Airport Sand Inspectors


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Europe » Italy » Sardinia » Stintino
August 5th 2019
Published: August 6th 2019
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Issy really liked La Pelosa beach when we went there on Saturday, so we decide to head there again and spend the day lazing on the sand. It was very crowded there on Saturday and hard to park, and we hope that it might be a little less so today on workday Monday when hopefully all good Sardinians will be slaving away back at their desks.

The traffic gets very heavy as we get close to the beach, and it now seems even heavier than it was on Saturday. If half of Sardinia was here then, the whole of Italy feels like it’s here today, plus the populations of a couple of other smaller European countries thrown in for good measure. We wonder why Sardinians aren‘t at work like they should be, and what we might be able to do to get them off the beach (only this beach - they can stay at all the other ones), and back to their desks. If we were back in Oz we would just yell ”shark”, or “free beer”, and that would be guaranteed to empty the place in an instant, but I don‘t think anyone here would believe us about the shark thing, and we don’t know the Italian words for “free beer”. Lack of a megaphone could also be a bit of an impediment.

We follow the traffic up over the hill and eventually find a car park a long way from the beach. We don’t mind the hike however, as we know that fine sand and cool water await us. Issy decides that she needs something more than the oversized tea towel she bought a few days ago to lie on, so she buys a genuine big heavy beach towel with the Sardinian flag on it from one of the many African street vendors whose displays line one side of the road that runs along the beach. The preparations for our relaxing day in the sun are now complete. There are signs saying that it is forbidden to put your towel directly on the sand here; you must put a straw mat underneath it, but we don’t need straw mats because soon we will have luxurious rented sunlounges to recline on.

We go to claim our sunlounges and umbrella on the grassy hill above the beach that we sat on two days ago. “We’re full”, says the attendant. Hmmmm. That’s not what we’d hoped for. No matter, there are other sunlounges for rent further along the beach, so we head off in search of those. We walk down onto the sand and try to make our way through the sprawling mass of bodies laid out in the sun. It’s not possible for a beach to be this crowded. There’s not this many people per square metre in a crowd at a football final. It’s almost impossible to find a path between the bodies, and it feels like it’s only a matter of time before we tread on someone’s head, or kick sand into someone’s face, and when we do and they get angry we won’t be able to run away; there are just too many people. Relief. We reach the rented sun lounge area, and go to claim a set that no one’s using. “We’re full, and all the free ones are reserved” says the attendant. This is not going at all to plan. We briefly consider just laying our towels on the sand and forgetting about lounges and shade, but we’re about as likely to find a few square millimetres of unoccupied sand here as we are of winning the lottery. And anyway, we don’t have any straw mats. We consider going to buy some from one of the African street vendors, but that won’t solve the issue of us not having any space to put them on, and anyway we won’t be able to bring them back to Oz with us because the quarantine people won’t let us. Maybe we could get rid of them by burning them, but then we remember that you’re not allowed to light fires on the beach, although if we did it might clear some space for us to lay our mats on, if we hadn’t just burnt them.

Our plans are in tatters. We admit defeat, make the long lonely trek back up over the hill to our now very hot car, and beat a retreat back to Alghero.

Issy is a bit curious about the straw mats, so she gets on the Google machine in search of more information. It seems that La Pelosa is under real environmental threat from the massive crowds that go there. One of the main concerns is losing sand, and this is why they’ve bought in the law about the mats, which are apparently far less likely to trap sand than towels. They’ve also installed taps as you leave the beach where you must wash the sand off your feet and any rubber ducks and other miscellaneous paraphernalia that you happen to have bought with you. There are heavy penalties for removing even small quantities of sand from the beach, even accidentally, and the article says that they check your luggage for sand at the airport. Really, they check your luggage for sand at the airport? I’m now very worried. I know we’ve still got sand in our suitcases from when we were out in the desert in Jordan. I don’t think anyone was too concerned if a few grains went missing from out there, but I now wonder how the inspectors at the airport will know that the sand in our suitcases is from there and not from La Pelosa. This is not good. This hasn’t turned out to be a very relaxing day at all. I think I need beer.

I leave Issy to rest while I climb the bell tower of the Alghero Cathedral, which I read dates from the 16th century. I thought churches were generally fairly safe places, but this seems to otherwise. A young lady at the entrance gives me a bright yellow construction hard hat to put on, and when I get to the belfry up a very narrow spiral staircase another young lady tells me that I‘ll need to block my ears in a few minutes or I’ll be defeaned by the bells. The views over Alghero old town and its surrounds are excellent from up here. I return my hard hat and move on to the apparently much safer Cathedral museum.

We’re running out of nights to eat pizza and don’t want to miss any opportunities so we dine again at a pizzeria in Piazza Civica in the middle of the old town. There are lots of Italians and lots of pizza restaurants back home, but they just don't make them there the way they make them here. Bellissimo!


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6th August 2019

You think too much...
but we think the same. We must both be engineers. Hopefully you can find an undiscovered beach.

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