26
Apr-2013

Alghero, aka Little Barcelona

Our apartment in Alghero is right in the hearth of the historical center. It’s located on the last floor of a seventeenth century Spanish building with all the problems this may cause: uneven and steep stairwells, a very old sewer system and the sharp smell of mold of a home that is empty for the most part of the year make my friends shiver. I’m pretty easy-going and I can adapt myself to any situation so I find the place lovely. As long as there aren’t any mice nor roaches and I have a bed, a shower and a roof on top of my head, I’m quite happy. After all, I’m on vacation and I don’t have to spend my days inside the house.

Our building is in a very narrow street and our neighbor across from us is so close that he could easily pass the sugar through the windows. The first night we go to bed early so we can be rested for the next day sightseeing tours. It’s almost 3:00am and we cannot fall asleep. We did not realize there are so many bars and lounges down below where the youngsters meet in the evening to have some drinks and some fun. Their loud voices and laughter are piercing the air that almost feels like they are sitting in our living room. When they are finally gone and we think we can have some peace and quiet, the garbage truck starts its round to pick the bottles left behind after the celebrations.

It’s 6:00am by now and the glass clanking is nerve-racking. There’s an expression in Italian that says “it would make the Saints lose their tolerance” and in this case the saint don’t have any patience left since they only slept for two hours. I want to laugh though by I’m afraid for my life, as I know my friend Donna is on the edge of a nervous breakdown and ready to commit homicide. She is so desperate by now and decides to leave the house to look for a hotel where to get some rest, but there’s only one issue: she forgot to take the key with her. Her mission fails and by the time she’s back and can’t get in, she finds appropriate to start screaming and knocking at the main door: “ALEEEISSHAAAAAAAA!! ALEISSHAAAAAAAA!!!”.

It’s seven o’clock and I want to kill myself: I can picture our neighbors calling the police because of a crazy woman wandering the streets of Alghero. We all get up and to have breakfast at the cafeteria around the corner, trying to make a plan for the day ahead of us. “A triple espresso please” I tell the waiter that looks at me as I were a crazy woman. “Are you sure?” he asks me, not really convinced that is really what I want. “Positive, without a doubt”. He has no idea what kind of night I just had.

We spend few hours at Le Bombarde, one of the famous beaches in Alghero. The crickets’ sound from the near-by woods feels like music at this point, after the pestering noise we have been exposed just few hours earlier. The beach is small and over-crowded to the point I need to step on the people around me every time I want to go swimming. “What about going back to visit Alghero?’ Never before a suggestion of mine was more welcomed than this.

We stroll along the street of the city center: the port, the coral and ceramic shops, knick-knacks and tourist traps, ice-cream parlors and any kind of restaurants. Among the other things, we visit San Michele’s church, recognizable by the colorful dome, the cathedral of Santa Maria, with its neo-classical façade, and the fortification (bastioni) along the seafront. Alghero is in fact one of the few places in Italy that still maintains more than 70% of the old walls. The sun is setting and the view over Capo Caccia from Bastioni Marco Polo is exactly what we need to make everything better. No matter what, this is a lovely town:  a tasty fish dinner and a glass of local Vermentino and we care able to forget all the misfortunes of the day.

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