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Motorcycle Tour of Sardinia and Corsica - Part 3

by Tim Walker
Riding days 6 and 7 bring with them bittersweet feelings, for soon this tour will end and we must say goodbye to the new friends we made.
Motorcycle Tour of Sardinia and Corsica - Part 3

By this time, riders have gotten to know the personalities of both islands, which are similar, but also vary in several ways: geography, culture, cuisine, language, and terrain, to name but a few. And because this is a relatively brief tour, it only whetted the appetite of many of us to return and experience more of these Mediterranean gems.

Day 6: Alghero to Cala Gonone 260 km

We were refreshed and ready to ride after our rest day in Alghero, and started off going south along a scenic and sweeping coastal road for about 40 kilometers before turning east into the island’s interior. Near Abbasanta, we took a break to visit the Nuraghe Losa, tall beehive-shaped stone towers that were the centerpieces of the Nuraghi, a Bronze Age people living in Sardinia between 1600 and 1200 BCE.

Nuraghe Losa.

The edifices are not found anywhere else in the world, and so they have become symbols of Sardinia and its distinctive culture. The Nuraghi were a mysterious people, and archaeologists have not determined the exact function of the towers they built, of which more than 7,000 still pepper the Sardinian landscape.

A post-lunch rest stop in Orgósolo allowed riders to refresh with coffee and other treats, plus a chance to wander the streets to view the more than 150 colorful murals the village is famous for.

Coffee Stop in Orgosolo.

Beginning in 1975, artists began painting the walls of the buildings and houses lining the streets, and most have political or revolutionary themes. Many have a style reminiscent of Pablo Picasso’s cubist and surrealism periods.

Orgosolo Wall Paintings.

Our route continued eastward toward the coast, on gentle to moderate sweepers through mid-elevation pastures, then climbed to higher elevations where the greenery turned to rocky landscapes and upright sun-bleached white outcroppings with light red tints.

We passed several bicyclists throughout this part of route, who worked much harder that we did using our powered two-wheelers. But they probably had an easier time than we had avoiding obstacles in the road such as fallen rocks and other debris, and the occasional cow or sheep. 

Sardinia Curves.

The day ended with a curve-filled afternoon descent into Cala Gonone, a town on the east coast popular with tourists for its beaches with magnificent views of the Golfo di Orosei and the sheer limestone cliffs surrounding it. 

We arrived to our beachside hotel in time for a swim in the still-warm waters of the gulf, and most of the group jumped in for a brief swim before dinner. But note that these are not the sandy beaches that can be found elsewhere in Sardinia; rocks and pebbles form the beach and continue underwater in the swimming area. Some of those underwater rocks have sea urchins, which one rider in our group discovered to his dismay. Fortunately, our group included Anne, a nurse, who helped remove a sea urchin spine from his hand!

Day 7: Cala Gonone to Olbia 255 km

Conversations over breakfast in Cala Gonone included wishes that all of us have a great time on this last day of riding, and sad acknowledgements that soon we would be traveling our separate ways to return to our homes.

Today’s ride is north to Olbia, and rises into the interior foothills away from the east coast of the island. This side of Sardinia gets a bit more moisture than other areas, and so the landscape surrounding us as we rode was a little greener than average.

Sardinia interior and empty roads.

The climate is perfect for growing cork oak, and we rode though plantations of this ancient tree species, the bark of which is stripped away to make the corks used to plug bottles. It’s a pretty evergreen tree, growing up to 25 meters high, and so this part of our ride was often in the shade, making it very pleasant. When exiting the cork plantation areas, we had beautiful views of the surrounding hills and of the coast. 

The day’s ride ended with all of us safely returning to Oblia and our base hotel by mid-afternoon. Peter greeted us in the hotel parking lot with sparkling wine and a selection of local cheeses, breads, and cuts of meat to celebrate this final day of a tour that has created unforgettable new and long-lasting memories.

Cheers to a successful tour. See you next year :-)

The celebratory toasts in the parking lot were followed up with a final dinner together with more toasts and us recounting our favorite memories of the tour. We thanked Anže and Peter for their successful efforts to keep us safe, well-fed, housed each night in excellent hotels, and prepared for each day’s ride, all with a great sense of humor that kept us smiling. We shared contact information with each other, and parted knowing that many of us, perhaps all of us, had gained life-long friends.

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