Right now I am sat in Hally’s, my favourite Parsons Green haunt, with a big coffee. To look at me, you would see deceptive remains of my holiday glow. This glow is disguising a horrid sickly virus causing my limbs to ache, and head want to explode with pressure. For the last three days I’ve been sleeping 16 hours at a time, waking up only to send whatsapps to my friends and lovely team at work. *gets out a violin*. Just less than a month ago, things could not be any more different. In order to get over my holiday blues and take my mind off feeling like poop, I have decided to tell you all about my Sardinian holiday adventures, paused by feverant bouts of nose-blowing and coffee slurping.
One of my best friends Aimee is my holiday buddy and general partner in crime. Last year we went on an incredible holiday to Barbados. This year we fancied somewhere closer to home, with gorgeous beaches, warm sea and enough culture to explore by car. No clubbing and very little drinking… we are 25 going on 45 really. #oldladiesontour
The adventure began on a Sunday night when I hadn’t started packing, blaming a 5 hour brunch, a Barre class that rendered my limbs too stiff to reach my suitcase cupboard, and the general pre-holiday blues where I feel a paralysing amount of anxiety for leaving everything I do in London, to go off the boil – dance classes, work, general excitement. What if I come back and don’t have a job anymore? What if I get fat? What if I can no longer do a press up? Fashion week was about to start… I was leaving the country. I am the only person I know who gets pre-holiday blues. If you find me the day before going away, I will be in a slightly anxious and subdued mood, you are very welcome to shake me, because it’s quite silly.
6am on Monday morning we arrived at Stanstead airport without any clue where to park the car. Aimee had pre-booked the extravagance of a long stay parking space because she, like the Queen, will not be found on a Megabus, you couldn’t pay her. SO, we drove around for all of about 5 minutes, and she was like “fck it, I’m parking here *in VERY random space* I’m an intelligent human, work in banking, finishing my PHD – not MY fault this airport is completely illogical and unhelpful. YOLO. It’s someone else’s problem if I can’t work out where I am supposed to bloody park. Stoopid airport.” *lifts hand break* *turns engine off*. And out we get! Coffee time! This act of reckless car abandon, set the tone for the rest of our holiday…
Once in Sardinia, it took nearly 2 hours to collect the convertible car we hired, except it wasn’t a convertible, it was a beastly and cumbersome 4×4 – just what you want to drive around small Italian streets. The next day we swapped, but it was bloody annoying having to do another trip to the airport. A word on Italian speed limits – if you are not doubling them, you are an unsafe, dangerous driver on the road, who might cause a crash. Of course we loved this, and wizzed around getting a free blow-dry and facelift in the process. Another Italian quirk I loved is how the elderly folk of Sardinia congregate like teenagers around coffee shops and supermarkets, queuing up for their bottles of wine, arguing, shouting and generally being rowdy fckers, in a way only the Italians know how – but into their 80’s. It was a lovely sight to behold: old, wrinkly and trouble. I hope to be like this when I’m old.
Some of the highlights:
An AWESOME boat trip out of this breathtaking marina called Villasimius. This boat trip started with Aimee’s refusal to board a coach to get to the harbour, “erm I’m not getting on a COACH”. We got to the harbour early and had a coffee, soaking up the gorgeous scenery. As the first to board the boat, we clambered up to the top deck and lay out our towels like true Brits. Not long after this, a burly Italian man appeared holding a baby girl. He said “Ciao!” then looked me up and down, before plonking the baby on my lap and disappearing off to have a gesticulating, shouty argument with the Captain. For all we know he might have been asking him some polite questions, there seems to be little way of telling the difference. As we set off along the west coast of the island, the entertaining rowdy crew, castles jutting out of the sea, deep blue water teaming with fish and feeling of warm sun on my back were all bliss. I jumped off the boat, swam quite a distance to a stunning beach – we did not take the little powerboat, this was obviously for people who can’t swim.
Another highlight was getting completely lost one night, trying to find a recommended restaurant somewhere we couldn’t pronounce. We ended up driving around cliffs and through mountain tunnels. The stars were so clear, twinkling diamonds in an inky blue black sky, the fresh air smelt of sea salt and evergreen oaks. I felt a pang of fondness for a giant catholic cross, lit up on the corner of a mountain road, above a sheer drop into the sea. In the daytime it was visible for miles and miles, just perched on the edge of a cliff, surrounded by speckled white sandy coves. We knew we were heading the right way whenever it appeared on the horizon. I was like “Jesus ahead! We are not lost!”. The roads wound tightly, wrapped around breathtaking forested mountain and provided a dangerous snaking race track for petrol-head Italians, and Aimee. Speeding around these coastal roads we could have been in a James Bond film.
Another beautiful place was Teuleda, with several little islands in swimming (or paddle boarding) distance off the white sandy beach. After swimming through lots of spiky sea grass and scraping myself on rocks, concealed by this sea grass… I arrived at this island, to meet a lovely mongrel dog who travelled back and forth to the main beach, hitchhiking on paddle boards.
I would say my only low-light was being manhandled by an octopus called Moritzio, on his small boat. Moritzio, if you are reading this, you need to calm down and preferably ditch the budgie smugglers.
Upon returning to Stanstead, and much to my surprise… the car was still there, unclamped.