic Speed
              km (miles)/hr      km (miles)/hr
                 30 (19)                   60 (37)
                 50 (31)                 100 (62)
                 70 (44)                 130 (81)

Going through one construction zone (no workers), the speed limit was 30 (19 mph), I was driving at 90 (56 mph), and all the cars behind me were only feet from my rear bumper until they could pass. Don't try this at home (unless you live in Sardinia!)!

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).

We bid arrivederci to the north 

 Drive through the central mountains

And, after our scenic drive and a great picnic, we arrive in south-western 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.

Chia, land of beaches!

Beach in the distance across the fields

The contrast of the dry fields, 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, the light bulb comes on and we understand why there are so many carved cork items in our room and for sale in the stores as souvenirs.

Tropical plantings

 Cork tree

We finish our initial exploration of Chia, walking down the boardwalk to the beach and back, and are ready to see what else the south has to offer.  Stay tuned!

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