‘Monumentiaperti’ Alghero

The 2nd weekend in May, each year in Sardinia is special. The island opens up all the religious monuments, churches, museums and some other related places of interest for free, to help encourage the locals and tourists alike to visit these places and celebrate the rich history of the island and perhaps learn something of Sardinia’s past. Local school children are present in each monument to help guide the visitors around and talk knowledgeably about the monuments history and elaborate on the important points of interest. It never fails to surprise me however, how poorly advertised events such as these are! The May Day Nautical event a few weeks ago appeared to be very badly advertised too, which is such a shame when clearly a lot of hard work and time has gone into organising such events.

This year we were able to take advantage of this opportunity and visited many sights in and around Alghero, some of which we had visited before and others which we were visiting for the 1st time. We climbed to the top of the Bell Tower of Saint Mary Cathedral and were able to see right over the roof tops of Alghero and across the sea to Capo Caccia and beyond. The views were spectacular and well worth the climb to the top.

Duomo Alghero, viewed from the Bell Tower
View over Alghero Marina and the new town
Capo Caccia viewed from the Bell Tower

We also visited the Church of San Francesco and the cloister which date back to the Gothic period, end of 15th century and the very well preserved, very precious Church of Santa Barbara with it wonderful, colourful painted walls and ceiling.

Cloister of the Church of San Francesco

There are so many interesting, historical monuments and churches in Alghero that we have still yet to visit all of them, but my favorite so far is the small and beautiful Church of Saint Barbara.

Alghero Comes Alive on May Day!

May Day celebrations kicked off on Wednesday with a Latina Boat Regatta and the port was filled with market stalls from all over Northern Sardinia. It was a lovely day weather wise too and Andrea Jensen had her first ‘Mini Cruise’, evening trip. We attracted an audience as we hoisted the Mizzen sail in the marina and followed this with the main sail going up soon after. We raised 4 sails in total and sailed slowly and elegantly past the old town wall. There were on-lookers all along the wall and out past Villa Las Tronas. We clearly looked impressive! We popped the cork on a few bottles of Akenta and shared this out among our delighted guests. Aah the start of summer at last, such a great feeling.

Traditional Latina Boats line up in Alghero Marina

These Latina boats look lovely in the marina, ready for the Regatta tomorrow

These lovely traditional boats are along side us for the next few days in Alghero Marina. Tomorrow they will take part in a May Day Regatta. We will hopefully watch it all happening out on the water in Alghero Bay. The sails on these boats are not easy to master, so it takes well practiced sailors to skipper them. All adds to the fun I’m sure.

So the season has started quite well with a late Easter

We have had some nice trips out on the water over the Easter holiday and great guests on board, who have all been from Germany to date. The new crew are settling in very well, we are pleased that they have enjoyed the work so far, having been here only a week and a half! The weather has been mixed in between the trips, some rainy and windy days, but that does not seem to have deterred their enthusiasm. They are very keen to help which is just what we need.

The work on the boat continues between trips and Andrea Jensen really is looking spectacular with her new bright hull colours and varnished brightworks. We think she looks the best ever. It’s amazing what another pair of hands allows us to achieve. The maintenance list is definitely getting shorter by the day.

Alghero is starting to come alive with bars and market stalls popping up all over. Many locals have had a long Easter holiday with Labour Day bank holiday all rolled into one long break for them to spend with their families. The Ramparts around the Old Town have been buzzing with buskers and street entertainers all trying to make a few euros! But we are getting a bit tired of the same songs being sung over and over. Please learn a new tune, that’s our request!

First Day Trip of the Season under our belt

Ant and Ella hard at work with our German guests onboard for the day

Good Friday 2019 and we went out on our 1st day trip of the season. We had a full boat thanks to Matt and his family choosing a day out with Andrea Jensen. Everyone onboard seemed to enjoy the great scenery along the way. Sorry there were no Dolphins today!

Ant is Up the Mizzen Mast

Nice day for a bit of block replacement

The wind dropped and the sun shone so why not get our new volunteer to climb the mast? Welcome on board Ant and Ella! No time to waste, we start our fabulous day trips in 3 days time and there is still lots to do
(I cannot believe its Easter already). Something important is missing from the boat? Yes you guessed it, the SAILS! We are not going to get far with out them. But before they can go back on we had some blocks to change at the top of the MIzzen mast. Thankfully we had a brave volunteer. Thanks Ant!

Ella, in the meantime was getting to work on some sanding and painting. Those all important finishing touches make all the difference! Great work guys. Thanks.

Rainy week in Villanova Monteleone

We still have a lot to finish off on the boat before next week which is Easter. We want to be ready for paying guests by 19th April. Our pre season on-line bookings are very slow this year and we think maybe Brexit is to blame. But that is all I am going to say about that! Our volunteer crew arrive from the UK on Sunday too, which will mean lots of training needs to start next week and we hope they catch on quick!

So back to Villanova Monteleone, we came here at the weekend due to the rain forecast in Alghero. I have posted some pics which I took this morning from our roof top terrace. As you can see the sky is a bit gloomy, but we never tire of the fantastic views across Monte Minerva, Rocca Doria and beyond, which we overlook from our roof top vantage point. Isn’t it stunning? We are 576 meters up above Alghero and on average it’s about 5C cooler up here, so today it was 8.5C when we go up, a bit chilly!

Our mountain top village is very rural and very traditional Sardo, that’s why we love it. It’s worlds apart from bustling Alghero city, but only 23 Km away. There are about 2,000 inhabitants who rely heavily on a Pastoral existence, most men being farmers, shepherds mainly. Families tend to share a small holding, somewhere in the surrounding countryside with small numbers of sheep, goats and cattle (and of course the loyal sheep dogs) which provide both their food and livelihoods. There is a large, local modern looking dairy cooperative in the village, which employs locals making very well known Pecorino cheese for the export market mainly. The locals speak Sardo, not Italian (so much for us trying to learn Italian, which we are doing, all be it very slowly) and are predominantly erderly. Life here is very simple and very family orientated. The young leave the rural villages (once they have finished school) for the busier towns and mainland Italy, where they try to find work. English was not taught in schools in Sardinia until very recently, so only young Sardinians know any English.

Views from our roof terrace in Villanova Monteleone