John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Friday 22 July 2016

[Thursday 21 July 2016]

Le Palme Hotel & Resort, Porto Cervo, Sardinia
Baja Sardinia

We got up ca.8.30am. I shaved and showered when Janet vacated the bathroom, and we went down for breakfast. There were tables under umbrellas on the terrace overlooking the pool, but we as always[i] sat under cover in the porticoed part of the terrace within the building. Nevertheless, wasps repeatedly swooping and hovering around were a nuisance. Our assigned table for dinner, “82”, was there, and we usually sat at that for other meals too. I had Kellogg’s corn flakes from the pile of boxes of individual servings, followed by toast and cherry jam. (There was bacon available, but I tried some translucently micro-thin slices of it yesterday, and found it chewy and unpalatable.)
[i] As always—except once, when it rained, and the tables were set up in the room behind the terrace, adjacent to where the buffet was situated.

We went back to the room, and a little before 10.30am went down to wait for the shuttle minibus. There were seats built into the wall of the small porch just outside the entrance door, and we sat on one, waiting for the vehicle to come through the arch into the roofed access bay beside us. (If that doesn’t make sense, see “15:34:06 (detail 1)”, below.)

The minibus deposited us at a bus shelter at the top of the hill above Baja Sardinia. Across the road were Italian-style umbrella pine trees. We walked down, in a northerly direction towards the beach. It looked as if it was going to be a soulless tourist-resort similar to the other two we visited yesterday, but we hadn’t gone a hundred yards before we saw a church, which redeemed the place in our eyes. When fire and sulphur rain down from heaven on Porto Cervo (Sodom) and Poltu Quatu (Gomorrah), Baja Sardinia will be spared!

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:43:30
Church in Baja Sardinia: interior

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:45:22
Church in Baja Sardinia: one of two shells in the rear wall containing “holy water”

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:45:40
Church in Baja Sardinia: side windows depicting the stations of the cross

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:46:56
Church in Baja Sardinia: closer views of the forward part of the church

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:47:14
Church in Baja Sardinia: closer views of the forward part of the church

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:47:50
Church in Baja Sardinia: closer views of the forward part of the church

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:49:46
Church in Baja Sardinia: external view

We continued down the straight road to the point where it turned right and went on eastwards parallel to the beach. We, however, turned left, where there were shops and bars, etc. Janet wrote: “Much better day really for mooching around. Sunny spells and occasionally overcast and a welcome breeze.”

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:54:30
Baja Sardinia: seafront view to the right

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:54:44
Baja Sardinia: view behind

Friday 22 July 2016 — 10:55:08
Baja Sardinia: seafront view to the left

We had drinks at one of the seafront bars: I a 0.4ℓ glass of Ichnusa beer on tap, and Janet a couple of diet colas.

Friday 22 July 2016 — 11:11:18
Baja Sardinia: drinks in a seafront bar

Then we continued to the corner of the bay, and walked a short way along a path bordering the west side of the bay.

Friday 22 July 2016 — 11:33:54
Baja Sardinia: Casablanca restaurant, at the left corner of the bay

Friday 22 July 2016 — 11:35:46
Baja Sardinia: views from farther leftwards

Janet remarked on the “crystal clear water in varying shades of blue”.

Friday 22 July 2016 — 11:36:32
Baja Sardinia: views from farther leftwards

Friday 22 July 2016 — 11:36:48
Baja Sardinia: views from farther leftwards

Friday 22 July 2016 — 11:38:46
Baja Sardinia: views from farther leftwards

Back in the shops-and-bars area, where there’s a road heading away from the sea, we found an ATM (called “Bancomat” over there) and withdrew perhaps €150, and visited a gift-shop and bought two large bottles of water, a pack of playing cards, and two postcards with stamps. We also found an English- or Irish-style pub, rather oddly named “The Old Chicken’s Pub”, where I spotted Franziskaner Weissbier glasses so had a bottle of the same, and Janet had a couple of Coca Cola Zero. My drink came with nibbles: a little bowl of crisps and a little bottle filled with peanuts. As I stood at the bar about to settle the bill I also had an Espresso.

Friday 22 July 2016 — 12:01:30
Baja Sardinia: in The Old Chicken’s Pub

Friday 22 July 2016 — 12:01:44
Baja Sardinia: in The Old Chicken’s Pub

Janet records: “There had been a very brief shower when we’d been seated in The Chicken’s bar.” Before we went back for the minibus, we stopped at an “enoteca”, which also sold bakery confections, and Janet “bought a large pack of three different types of small Italian ‘cakes’, which were quite cheap at €5.” She has a holiday from her calorie-controlled diet one day a week, usually Saturdays; but because no shuttle buses ran on Sundays, and we were therefore planning to stay in the hotel and its park, it was going to be Sunday this week. The bus shelter was in a turnoff from the road, and just across from it were a couple of booths advertising tours and excursions. We’d seen them when we arrived. We were due to see the Thomson/TUI rep this evening, but figured that it wouldn’t harm us to see what trips we could sort out for ourselves. So we enquired at one of the booths, and were told about an excursion on Tuesday for €75 each to Alghero on the opposite side of the island. The lady in the booth gave us a map, and wrote on it pickup arrangements: we wouldn’t have to go there; they would pick us up from the hotel.

