A woman with a delayed luggage is not a great thing to look at, so I ask my husband to head directly to the Alamo car rental office a few minutes walk from the Elmas airport in Cagliari without talking too much if he wisely chooses to avoid unnecessary discussions.
" Eccola qui" ( there it is) another very tanned manager named Marco with a white shirt and blue pants says while handing the keys to my husband. We thank him and when he finds out we are journalists he suggests although it might take longer, to take the panoramic coastal road if we wish to enjoy the 306 sea views and maraviglioso landscape he says noisily kissing the tips of his fingers with his lips . Marco then shows us on a map the several pitstops we are expected to make if we decide to explore different beaches, some isolated, some less but apparently all unique marvels of nature.
From Cagliari before heading to the South East region of Villasimius, where our hotel is located , there would be Su Giudeu, then Port Giunco right after , los scoglio di Pepping in Castiadas, Cala Colorize in Baunei and after that I stop him because the day has been tremendously long, I want to take the highway , arrive to the hotel eat my dinner and go to sleep. The traffic on the via Nazionale is humongous and contributes to my increasing bad mood. I only see cars, trucks and on the SS125 highway very long dark tunnel. This looks very different from Olbia landscape to the Costa Emeralda. So far I haven't captured any glimpse of the blue Mediterranean sea. We drive for about an hour the GPS tells us at the roundabout to turn left to a ramp that will take us to Villasimius. We then turn to via delle Azzalee, what an auspicious name , so far bushes , bushes , some rosemary and almost sunset. Via Capo Carbonara, slight left, slight left, destination says the GPS to our right.
Set in the countryside "4 minutes' walk from a beach" tells us the concierge, the Cala Caterina hotel is apparently also 1.3 km from Spiaggia di Capo Carbonara and 3.4 km from Tanka Golf and Country Club.
The suggestive bright entrance hall hacienda style and looking like a private Villa, is surrounded by bougainvillea's filled patios and terraces overlooking a lush garden and a luminous outdoor pool in the shape of a Brazilian caju nut. With sea view from afar, sun loungers and an Oriental style gazebo under Tunisian palm trees where we are told we can enjoy local spa treatments. At our left include an elegant restaurant with right to a special tented room that features seafood degustation at candlelights coming from brass lanterns. I finally hear my breathing in and out as I explore this tranquil oasis a mix of Tunis ( not far from here) and perhaps a reminder of the Palm Springs desert.
"In the region… " says Sabrina the lovely and tiny concierge after I asked her were I could buy clothes and underwear tomorrow ( no sign of my luggage at the horizon) "… you will be able to see some warning towers, used in the 16th century to defend the sea from the Barbary Corsairs, who patrolled this area ready to plunder it. These towers have become the most important trace of the history of Villasimius and Sardinia, they are the keepers of the past of Sardinia. The historical and cultural heritage of Villasimius is kept in the Council Archaeological Museum near your shopping area, you will discover numerous finds, art pieces and carefully studied exhibitions that will fascinate the visitors with stories from the Phoenician, Roman and Punic cultures, who have dominated this area over centuries interest. I listen to her but pay attention to the Sardinian cotton pillows on the elegant wicker sofa, probably from the hand woven predominantly by women in the Mandrolisai hills, pretty close to Oristano and filled with interesting symbols evoking ancient story and the pristine white with a touch of blue, traditional rugs on the floor, an ancient and revered art in Sardinia, specifically in Samugheo, Sardinia’s weaving capital and this terra-cotta wall washed stuccoes around us….. Ohh shis smells so much like authentic Italy!
And after having browsed through the hotel library's 8500 books, divided into sections in English, French and German I finally indulged into a long, long shower with the right to view of a full moon over centenary pine trees illuminated by the sounds of crickets and the dense starry night. Tomorrow after all is another day.
Hotel: Cala Caterina