Costa Smerelda on the Sardinian coast is the ultimate “if you have to ask how much” stop on this cruise. Tourists & seasonal residents here can drop $10,000-30,000 each a night at the discos. Vladimir Putin has a small (17 chimney) place here. Others of greater and lesser notoriety have built into this enclave established by the Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (IV). Service workers here do very well. This was Princess Diana’s last stop before her death and the hotel room is an unrented shrine. Although accounts vary as to whether she stayed there, since Al Fayed’s yacht Jonikal was moored in the Bay.
Beyond the understated human excess, the area is beautiful and we enjoyed the tour which included the first wine tasting that was one! Casa Mancini did a great job with wine and food and a stunningly simple and clean facility. We think they may have been used to tourists with (quite) a bit more money. We’re not sure how much of the excellent wine was bought or ordered, but we know the tour guide had our return time wrong and we stayed longer here than intended…there was no food left.
From there we went to an archeological dig actively being excavated. This was a tower community called a nuraghe. These were bronze age communities built for protection, production and storage. There are thousands on Sardinia! I grew up fascinated with the Med, Homer, the Bronze age, and archeology, and I had never heard of these.
The one we visited is Nuraghe La Prisgiona. Its excavation is funded by lottery collections. We lingered here too as people were fascinated by the place and had to be rounded up for the docent’s presentation before we entered the 3400 year old tower. The sun was dipping when we left.
Our tour guide got a phone call from the Captain as we left the dig about the time we were supposed to be back at the ship. After the call, the guide sort of shrugged and said something like, “late is late, and I still have things to show you” (in the complex and very Latin sounding Sardinian) — and he did at the same pace we had been making before the call. We got the feeling he was not unique among Sardinians in his dealing with small adversities. Notably, he left the bus before we reentered the gated port facility.
We heard nothing aboard, but the gangway and anchor chain started up as the last passenger stepped on deck. And by the (second) Captain’s Dinner, the Captain was in his usual form.
Please enjoy the photos. Photos without captions don’t really need them. Click on first one to scroll.