October 15, 2013
Off the boat a little after nine and took the free port authority shuttle into the town of Olbia, the main arrival port for cruise ships and car ferries on the island of Sardinia. It became clearly apparent today that tourists differ radically in their perceptions of a place.
Our morning walk covered visits to a church built upon the Ancient Greek acropolis temple. No visible remains of the Greek site. This is not surprising since there are layers of pre-Greek, Greek, Phoenician – Carthaginian, Roman ruins under the modern Italian construction. The tourist office was helpful and we easily located the other 1100 AD Romanesque Cathedral built on top of a Phoenician graveyard at the site of a saint who was martyred around 300 AD during the reign of Diocletian. We will be visiting his retirement home in Split later on in the trip. San Simplicio, the church of the martyr, was massively constructed of granite in a serious and not too elegant manner. The only relief were the ram sculptures atop some of the columns. The place has been around for a thousand years so,who can complain.
We checked out several stores looking for tablecloths. Unfortunately, the pastels of souther Italy do not work with our more vigorous colors from Northern Italy and Provence. There were plenty of cork slabs that we have no idea of what you would use them for. Stumbled across some,obvious Roman or earlier stonework that no one bothered to mark. I am sure that where ever you dig in a port like this that you will find ancient remnants. Returned to the ship for lunch and dropped off some Sardinian wine that the shop owner assured me to be Molte Bene as she kissed her fingers while describing the wine. We will find out.
After lunch we returned to the city to take the double decker bus tour. The previous tour was disembarking from the bus and one gentleman loudly provided a scathing critique of the $10 Euro tour. Most people in line departed and we discussed it. Peggy said that there were grumpy old men everywhere. I took the hint and we boarded. It turned out to a case of differing perceptions. At first the bus retraced where we had walked this morning and we did see some old buildings in disrepair. He had described them as ruined shacks. I saw them as villas to restore. We continued out of town and saw the “dirty rocks”. The rocks were actually islands and bays with well done beach condos and villas. One area was named Golfo Aranchi which to me sounds a lot like spider gulf. Nonetheless, it was beautiful and it made sense why people would build homes on the Emerald Coast of Sardinia. However, the cloud cover kept seas grey instead of turquoise.
The bus trip was a winner and so was the gelato that we bought form this nice little old lady while looking for elusive tablecloths. The visit was a success since I think I know why folks would come to Sardinia besides the little fish. We returned to the ship and I am trying to post this before we leave port as tomorrow will be a sea day and wifi will be out of affordability on the ship. The next posting will be from Malta. By the way, we watched a cute little Mama Mia like show of Motown and 50’s music last night. We tend to jump around and stay out of a rut. Enjoyed a glass of Sangiovese that the ship board wine guru was tasting. I got to show off my Brunello expertise which was earned at great expense.
Time to load some pictures and get lucky uploading this missive.