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Sardinia: the North East
I could not fall asleep as easily as usual. People coming back from a concert of some famous Italian star kept waking me up. I wake up again at 6 am. Judging by the way Igor is breathing, I can say he is still sound asleep. I go back to sleep too, planning to get up when the "boss" does. In effect, we get up rather late – at 9 am – and leave the campsite at 11. Igor still plans to take a look at the beach. What we see is a busy stream of bodies. The place is crowded like New York's Fifth Avenue. We reminisce fondly about yesterday's swim with just a few people within sight.
We reach the N125 road leading to Olbi. This section is very appealing: small bays between rocky hills, golden beaches, countless white sailing boats as if suspended above the turquoise water. Unfortunately it is Sunday, so our attempts to take a "quiet back road" are of no avail. People are swarming on the road, trying to find a little piece of beach with access to water. A few kilometres ahead of Olbia my knee starts to hurt again. The steep road, gusty wind and scorching sun are killing me. But we have to keep on going, so I grit my teeth, counting the spins of the pedals: "one, two, one, two, one, two...". However, after a few kilometres the pain is so acute that I can't even breathe normally. With tears in my eyes, I shout at Igor who unwittingly asked what was wrong. "To hell with it all", I say, "To hell with the wind that pushes me off the bike, with the holiday greetings, those views, the sun – to hell with everything!". Igor announces a break for a cold drink and some biscuits – I calm down. My knee gets better too. Near Olbia we reach a main road. We want to leave this noisy port behind us. Outside of Arzachena we take a turn towards Palau, cycling along the Arzachena Gulf. After 6 km we know the decision was right. Passing Cannigione, Laconia and other seaside resorts we are feeling fantastic despite the Sunday traffic. The road leads along beaches with many small bays attracting surfers, or piers with moored boats. Outside of Tanca Menna we delight in spectacular views of the Maddalena Archipelago, consisting of seven fabulous islands amidst the emerald waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Since the archipelago is a part of a national park, it can only be toured with a guide. We take a lot of pictures approaching Palau – the busy fishing port from which you can easily catch a boat to La Maddalena (every 15 minutes).
We leave Palau taking another main road – No 133. It is rather flat, so we can ride fairly quickly. Tomorrow we are planning to take a morning ferry to Corsica. Dusk is falling as we stop by a roadside restaurant for dinner. Since we are going to cycle with head torches on the foreheads anyway, we take our time eating. We analyse prices in the menu, and decide on a special set for two. The meal is hearty and delicious. At the end we order Mirto liqueur, and ask for the bill. We are shocked. Indeed, we took a set for two, but the menu is "slightly" misleading – the stated price is per person rather than for the set! In Poland we would solve the situation in a different way, but here – after a short pointless conversation with the waiter – we just leave the place with great distaste. Next time we will be more cautious and will ask more questions, because such an approach is not rare in local restaurants.
It is 8:30 pm. It's dark and cold, so we put on head torches and windbreakers. We are so angry with the overpriced dinner that pedalling seems easier. Despite the fast pace, we are still an hour away from Santa Teresa di Gallura. Suddenly we notice a campsite – Igor decides that we will stay there. It doesn't make any sense to look for overnight accommodation around midnight if we can go to sleep immediately, get up an hour earlier, and still be in the harbour on time. As the reception desk is closed and we don't see any night watchman around, we set up the tent without asking for permission. We still have no idea what place it was :-)