Normali bello! This was the only part we could decipher when the Italian bicyclist walked by our pathetic, cold, touristy selves on Maria Pia beach in Alghero, Italy. We were huddled near some brush with our umbrella ready, watching the clouds roll in as the temperature dropped to, well, Germany levels. He gestured to the sky, said something about the wind (gesticulating strongly, as you might imagine) and then assured us: “Normally, it’s pretty.”
He had ridden his bike by us twice before, taking notice of the two very white and very cold people in bathing suits in the windy 60-degree weather, who were stubbornly ignoring reality. It would be difficult not to notice us, since we were the only ones on the beach. Clearly, my plan to take a relaxing “lie on the beach and get a tan” type of vacation – rather than the normal “get blisters while walking around a German city and getting rained on” vacation – did not completely come to fruition.* But it was fun, nonetheless.
For instance: we rented bikes (for only 8 euros a day each) and biked about 20K up the coast and back, stopping at beaches with cafes along the way.
I chose Alghero for this trip because Ryan Air just started offering flights out of Dortmund. I didn’t know very much about it, nor did I find out a lot during my research. What we learned is that pretty much the only thing there is tourism, and a lot of German and British tourists. There are plenty of very fancy places to stay, including those right on the water. Everyone speaks English and is unbelievable friendly.
We stayed in the Old Town, which is the walled historical center. Restaurants cost a little more there than outside of the center, but you almost always have the option of getting a pizza for less than 10 euros. We ate some great food, including at Nettuno, where you can have a view overlooking the sunset. Everywhere we went for dinner, we kept thinking that the waiters were misunderstanding and bringing us glasses of really fancy wine, rather than house wine that we asked for — but it turns out that’s just how good all of the wine is. We never had a problem finding a place to eat. Italians eat at around 8:30, so if we could even make it until 7, we still had the restaurant mostly to ourselves.
*The pictures do show sun, but it was very sporadic and quick to change, with huge temperatures differences between sunny and cloudy. Additionally, we could neither find nor understand the weather reports on TV in the morning.