“8.15 Hotel Le Palme
“[Return] 18–18:30”

As she was going into great detail the minibus arrived, but the man with her knew the driver and had a word with him. It seemed a little strange that not even a deposit was asked for in advance — yet encouraging, for they were clearly not going to rob us! The worst case would be their not turning up on Tuesday. We got back to the hotel ca.1am, and after returning to the room we went down for lunch. As always, I took my refilled bottle of water — for the bar prices WERE robbery! We had a stroll around in the hotel’s park, and discovered a bar/gelateria that wasn’t owned by the hotel. Janet was excited about the gelati on offer, and looked forward to her Sunday “pig-out day”. We weren’t carrying cash, because sales in the hotel proper are charged to the guests’ bill; so went back to the room for some, then returned. I had two bottles of Ichnusa @ €3 apiece, and Janet had two Coca Cola Zero for the same price.

Friday 22 July 2016 — 14:57:20
Drinks in Bar Le Vele (“the sails”) on the Hotel Le Palme estate

Then we had another stroll. “It rained briefly,” Janet recalled.

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:04:18
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:04:32
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:05:38
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:07:10
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate: bright flowers

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:26:14
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:34:06
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate: right, entrance to reception; upper left, our room

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:34:06 (detail 1)
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate: entrance to reception

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:34:06 (detail 2)
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate: upper left, our room

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:34:36
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate: zoomed-in view of the door to our room

Friday 22 July 2016 — 15:34:54
Views of the Hotel Le Palme estate: more zoomed-in view of the door to our room

We returned to the room a little after 3.30pm. I lay on the bed and dozed off. At 6.30pm we went down to reception to meet the Thomson/TUI rep, Santiago, who came from Palma, Mallorca. I pointed out that the Thompson/TUI information was all in German, and he agreed with me that there was no information in English. Simple matter of fact! End of story! No remedial action proposed! I was disappointed about that. What’s more, he had no excursions to offer that interested us during the days remaining of our holiday. The excursion on the Trenino Verde (“little green train”) was scheduled for Thursdays — a bit late for us, really, since that was yesterday! We’d already made our own arrangements to visit Alghero. He was friendly enough, but not a lot of use to us. Oh, he DID suggest that we ask at reception about availability of excursions from other providers. And we did, and were told about two: the Trenino Verde tomorrow, and visits to archaeological sites on Monday. I made notes.

The pickup time tomorrow would be 9.15am from the hotel. We’d get the “Green Train” at 9.50am from the station at Arzachena and arrive at Tempio at 11:30. There we’d have lunch and have free time. The journey back from Tempio would be by bus, departing at 15:30, arriving back in Arzachena at 16:50, where we’d visit a museum from 17:00. Price: €50 apiece. We agreed to that; the receptionist phoned to book; and we paid her €20 deposit.

There was a choice of morning or afternoon departure for the Monday excursion, which was for a half-day; we elected for the morning, which would be 9.00am. Price: €55 apiece. She phoned to book that also, but we weren’t asked for a deposit for that. (Perhaps because the provider for both was one and the same, a single deposit was sufficient expression of good will.) By now it was ca.7.15pm, so we went back to the earlier-discovered bar, and I had an “aperativo”. They were now out of Coca Cola Zero, so Janet didn’t have a drink. I asked for a Campari and soda, but what I got came out of a small bottle: a “Camprisoda”: €3. Genuine Campari and soda, the waiter assured me. Quite a strong mix, too. Dinner was a bit strange: there was a full buffet provided, to which one was directed for the first course; for second course (soup, etc.) and main course the selection was made from a menu; then for dessert there was a choice of menu or buffet. We both had entrecôte steak, served medium-rare, which we enjoyed. (Some strong English mustard wouldn’t have gone amiss, though.) Janet asked for hers without vegetables; I left my arty-farty little cone of vegetables almost intact, because it was zucchini and aubergines, which I dislike, topped with a piece of fennel which I would have liked if it hadn’t been too bitter to eat. I chose a selection of Sardinian cheeses for dessert; they were served with a little shallow dish of syrup on the plate, perhaps maple. (I’ve never knowingly had maple syrup, so I couldn’t tell what this was; but it had a flavour that was not just sweet.) One or two of the little cheese wedges were quite strong flavoured; one was tasteless, like mozzarella. “[John] was feeling very hot after we’d eaten,” Janet wrote, “so I suggested a stroll in the park for fresh air.” We discovered a convenience store near our earlier-discovered bar. It was just closing so we couldn’t investigate further. Transferred 27 photos from my camera to the WD Elements HDD (21:19–21:21). Janet was in bed before 10.30pm; I think I did some diary write-up before myself turning in.

[Saturday 23 July 2016]

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