Don’t Take Sand From Sardinia

This article originally appeared on travelnotesonline.com, here is a link to the original article. Please go and check out their website.

dont take sand

Agnese from Travelnotesonline kindly gave me permission to share their article on my website, to help spread the message. Her fantastic article explains why taking sand is so damaging, but it also shares solutions to the problem. Only recently in the Summer of 2019, a french couple was jailed for six years for stealing a large quantity of sand from a beach in Sardinia. They took a whooping 40kg of sand away in the boot of their car.

Sardinia has long battled to stop tourists from removing the sand from its famously pristine beaches. You must respect the natural environment of this beautiful island. Taking even a small amount of sand may seem harmless, but its a trend that has become so commonplace that it threatens the coastal environment.

Enjoy the article and please share the original.

Send Sand Back Sardinia – Take pictures, not sand!

“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints” is a phrase that you probably have heard before.

I know, sometimes nature can be so beautiful and breath-taking that you really want to keep the memories of a particular place with you forever. So, when you walk on the beach and take a few rocks or a few seashells, you might think it isn’t a big deal. After all, it’s only one shell or a couple and there are plenty of them in the sea, right?

But if each person visiting the beach took a couple of things away, it would have a huge impact on the ecosystem, the environment and all the wildlife that relies on them.

Travelling sustainably and making sure the natural environment is preserved, is very important to allow future generation to discover and enjoy the beauty of our planet. And one of the good things about social media is that more and more awareness can be raised about these issues.

For example, a few weeks ago, I came across a very interesting project called Send Sand Back Sardinia. The idea behind this project came after reading a newspaper article that said that if you put together all the sand from bottles found during luggage checks in just one summer, in just one airport, in Sardinia, you would get several tons of sand stolen from local beaches. Not just sand! Shells, pebbles, rocks, minerals and fossils are also taken away from the Sardinian beaches.  And these figures don’t take into account sand bottles that could be found in other airports or ports, where there are limited security checks in place for cars and ships, and no scanners are used. This means that cars are probably the place where the most items are taken away.

After anti-terrorism aviation laws came into effect, security checks in airports increased and got more accurate thanks to the use of electronic scanners, and this is how people started realising sand and other items where being removed from the beach. However, a law that made this illegal was only passed in 2017. This means that, before then, large quantities of sand were removed, so much that some of the beaches around the island had to be closed to the public to protect them.

During our chat they told us: “Of course, it’s not just tourists taking away sand, stones and shells as a souvenir of their trip. It’s also local people, who  wanted to decorate their house and, instead of buying the sand, they would take it from their local beach, without taking into account the damage they were making, as well as the fact that the high level of salt in this sand would damage their houses too.”

As you can imagine, the environmental impact of this behaviour is huge, and it is now become unsustainable. Take a look at these articles to get an idea.

What is this project about then? Send Sand Back Sardinia wants to raise awareness of the scope of the issue. Through this project, the amazing people behind this initiative invite people who stole sand from any Sardinian beach to send it back.

The organisation will also give a ‘thank you; certificate to people who, having realised the impact their actions might have had, are willing, even after a few years, to give their sand back.

The organization motto is: “When you forgive, you don’t change the past, you change the future.”. As a matter of fact, this is what they told me, when I asked how the project was born: “Ours is a recovery project, but also a project to raise awareness for the future.  When you asked me how the project was born, for us the answer is simple – It’s because we are Sardinians! Sardinia is our mother, not just a piece of land where we happen to live. It’ s a place we love. And when you love something, you protect it.”

If knowing that you would do your part in protecting one of the most amazing places in Italy, as well as the environment in general, isn’t enough for you, they have something else to persuade you.

Volunteers would be willing to exchange the sand with something else, something unique and authentic, such as local food, camping experience or eco-stays.

And it gets better! On top of supporting this amazing project by spreading the word, you can also be an “undercover agent”: do you know someone who has sand, shells or stones from Sardinia? You can help by filling in this form.

This article originally appeared on travelnotesonline.com, here is a link to the original article. Please go and check out their website and other great articles.

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Where To Stay In Sardinia For Couples?

Sardinia should not be thought of only as a holiday island. The beauty of its sea, the scenery of its coasts that is sometimes sandy and sometimes made up of cliffs and the wild panorama of its hinterland are undeniable. Yet Sardinia has many places to spend a romantic holiday.

