A glorious winter Sunday – Porto San Paolo, Sardinia, Italy

We had a more leisurely start as it is Sunday and found a bit of rough ground to take the dogs for a walk off lead before breakfast. I was just getting my bike ready to go for my Sunday ride when the church across the way started piping out Christmas carols on loud speaker 😂 at about 10am. Writing the blog now at 6pm and they have piped up again. Not sure if it is the congregation singing or pre-recorded, I quite like it, all quite festive. I guess a bit of a Catholic call to prayer. Kev was less enthused 😂

Today the target on my bike was to make it to the small inland village of Padru in the hills after a failed attempt yesterday. I found a nice circular route via the edge of Olbia to Padru. Tyres pumped up and sun shining, off I went. A really good run up to the edge of Olbia, past the airport. Then it seems whoever posted this route did circles of Olbia as my Sat-Nav just went into melt down. Whichever way I went it wanted me to u-turn, not handy on the “wrong” side of the road in a city on a bike. Anyway, with a bit of Google maps cross referencing I eventually got back on my way to Loiri.

I had now added quite a bit of time and was in need to the loo. I decided as I was wearing bib shorts with braces, the sensible option was to find a café and grab a coffee, not least because we have cracked the glass on our coffee pot and I was missing my daily shot. I carried my bike up the steps and left it by a table and marched in to the very busy bar / cafe with my purple face (Loiri is on a hill) and my cycling gear… which just happens to be in England Rugby colours. I did get a few bemused looks from the mostly male clientele 😂 However, I did get a a really very lovely smooth coffee ☕️😁

Onwards to Padru and a nice 580ft hill to climb 🚴‍♂️ Padru is a nice village a few bars and a nice local feel to it, no streets of empty villas. I went to locate the potential parking space for Tue / Wed when we will be back this way. It was not the easiest to find the entrance to so was pleased to have had the chance of a pre-run. Nice to see people around and heading out for coffees etc.

So after all my uphill slog, I was rewarded with nearly 3 miles downhill, flying past the point I reached yesterday. I hit the coast road and turned north toward Porto San Paolo. All down this coastline the view is dominated by the presence of Isola Tavolara (island), an 1854ft high limestone massif, 5 kilometres long and 1km wide just off the coast. It appears to have sheer cliffs straight out of the sea but according to Wikipedia there is actually a small handful of families that live there.

You can just see the flyover below that I got to yesterday. Successfully further up the hill today

As I cycled along I was trying to get a photo but just could not get the view through the trees etc. I saw a sign to Porto Taverna only 1km to the coast and thought I would head down to the shore to take a look. I followed the road to the coast and found the most perfect beach restaurant with literally every table taken, otherwise I think I would have been calling Kev to come and meet me. They have even built a Christmas tree on the beach outside, with a perfect uninterrupted view of Isola Tavolara behind. Such was the Instagram potential of the shot I had to wait inline to get a photo as all the diners arriving and leaving stopped to get a photo 😂

Finally arriving back to the van after a very leisurely 36 miles, taking me just over 100 miles for the week. What a fabulous chilled out ride in the sunshine. Texts with my usual cycle buddy, Charlotte back at home reminds how lucky I am to be getting out like this in the winter, as she is battling through frost and driving rain. The scenery is gorgeous here, green hills inland as far as the eye can see. The roads a mixture of perfectly smooth pristine tarmac and completely broken up and pot holed. Limited traffic who mainly just get past you swiftly and generally not too close.

Kev set off on his bike as soon as I got back and headed off to explore the marina in Porto San Paolo. However, it seems there was not much to see there, so we packed the bikes back on the rack and grabbed a very late lunch.

Christmas scenes on the beach at Porto Taverna

At about 4pm we decided to have a wander into the village with the dogs as the World Cup Final was showing, just to see if that registered as an event. The little bar was fairly quiet with very few people paying any attention to the tv showing the game. I guess if Italy had got through it would have been rather different.

We both got a drink and watched as literally every table filled up in the little café bar. Mostly groups of families and friends, mainly drinking coffee. Not sure if they had been for a Sunday walk and called in, perhaps a walk before dinner or maybe even before afternoon church service or a combination of the above. However, it was busy and as tables emptied, they were quickly refilled. Lizzy and Lola enjoyed much attention, as they have everywhere in Sardinia. Border Terrier’s are clearly very uncommon here.

Back to the van for dinner and Quins v Racing 92 in the Heineken Rugby Cup bringing an end to a fairly perfect Sunday.

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