Cagliari to Victoria - Springtime Spin in Sardinia 2019 - CycleBlaze

June 12, 2019

Cagliari to Victoria

The travel day of our month long cycle tour has finally arrived. We loved our time in Sardinia. The people we've met and the experiences with them, however brief, won't be soon forgotten. But as always, it’s a great feeling to be heading home to our familiar and comfortable surroundings. 

Our flight on Vueling Airlines was to depart Cagliari at 1:20 pm so we had plenty of time for one last stroll to the San Benedetto Market. After breakfast, I packaged our wifi device in its return envelope so we could post it back to Lyon. 

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Apparently, post boxes are not very common in Cagliari nowadays so Ignazio had kindly done the research for us and told us where we could find one. He had also arranged for a cab to take us to the train station at 10am where we would catch the train to the airport. Neither jaunt was more than 10 minutes so we opted to see the market and the jacaranda trees on our way to the post box.

Jacaranda trees line the streets in Cagliari.
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We always photograph this step as evidence that we really have posted it and in this case we thought it was truly warranted. My fingers were crossed as I slid the package in the slot.

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You might wonder why we rented the wifi device from Lyon. It’s simply that Hippocket Wifi is located in Lyon. I have rented from them before and they had sent me a Black Friday offer I couldn't refuse last fall, $97.00 CAD for the 30 days of 1G/day.  The device actually connects up to 10 devices to the best signal available from several providers. We were pleased with the service this year, which most often came from Wind mobile.

San Benedetto Market was inaugurated on June 1, 1957 and with its 8,000 square metres on two floors, is one of the largest city markets in Europe. I envy European cities for their markets.

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The market stalls looked as good as ever and were sporting even more fruits and veggies than a month ago. We soaked up the cool air of the market, infused with the scent of fresh cherries, tomatoes, herbs, basil, onions, lemons, oranges, peaches, and...well, you get the picture. The vendors each try to out-do their neighbours with their inventive displays. The fellow in Box 99 had woven dark red cherries into huge clusters and hung them so they draped above the display. There were similarly beautiful clusters of herbs, lettuces and carrots draped from the awnings of each stand to lure and tempt you with every step you take. I inhaled as much as I could as I passed the cheese stalls. I know I will miss the cheese. I always do.

I was smitten with these hand woven clusters of cherries.
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The vendors are so creative. I bet you haven't thought of cabbage as a decoration.
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There were tomatoes of every size and shape.
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Judging by this market, the local Sardinians are definitely meat eaters (ditto for seafood of all kinds). The butchers are skilled and the displays had more kinds and cuts of fresh meat than I think I've ever seen in one place, including the largest turkey I have ever seen. While we didn't take pictures of the meats, I couldn't resist this picture for the dogs out there. I highly doubt a Sardinian dog would ever get to wrap its chops around this shin bone, but one can always imagine the satisfaction they'd have if they were to receive one.

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The flower and non-food vendors were located outside the market. Here you could buy a dress or a t-shirt, men's and women's lingerie, iphone accessories, shoes or one of these vintage lace tablecloths. At home, we see these lacey pretties of yore in our second-hand stores. I wonder if they will ever make a comeback. 

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Our cab arrived at the B&B on time and drove us to the stazione. The train tickets were about 1.50 euro each. It was just a 10 minute train ride, but I can't think of any other city whose airport fares can measure up to this.

All packed up and ready for departure. Bikes are in the Sampsonite suitcases. Clothes are in the carry-on bags.
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Aeroporto Calgliari Elmas (CAG)
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Cagliari departures.
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Flamingoes were never close enough for us to get a shot like this.
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This is a replica of a Nuraghic sculpture (Bronze Age) of unknown significance.
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An excellent aerial photograph of the Nuragic village, Su Nuraxis, near Barumini.
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When we told our friends we were planning a trip to Sardinia, there were three common responses: 1) why Sardinia 2) it's mountainous isn't it? 3) I have no idea where Sardinia is (it was even confused with Sarnia). This relief map of Sardinia was displayed in the window of a bookstore at the airport and partially answers the second response. Yes, there are mountains but there are also some flat areas. 

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I took a long pause when I saw this enormous 12' x 20' advert in the airport.  I recognized the name as a place we had ridden past in the middle of the hot dry scrubby hills one day.  Nearby were the original spa's abandoned buildings, some partially decaying and some partly constructed concrete shells, someone's broken dreams. It was actually a pretty depressing scene, but what really had us scratching our heads as we rode past was a fancy helicopter parked on a pad near the road. We were flummoxed at the time but the coin dropped as soon as I saw this billboard. I would take one of the beaches of Sardinia over this any day, but each to their own.

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Here's something I'm going to miss: gelato at any time of day. The Sardinians take great pride in their gelato and I heartily applaud this. Although it wasn't open, this cute little Piaggio Ape in the airport was a gelato stand.

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Looking southwest from the airport, the only part of Sardinia we didn't ride through.
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One last view of Cagliari. Ciao, Sardinia.
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We caught the shuttle to a hotel not far from the Barcelona airport and stayed the night there before our long journey back home with Lufthansa Thursday morning. 

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When I booked the flights back in January, Lufthansa had a good price to Barcelona from Victoria but I couldn't find a good connection to Sardinia. This is why I decided to break the flights up and have an overnight in Barcelona. What we saved on airfare with Vueling was spent on the hotel at BCN, but it worked so very well for us. We would do it again as it meant we were not nearly so weary and the jet lag wasn't much of an issue. 

Our dear friend, Leslie had picked up our pup, Tashi, from the kennel and was there to greet us at YYJ.  She dropped us off at home with a care package included fresh local strawberries and yogurt. Her TLC was especially appreciated because Leslie was missing the final NBA playoff game between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors, which had captivated the whole country. As we rolled into our driveway, we all watched eagerly on David's iphone as the final two minutes played out. It was history in the making as the Toronto Raptors won 114 to 110 to become the first ever Canadian team to win the NBA title. With that, we let out our victory whoops in the driveway at 8:30 pm and went straight to bed.

We weren't the only ones ready for a good sleep. Tashi also had some catching up to do. Zzzzzzz.
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So, that's a wrap for our 2019 cycle tour of Sardinia. I always enjoy reading other people's final thoughts on their experiences so I will let these perk for a bit and then post one final page in this journal.

Thank-you for reading!

Arrivederci.

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Rachael AndersonIt was great journal, I’m sorry to see it end. We look forward to seeing you in Victoria.
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