Romantic places in Sardinia for couples

Among panoramic viewpoints and intimate places for romantic dinners, Cagliari is the ideal destination for a couple’s holiday. The Sardinian capital offers in fact the right dose of romance thanks to the evocative atmospheres and enchanting places such as the Castello District. Here it is a real discovery to walk hand in hand through the narrow streets that lead to the ancient castle, lingering until sunset. Among these stands out the Bastion of Saint Remy, one of the main monuments of Cagliari, also famous for offering one of the most beautiful panoramic points with the whole city at its feet. Completely surrounded by nature is the Monte Claro park which, despite being in the center, is a real oasis of tranquility where peace and relaxation are assured. Remaining on the subject of naturalistic attractions, the Sella del Diavolo (saddle of the devil), despite its name, is actually a place with a particular romanticism: it is a promontory that directly overlooks the Gulf of Angels with a particular saddle shape, whose path to climb it is a bit challenging but the view certainly repays the effort, especially when the sun is about to set. There are many couples who are looking for a romantic corner to spend some time together and the Sella Del Diavolo is certainly a special place.

In the province of Oristano, the town of Bosa rises on the edge of the island’s only navigable river and for this reason it is even richer in romantic suggestions. Couples who like to go beyond the beautiful beaches and the worldliness of VIPs in Sardinia know how many picturesque realities there are to discover on the island: one of these is Bosa, located between Alghero and the Cabras pond. Here, too, there is no shortage of beaches and beautiful sea, but the setting is quite different since it is a river town with an ancient center of Phoenician origins that is reflected in the waters of the Temo river, the only one that can be navigated in Sardinia. This gives Bosa even more suggestions, also given by the fishermen’s houses on the riverside and by the castle built between the 11th and 12th centuries: it stands on the Serravalle hill and can be reached by walking along two long stairways located to the east and west of the town or through the narrow streets of the center. The Sa Costa neighborhood has cobbled streets and brightly colored house. Particularly interesting is the Church of Our Lady of Regnos Altos, with Spanish-influenced 14th-century frescoes. The main street is Corso Vittorio Emanuele II which develops along the river, among facades decorated with family crests and wrought iron balconies of the most important buildings such as the Sargenti-Randaccio, Demuro-Spada, Delitala and Uras-Chelo. From the small port of Bosa Marina you can go on excursions to Capa Marrargiu to admire isolated coves that cannot be reached by land, such as Cala Rapina, Cala’e Moros and Tentizzos.

Costa Verde (Green Coast) offers unspoiled landscapes and silence interrupted by the sound of the waves and the wind: it is one of the most fascinating corners of Sardinia and you can visit it to appreciate its wild beauty, the privacy and the silence it offers. This area of Sardinia, also known as Marina di Arbus, extends for 47 kilometers along the south-western coast of the island. The Mediterranean scrub creeps among the dunes, interrupted only by the majestic cliffs overlooking the sea. Here and there the abandoned buildings of the old mines emerge. In Costa Verde you can enjoy a holiday of tranquility and privacy with your sweetheart. Only dark and imposing cliffs on which small rocky coves open up at times among the dunes. No exclusive resorts, no crowded beaches. Nature and silence, to be contemplated hand in hand in an atmosphere of profound intimacy.

Straddling the provinces of Nuoro and Oristano, the town of Atzara is an enchanting jewel set in the heart of Sardinia, far from the sea, in an area made up of countryside with magical lights and colors. You will be enchanted by this town with a thousand-year history. Just stroll through its narrow streets, admire its buildings, discover its culture and the long winemaking and artisan tradition of this “remote” town of Barbagia, surrounded by woods, vineyards and orchards that create a perfect setting for a couple’s stay at ‘sign of tranquility and relaxation. Walking around the historic center is pleasant and interesting. The town has, in fact, kept the urban fabric of the Catalan era unchanged with the picturesque low buildings made of granite with attics covered with oak beams. The 15th century parish church of Sant’Antioco is also magnificent, a jewel of Gothic-Catalan architecture, as well as that of Santa Maria de Susu and that of Santa Maria Bambina, in Romanesque style, dating back to the 11th century.

Fascinating is also the sunset that can always be admired in the western part of the island, on the beach of Ampurias, adjacent to the medieval town of Castelsardo. The picturesque town perched vertically on a rocky ridge, offers the vision of stupendous views and the true taste of a genuine Sardinian location.

Close to Santa Teresa di Gallura, in the Gulf of Asinara, Isola Rossa is another place that arouses strong feelings full of romanticism. The delightful port characterized by red granite, the Aragonese Tower, the beautiful promenade and the beautiful beaches, create more than just a stimulus to visit this Sardinian town.

