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August 4th 2019
Published: August 5th 2019
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We’re still trying to work out what our accommodation, the Starry Sky Charming House, really is. Mr Google says it’s a four star hotel, but it clearly isn’t because it doesn’t have any hotel facilities. It does have hotel size rooms, but they’re jammed into an apartment block, and are certainly way too small to be called apartments. The establishment itself refers to itself as a guest house, but it’s not a house, and the only guest houses I’ve ever stayed in have at least had a lounge, a bar, a reception area and a restaurant, and it certainly doesn’t have anything even vaguely resembling any of those. We decide to settle for “boarding house”; for which we’re paying four star hotel prices.

I’ve decided that I need to try to stop thinking about our accommodation, so therefore it is with great regret that I have to announce the end of the the series of daily blogs on themes from Starry Sky Charming House. There are two reasons for this. The first is that constantly reminding ourselves about the quality of our accommodation is detracting from our enjoyment of the rest of Sardinia, which we both think is a fantastic place. Secondly, we are now starting to get ever more fearful that the owners of Starry Sky Charming House will discover what we’ve said about them in our blog, and that we’ll come back here one afternoon to find that they’ve evicted us and sold off our belongings, for cash of course; they like dealing in cash. We’ve seen signs on the beach opposite here saying that you’re not allowed to use the sunlounges at night, so if we get evicted we’ll probably have to sleep on the sand. At least then we’ll have something to thank Starry Sky Charming House for. They didn’t supply us with beach towels of course, so we went out and bought our own a couple of days ago. We bought the cheapest ones we could knowing that we’d never use them as beach towels again, so they’re as big as beach towels but with the thickness of tea towels. I told Issy we could cut them up and use them to dry the dishes when we get home, but now they might come in handy to sleep on at night on the beach after we get evicted.

We decide to head off along the coast north of Alghero towards the Parco Naturale Regionale Di Porto Conte. We can see the park’s massive vertical limestone cliffs across the bay from Alghero and they’re even more spectacular from close up. As we near the end of the road we pass a sign to a military airport. The landscape out here is all precipitously steep and largely surrounded by vertical cliffs and water, so it seems like a slightly odd place to put an airport. I wonder what sort of planes might use it. I hope the civil airport doesn’t suffer some disaster in the next couple of days and we have to take off from here when we leave.

We park and start the long descent down steps cut into the cliff face to the entrance to Neptune’s Grotto, which is right at the base of the cliff by the water’s edge. A lot of the people walking back up the other way are looking a bit the worse for wear, and the lack of defibrillators along the path is a bit concerning. The cave is massive. The lower sections are full of seawater and we’re told that it’s directly connected to the sea via underground passages, so they have to close it if the sea gets a bit rough. I hope there’s no tsunamis while we’re here. The stalactites and stalagmites are spectacular, and even more so when we see them reflected in the seawater pools. We’re told that the cave was discovered by fisherman in the 18th century, and that it’s four kilometres long in total, only a few hundred metres of which are accessible to the public. The area all around it is apparently dotted with submarine limestone caves which are a mecca for scuba divers.

Our visit ends, and now the hard part starts; the climb back up the cliff. Issy says her legs feel like jelly, and I try to distract myself from the pain by counting the steps. I count 576, which I think is roughly the equivalent of the height of a 27 storey building. Wikipedia says it’s 654 steps. There were a few downward flights on the way back up, and I counted backwards when I got to any of these, so maybe that accounts for the difference. I wonder what the official rules are for counting steps when some of them are up and some are down. I wonder if they even have official rules for this, and if so who makes them. I think I probably should forget about this and start wondering about things that actually matter.

It’s been ten long days since Issy had her last fill of Japanese food in Amsterdam. She’s spotted a Japanese restaurant only a five minute walk from our apartment so there’s little doubt where we’ll be eating tonight.

Additional photos below
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5th August 2019

Yes, it is better to change your focus on the good things...
although climbing 576 (or 654 steps) is not my idea of a good thing!
6th August 2019
Steps up the cliff from Neptune’s Grotto

That could take a while to climb
6th August 2019
Steps up the cliff from Neptune’s Grotto

Yep, that was certainly a bit of a hike!

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