We love traveling to places that you shouldn't visit. So: no leaning towers, no prefabricated sightseeing parking lots or lists of locations and positions that should portray the personality of a place. But when we plan our two-week road trip to Sardinia with the HYMER Grand Canyon, we still have no idea how wonderfully adventurous this destination will greet us.
What do you think is behind the year-marked yellow ferry stickers that we have seen so often on vehicles? Is there an alternative to package tourism on the island that is so close and yet so unknown to us? We want to find out and are planning a "blind date" with Sardinia. No speed dating. We also don't want to listen to friends trying to couple up or good advice from older generations.
It starts from Munich via South Tyrol to Livorno, from there we take the ferry to Sardinia. In the luggage of our “Hymi” we have a mountain of surfboards, climbing equipment, snowboards, skateboards, and SUPs (stand-up paddle boards), which we all want to use somehow.
The most beautiful surprises are always the places that tourists cannot see at first glance. This is how we discover a wild side of South Tyrol at our first stop. The navigation system guides us over the Stelvio Pass - a glacier ski area that can be reached via dreamy passes through an idyll of long forgotten times. On the other hand, the grooves of the snow groomers are completely fresh in the snow. So, get on the gondolas of the ski lift and enjoy the turns and carving action.
Portraying the snowboard day brings our love of photography with a turbo boost in Grang. So, we do not spend the evening preparing something edible, but racing up and down with the skateboards again and again to take pictures of each other in the Alpine panorama.
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The next destination, the ferry port in Livorno, is about 500 km from the Stelvio Pass. We make small bouldering stops to represent the legs and arms.
The landscape that passes by the window changes from the mountains in South Tyrol to the lake landscape near Lake Garda to the flat landscape of the Po Valley and finally Livorno.
A few hours by ferry from Livorno is Olbia. Sardinia with its typical deep blue water and hilly landscape can be spotted from afar.
Before we go there in search of our first surf spot, we leave the ferry crossing behind with a few cosy beers, which end the evening in light drunkenness and great anticipation for the predicted swell*. We are greeted by a breath-taking sunset that underscores a perfect start to our two-week date with Sardinia.
*Wave, swell, or wave energy that moves across the ocean, propagates, and eventually breaks as a wave on a coast.
The next morning, we stick our heads through the windows and analyse every movement of the water for the potentially perfect wave. Despite the plan to surf the first spot we found, greed for perhaps even better breaking waves continues to pull us along the coast road - only to find that the first spot is the best.
So, we come back and surf so much our spaghetti arms and the swell give up - and in the end we stand surfed and happy on our cliff, where we parked the camper van. The waves, which previously hit violently against stones, slowly transform into a mirror-smooth surface. The evening light enchants the sky and the sea in a kitsch painting of pink, purple and orange.
We had no idea that Sardinia would greet us in such a wonderful, adventurous way.
Snowboard and surfboard master
Sardinia is diverse. In order to get to know even more facets of the island, we go with our SUPs in search of boulder rocks over the sea. Exceptionally, we look for a well-developed climbing area, which we use - just as exceptionally - to follow a friend's tip. The path leads us to an old quarry with a breath-taking view of a lake in the valley. There are routes of all levels of difficulty so that we can slowly approach the area. While climbing, we both independently discovered the same perfect spot to stay at the lake: a small road that leads directly into the lake.
When we wake up there the next morning, the island shows its romantic character again: the rising sun breaks through the mist that covers the lake and reflects gold in the mirror-smooth water. We go swimming and make coffee in our galley. On such a morning, you feel that coincidence is a good companion and with its help you can land in the right place at the right time.
House by the lake
After the morning romance, we drive south along the lake. On a stopover, we take a closer look at an abandoned house on the edge of an old dam. We amuse ourselves with scary stories so that we don't let the oppressive feeling of the old building approach us. Since the water normally reaches the 1st floor of the house and it is protected with a considerable number of signs, fences and walls, we are certainly only a small number of guests who have been able to enter here in the recent past.
In order not to lose the chance and the good karma that have been on our side so far, we bring a small bouquet of flowers to the house spirits, which immediately draws the attention of a cat that creeps out of nowhere.
In front of the house we discover a small, neglected fountain, half of which is buried with dust. With "do-it-yourself shovels" and leaf brooms, we somewhat restore the "Backyard Bowl" to skate it in a small session. The cat watches us while eating a lizard. Cinema for our four-legged friend.
After this exhilarating skate session, we are grateful for this coincidence, the house, the cat, and this unique skate spot. Exhausted and happy, we continue south - towards the large south-east swell forecast.
In the next few days, however, this will bring some rain, which seems to keep the few tourists away anyway. When exploring unknown surf spots, it is almost mesmerizing to see empty waves rolling over the rocky sea floor and throwing themselves over themselves in perfect formation. We boldly plunge into the water. The barrel* behind us is big enough to fit crouched - but the water is only about 30 cm deep. This late realisation cost us the nose on a surfboard and a camera that now lies on the Sardinian sea floor. Despite several small wounds, we ended up feeling lucky and deprived of our breath on the camping chairs in front of our HYMER.
*A barrel is created when a wave breaks over. This creates a barrel-like tube or tunnel through which you can surf at sufficient speed.
The fantastic feeling of happiness is only clouded by our upcoming departure. The ferry ride including the changeover to wintertime, a foggy arrival on the mainland and the descent of the ferry ramp - all very sad. Before we know it, Sardinia with all its adventures and positive surprises is already out of sight of the rear-view mirror - unfortunately.
Whether you prefer to discover the world with social media hashtags, travel guides, reports and apps, or prefer to take chance and blind date as inspiration for travel. We can only say from experience that the world offers an infinite number of spots whose discovery is only waiting for us. To sum up, our blind date with Sardinia was a complete success. We have agreed to see each other again...
It's a match!
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