Costa Rey – now and then

My father was never very fond of the sea therefore we had to count on my mom’s friend to take us to the beach at least on Sundays during the hot summer months. I recall we used to leave very early in the morning in order to get to the pine grove, across the street from the water, on time to occupy a small area by fastening a rope around four trees where later we could have lunch. We used to bring folding table and chairs, lasagna or malloreddus alla campidanesa (Sardinian pasta with sausage and tomato sauce) and sometimes even the roasted suckling pig (another typical Sardinian dish), just like those families we now make fun of when we see them arriving on the shore with so much luggage just to spend few hours on the beach.

When my uncle bought the house in Costa Rey back in the 70’s and invited us to spend some time there, I was the happiest child in the world. I would have had the chance to wake up every morning looking at the water from the terrace and I would have gone to sleep with the sound of the waves. Costa Rey then was just a place with a bunch of homes scattered on the side of the hill, with no street lighting or any kind of facilities but a small groceries store where we could buy the staples. We had to drive on the “Campuomu” to get there, a long and narrow road through the mountains of south Sardinia, where I often thought I would die every time a car suddenly appeared from behind a sharp turn that I almost felt it was jumping on us. The drive would last a couple of hours, or centuries, but I was willing to go to hell and back just to have the chance to spend few weeks at the beach.

During the years I kept going back there at least for few days during my vacation on the island. Many thing have changed since then: a straight and wide new road will take you there in less than a hour, as long as there’s not much traffic, and Costa Rey went from being a village with few hundred souls to become a real town where several thousand people live, especially during the month of August.

In the 80’s it was bursting with activities of any kind for the young and the less young: live music in the main square, lounges, clubs, beach entertainment, shops and many more that made this resort one of the most sought-after places in Sardinia. In the last two decades it has lost his vibe and now it’s a quiet place where families like to have a peaceful vacation and are not looking for a crazy nightlife. Sure there are few restaurants and bars but nothing to compare to the Costa Smeralda on the north-east of Sardinia, with its high-end clubs and restaurants that are VIPS’ hangout and the hangout of the people that like to run after VIPS!

I’m a daytime creature, I love to wake up early in the morning and spend my time outdoor so this is the perfect place for me. The beaches are wide, the sand is fine and the water is clear, but the again, this is nothing new since we are in Sardinia. The routine is the same every year: I meet my friends from Torino that come each summer to spend their vacation here, we have lunch all together at the Escargot with a view on the shore followed by the usual walk to Peppino’s rock few miles away, a large cliff where people can lay in the sun or dive in the bluest waters.

And as usual during the day we find ourselves saying the same thing over and over again: what a hard life this is!


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