Arco dei baci (Arch of kisses) is a rocky beach located on the island of Sant’Antioco, exactly in the locality of Is Preneddas. What characterizes this small beach is its rocky arch, known as Arco dei baci. Surrounding it there is a crystal clear natural swimming pool in which it will be difficult to resist the temptation of a dip. Swimming in this transparent pool with your soul mate will allow you to live a special experience and admire the suggestive seabed together, rich in marine life. This location is also difficult to reach but its beauty attracts many tourists every year.

Sardinia also offers many alternatives to mountain and trekking enthusiasts in the countryside. Southern Sardinia reserves special places, such as the many waterfalls that can be visited. Each waterfall has its own charm, but declaring your love in front of the San Valentino Waterfall, near the town of Sadali, is certainly a unique emotion.

Palau is our last destination. It is one of the most elite places in Sardinia, with which Costa Smeralda theoretically ends and offers beaches and landscapes of rare beauty that blend with the narrow streets of the center dotted with shops and clubs that animate the summer nightlife together with the picturesque markets.

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Where To Stay In Sardinia For Beaches?

So you have heard about the incredible beaches of Sardinia, but it’s a big island, and you may be wondering where’s best to stay in Sardinia for the best beaches? Come with me through this blog post and I will tell you about the six areas that I believe are home to the best selections of beaches.

The biggest factor that entices holidaymakers to make the trip to Sardinia are the beaches. It’s no surprise that Sardinia has some of the best beaches in Europe, yet somehow Sardinia remains under the radar (my site doesn’t reach that many people yet and Sardinian’s don’t feel the need to get marketing savvy, they prefer authenticity) The simplest way to express the beach situation is that Sardinia has a large supply of incredible beaches, and yet with a relativity low demand. Aside from July and August when the Italians take their summer break.

This means that you can find beautiful beaches, with yours being the only footprints across the sand. The more popular beaches will draw crowds, especially in the summer, but Sardinia is a large island with hundreds of great beaches so you can find you perfect places to stay, whether you want to stay in a town, resort, or countryside on the coast.

Booking.com

In the Booking.com map above you can see that accommodation can be found all the way along the coast. I have identified six areas in Sardinia where you are sure to find clusters of beautiful beaches, I will give a brief overview of each area, as shown in the graphic on the left.

The First Area: Alghero, Spiaggia di Mugoni, and Stintino

Alghero is the closest Airport, and if you chose to arrive by boat Porto Torres is further to the north this cluster of beautiful beaches. This area has good value accommodation in locations a stone throw away from mesmerising beaches. The Catalonian inspired city of Alghero sits in the centre of this beach zone and offers tourists everything they would want, including hostels for backpackers, fine dining, and transport links. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the city walls, and chic city streets. If you are willing to drive up the coast, you will reach famous beaches such as Spiaggia La Pelosa, Spiaggia Delle Saline, and Capo Lupo.

The Second Area: Costa Smeralda

This area of Sardinia is by far the most famous. Celebrities, Royalty, and Millionaires have been coming here for years, it was even home to the most expensive hotel in the world (I’m not sure if that’s still the case) This area is packed with beautiful beaches like Spiaggia Cala Granu, Spiaggia Poltu Di Li Cogghj, and Spiaggia de La Sciumara. In fact, wherever you go in this area you will find spectacular beaches. It has to be said that this region is heavily commercialized, packed with luxury stores, and overpriced restaurants, it can feel inauthentic and un-Sardinian. Although it is clear to see why many choose this area for their vacations. Finding accommodation can be more difficult, especially on a budget. The Costa Smeralda is very expensive compared to all other areas of Sardinia, but I can assure you that it is not the exclusive home of Sardinians beaches, in fact, the most beautiful beaches to be found in Sardinia are outside of this territory.

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How To Make Your Own Italian Pizza At Home?

Pizza is one of the greatest discoveries that humanity has made, I thank Napoli and Italy from my heart. I have eaten many different takes on pizza in my life, but once you eat an authentic Italian pizza is very difficult to return to Dominos or Frozen Pizza. The truth is that pizza, along with much Italian cuisine is at its best when its kept simple and made with fresh quality ingredients. I want to share with you a recipe I learned to make great tasting pizza at home in the oven. 

Napoli will always be the true home of pizza, they have perfected the art and not many can even come close, making pizza is really in their blood, the tradition has been caressed through the generations. The pizza there is just on a whole new level, much like the taste of coffee in Napoli. I don’t know how they manage it, but they do. The best pizzerias in the city only serve two types of pizza Marinara and Margarita. They stick to the basics and something incredible emerges from the wood-fired oven. 

