Bella Sardegna

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SardiniaAfter five months of Kimchi and Korea, my vacation was more than welcome (don’t get me wrong, though, I had and I’m still having a great time in Korea, it can just be, well, exhausting at times). Luckily Thorsten and Alex were able to join in for some climbing and it didn’t take much to convince us that Sardinia would be the perfect place to go. However the trip started with a moment of shock when we discovered that Alex’ VW leaked some oil and a mechanic advised us not to use the car as there was immediate danger of fire. As you can imagine we weren’t too impressed at gave it a shot anyway. And in order to come to the point – the car was just fine and never caught fire! | View gallery
Some six hours later we arrived in Livorno where we waited for the ferry that would take us and pleasantly few tourists to Golfo Aranci. A shut-down bar on board offered a calm and dark place to sleep and early in the next morning we set foot or rather tyre on Sardinia.
We were headed for Cala Gonone, a small village by the sea, surrounded by several climbing areas. En route we had breakfast at a deserted beach and started climbing at S’atta Ruia, a sector right at the doorsteps of Dorgali’s.
The first night was spent under a chapel’s roof on a hill, overlooking Dorgali; a good choice as we found out later when it started to rain every now and then.
The next day’s detination was the bay of Cala Fuili. The sun showed her face a few times and we got an idea what’s so nice about climbing in Sardinia: this combination of beaches, crystal clear water, and good rock right besides.
We spent these first two days mainly doing easier stuff, trying to get used to climbing outdoors again after the long winter break; in fact I hadn’t been climbing properly for almost five months due to an annoying shoulder injury so I tried to take it slow and wasn’t expecting too much of a performance. After this warming up phase we had planned to spend some time in Jerzu. It’s a small town up in the mountains and it was actually hidden in thick clouds when we arrived. Only a few minutes the sun came through, before fog and mist made for a very wet dinner. We still managed to light a campfire and sat around it for a while, hoping for the weather to clear up over night.
Well, not quite. The morning was as grey as the evening and we didn’t even bother the hike up to the cliff only to find out in the end that the rock was to wet to climb on. Instead, we drove further inland to Isili which is one of the best known sport climbing areas of Sardinia. A good decision: the sun was shining and dried our wet things in a few hours, and it was finally time for some shirt-less climbing.
Steep walls with lots of pockets are the most common style in Isili. But not only in terms of climbing, Isili is a great place to hang out: a little stream runs from a lake through the green, winding valley, and at this time of the year the grass was littered with flowers and blooming trees.
On our second day in Isili, Annina joined our party and we enjoyed another two days of climbing in best weather. Only the strong mistral wind made it a little cold sometimes and we ended up pitching the tents again after we had spent the first nights under the stars.
Then it was time again to move on: Cala Goloritze, a hidden little bay on the Eastern coast. And there in particular, the 140m high limestone peak of Aguglia Goloritze had woken our interest.
After a chaotic night with horny donkeys yelling out for their partners and in which Alex and I had to get up and pitch the tent in pouring rain, the morning was calm again and looked very promising.
A steep trail lead up to a plateau on one side and then much further down to the sea on the other sidetowards the Aguglia. We climbed two parallel routes of five pitches up to the small summit that offers just enough room for all four of us. The whole time we were enjoying great views of the beach and the sea down low and some tourists that approached the bay either the way we had come or by boat from Cala Gonone. The cold wind and the fact that the sun had long disappeared behind some mountains forced us to go down after only a short snack and some mandatory summit shots. It had also become too cold for the planned swim in the sea (way too freezing for my liking anyway) and we started the walk back to the car.
A strenuous hike and an Italian pizza later we were on the road again back to Cala Gonone where we stayed again at a hidden camping spot under olive trees with sea views.
At the end of another day at Cala Fuili we planned to hike to Cala Luna and stay there over night. The guide book states something along “a good hour walk in comfortable terrain” – well, my definition of comfortable is slightly different to what we found and it took us more than two hours plus one hour to actually find that bloody beach once we arrived at the bay in pitch black. And I’m not even counting my unintended detour to another bay which pretty quickly turned out to be the wrong one. But we eventually found the beach and took shelter in a large cave where a group of Italians and Spaniards had already lit a fire.
Luckily the next morning made us really appreciate every little bit of last night’s ordeal – the beach was indeed amazing and even the climbing was actually quite good. Definitely a spot worth visiting – next time I’m probably gonna rent a boat in Cala Gonone though …
I for my part took it easy and spent the day lying in the sun and taking pictures while the others were climbing some tufas.
The hike back to the car in the afternoon only took a little more than one hour but nevertheless were we happy to get rid of our heavy packs. And then there was only time left for a little more climbing and sun baking at Cala Fuili before we took the ferry back to the mainland and arrived at home just in time for the Easter egg hunt | View gallery

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