Sea, sand and city in Sardinia

Sardinia was a complete surprise to us. We booked a week here after seeing some beautiful beach shots on Instagram (I know, how millennial of us).

We stayed in Cagliari, the Capitol and loved the historic charm of the city. Laden with alfresco dining, cobblestone streets and cosmopolitan high streets, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in Paris or Prague but a short drive from the city you’re reminded you’ve stumbled upon an island paradise.

Top spots in Cagliari

Bastion of Saint Remi and the Castello

Cagliari’s hilltop citadel is the perfect vantage point to see a picturesque sunset. The walled medieval city within a city transports you to a bygone era as you wind through the narrow lane-ways and peer through ancient windows into dark little terrace houses. The city’s protective Torre Dell’Elefante defensive tower make you feel like you’re on the set of a movie with their iron gates.

Botanical Gardens

Eleanor loves crawling around in the great outdoors and the Botanical Gardens in Cagliari were a nice break from the hot city. We threw together a picnic and chilled out under the palm trees for a few hours.

Roman Amphitheatre of Cagliari

Unlike the famous stand-alone Collusium in Rome the Cagliari Amphitheatre is carved into the side of a hill. With seating for 10,000 spectators this ancient structure now hosts concerts, which we would have loved but everything was booked out. Still amazing to see, even if you aren’t a history buff.

The Markets

We couldn’t skip town without letting Daniel run loose in the market. We hung out with the locals eating cheese, downing a coffee and eating cannoli. We stocked up on lunch for the week for 40 Euro. Not bad.

Beaches We Loved

We hired a car and cruised the Coastal Road. You could pick any beach along the way and be in awe, each one is more spectacular than the last.

Porto Giunco Beach 

Distance from Cagliari: 62km

First stop, Flamingos… Yes, those delightful Pink birds roam around the Stagno Notteri lagoon. Although, you can’t frolic with these gorgeous feathered creatures, which was disappointing, Ellie really fancied making a Flamingo friend.

Mari Pintau Beach

Distance from Cagliari: 36km

This gorgeous beach reminded me of one of my step-mother, Gail’s watercolour paintings (check them out here). Although it was a stunning beach we didn’t stop for a swim, it was so busy.

Costa Rei

Distance from Cagliari: 64km

We had grand plans of continuing up the Coastal Road but we couldn’t pass the beauty of this beach and lazed around in the crystal clear water until the sun set. This beach was paradise, perfect white sand, an amazing contrast between the sky and the sea. Take me back!

Poetto Beach

Distance from Cagliari: 5km

Only 5km from Cagliari , this 8km stretch of yellow sand is as much a spectacle because of it’s popularity as its beauty. We have never seen that many people pack out a beach before. It was 40 degrees celsius and fighting the crowds down to the sea was tricky with a little one, so we sat in a bungalow and sipped ice cold Aperol Spritz with all the other pastey white tourists.



Treating a sick baby in Italy

Besides a few snotty nose episodes, Eleanor has been the picture of good health. We took her to the doctor before we set off on our big adventure and packed her little first aid kit feeling like model parents. Thinking we had everything covered.

I tend to be a worrywart by nature and Dan is the level headed one telling me to stop overreacting every time Eleanor sneezes. So, when Daniel started to panic about Eleanor’s fever I was sure we had a problem.

Our happy little lady continued to smile and wave at everyone despite a fever of 39 °C, so it was hard to determine how sick she really was. Doctor Google said wait five days before seeing a doctor, the local pharmacy in Sorrento reiterated that recommendation so we waited it out.

Day five happened to coincide with a flight to Sardinia and Ellie was burning up. She was so hot she was burning my skin as I held her. She babbled in her sleep as though she were delirious. She looked bad, so bad that the Italian lady sitting next to us on the flight told us in broken English to take her to a doctor. To say we felt like the worlds most useless parents is an understatement.

The fear that comes with a sick baby is intense. Factoring in the whole ‘don’t speak Italian thing’ and you’ve got yourself one shitty, stressful situation! When we arrived at our hotel we asked the reception for a doctor but tourists in Italy must go to emergency so we rushed to the local hospital. No one spoke English. No one would see us. We’d walked 20 minutes in the heat to be turned away.

We found a pharmacy with English speaking staff and they directed us to a children’s emergency hospital 5km away. Once we figured out where to go, the experience was much more positive. The doctors were so kind and patient with us as we tried to explain what was wrong in extremely broken Italian (compliments of Google Translate) all we needed was Eleanor’s Australian passport, thanks to the reciprocal agreement.

Poor Eleanor has Bronchitis, an infected ear and an infection in her throat and we are lucky that a dose of antibiotics will have her better within a week.

We have learnt a valuable lesson, there is no such thing as too much preparation when it comes to the health of your baby. We should know how to call for help when something happens. In this instance we had time on our side but in a true medical emergency our fumbling could have had big consequences.

Who to call

  • Your travel insurance company can direct you to a doctor
  • The Australian Embassy (39) 06 85 2721