In Italy, many houses have a wood-fired pizza oven either built into the kitchen or stand alone in the garden. It provides the perfect opportunity to host a pizza party and prove your pizza making skills. During my time in Sardinia last year, we hosted many pizza parties, and I soon inherited a perfect pizza recipe. However, when I’m in the UK I don’t have access to a wood-fired pizza oven, so I have adapted the recipe for the oven. This is a recipe for 4-5 margarita pizzas. 

Ingredients 

The Pizza Dough

  • Strong White Flour 200 g
  • 00 Flour 400 g
  • Water 300 ml
  • Extra virgin olive oil 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt 12g
  • Dried Yeast 30g

Pizza Sauce And Toppings

  • Italian Passata 400 g
  • Dried oregano 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt 1 Teaspoon
  • Fresh Basil to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Mozzarella

The Method

The Pizza Dough

  1. To prepare the pizza Margherita, begin by making the basic dough. Pour the water at room temperature into a pitcher, add the yeast and stir with a teaspoon so that it dissolves and reacts with the water
  2. I have chosen to knead by hand but if you can also you a mixer if you have one. In a fairly large bowl mix the two flours. Then add the salt and gradually stir in the water with the yeast.
  3. Continue working the dough with your hands until you get a smooth result. At this point add also the oil, always little by little. Continuing to knead so the oil becomes absorbed by the dough. Then transfer the mixture onto a surface and work it vigorously for 5-10 minutes until it is elastic and smooth. Make sure that you have Italian music playing to help with this process.
  4. Bring the dough to a sphere shape, and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth and place the dough in a warm place. I recommend leaving it to rise for 3 hours, it will raise at different times depending on the temperature, and time of year. The volume of the dough should increase two and a half times. 
  5. When the dough is leavened tip the dough out onto a clean floured surface. Cut the dough into 4 or 5 pieces. 
  6. Carefully work each of the four pieces of dough by bringing it towards you and then moving it away repeatedly until you obtain a smooth and regular ball. 
  7. Place the doughs on the side to rest and rise again, make sure you cover with a cloth. 
  8. Once, the dough is ready I like to keep them in the fridge, as it allows you to roll out the dough with greater ease later on. 

The Pizza Sause

I think pizza sauce tastes best when it is cooked slowly for a long time. Some recipes will prepare the sauce without cooking but I think cooking help infuse the sauce with the herbs and the passata becomes sweeter. If you like garlic then you can add it into the sauce.

The sauce is one part of the pizza that is often overlooked, take your time with it and keep tasting until your happy with it. Don’t forget to add salt.

  1. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan, followed by the passata. Continue to stir occasionally, you want the sauce to thicken through the cooking process. 
  2. Add your herbs, remember dried herbs are four times stronger than fresh herbs but nothing beats fresh herbs. 
  3. Continue to cook for over 30 minutes on low heat.
  4.  Let the sauce cool down, then place into the fridge until you are ready to use. 

Forming The Pizza

The moment has come to bring all of the elements together to create your pizza. You can always experiment with different toppings, just don’t share them when you are walking around in Napoli. If you put too much cheese it could create a soggy pizza base, as an oven cannot cook as well as a wood-fired pizza oven. A wood-fired pizza oven can cook a pizza in a matter of minutes with the temperature reaching 400 degrees, whereas a household oven can only reach about 250 degrees.

  1. Firstly, strain the water from the mozzarella, this is very important as you do not want a soggy pizza. 
  2. Preheat the oven. In my experience every oven is different. In my case, I cook the pizza at 250 degrees, which is the highest setting which has worked best for me. The first time you try the recipe, please pay close attention to make sure the pizza doesn’t burn. 
  3. Take the dough from the fridge, and roll out the first pizza base. Place the dough on the bed of flour, and slowly roll it out keeping a circular shape. (this is an authentic rustic pizza, so don’t worry if it’s not a perfect circle) I try and roll my pizza to 4mm. Keep turning the dough to keep the shape. 
  4. Add the pizza sauce consistently around the dough, not too much and not too little. I recommend 3-4 tablespoons per pizza. 
  5. Add the mozzarella, onto the top of the pizza (you can add the cheese halfway through the cooking time if you don’t want it to cook to golden. 
  6. Place on a tray, and place near the top of the oven. 
  7. Cooking time is from 12-17 minutes, it depends on many factors, such as the thickness of the pizza, the toppings, and the oven. Please watch carefully, at least for the first pizza. The best results happen when you cook each pizza one at a time. When the pizza is in the oven you can prep the other one ready to go in. 
  8. Allow the pizza to cool before serving. Don’t forget to a couple of leaves of basil on top, and a drizzling of olive oil. 

Enjoy your pizza. Buon Appetito.

Let me know how you get on, I would love recommendations for toppings and also improvements on the recipe.

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