Monday, 23 July 2012

Italian adventures

When we selected Sardinia for our holiday’s destination, we didn’t really know what to expect. I hoped that the island would have fine sandy beaches, good food and friendly people. I didn’t have any friends that had visited the island in the past to ask for tips. Generally we weren’t disappointed at all and overall we had a great time. However, a couple of unlucky events made us sceptical about visiting the island any time soon. This first post is about the troubles we had during the trip. Please feel free to ignore it for the next much more pleasant post.

The hotel

After waking up for the first time on the island, we took the car and with JJ on the driver’s seat we headed for what we read is an amazing beach on the south side of the island. After getting lost a couple times trying to cross through the capital we managed to find the beach. There was an entrance fee of €5 which we paid and drove next to the beach where we parked the car. After spending many hours enjoying the amazing beach, the sun and the water, we decided to drive to a nearby roman dig site.


When we arrived to get the car we saw 2 local policemen. They had given us a parking fine! They didn’t know many English words but we tried to talk to them. Apparently, the area there was a designated disabled area, even if the only sign that we missed was only in Italian!!! We had asked the guy at the entrance about where to park, but he didn’t know any English either! Complaining to the local policemen wouldn’t make a difference since they couldn’t speak the language, so we asked them where to go and pay the fine (€80)! We decided that leaving the fine to the car rental company might bring extra ridiculous charges and thought to solve the problem ourselves.

Walking around the old town

That same afternoon we drove to pay the fine. We went to the local police office the policemen at the beach had told us. The department was transferred as we found out from an Italian written note and the new offices outside that village were also closed. The police (carabinieri) told us in Italian to go and pay at a post office. The post office was also of course closed. Next morning we drove to another post office closer to the hotel. I had to wait in the queue there for around 45 minutes to be told (mostly in Italian) that the policemen from the day before should have given me a second document with a reference number (which they didn’t) so I couldn’t pay the fine there. A guy there who  wanted to post some postcards asked me if we got our fine on a local beach.

 Driving around

We had already spent one afternoon and most of a morning trying to pay for that fine without considering the stress this event put us through. We didn’t want to drive back all the way to the first village (2.5 hours drive) to sort it out so we thought that the car rental company could sort it out. So, the last day, when we returned the car to the airport we asked the guys there about it. They said that they couldn’t do anything about the fine and that we should go and ask the police inside the airport! We knew by then that nothing would out of it, but as a last resort we went to the police there. As expected they didn’t know any English and they couldn’t help us! They told us to go and ask the car rental company!!!! At that point JJ slightly lost it and started explaining the whole adventure to a policewoman who didn’t understand a word, hand gesturing a lot and raising his voice! It was a bit funny watching her expression but I had to take him out of there in fear of getting arrested!

The temperature was 41C 

Overall, we lost many hours of our holidays trying to be responsible and pay for a fine that we might not even deserve in the first place! The amount of people that don’t speak any foreign language in Sardinia was disappointing and the way we were treated at certain desks was awful. We went to 5 or 6 different places and no one could tell us what to do. So, we just left! I’m now a fugitive of the Italian authorities although I highly doubt that they will figure it out. There was some built up frustration though. And the facts that the airport didn’t have any running water (the stink!), the airport staff couldn’t speak anything apart from Italian and our return flight was delayed for 2.5 hours didn’t really make us feel better. 

That’s my rant concerning my trip. It's Monday and I'm allowed one! A much nicer second post will follow this one as I’ve said. Not everything that happened was bad. We enjoyed ourselves and had a very nice time at the end. 
I’ll tell you all about it. 
I just wanted to take the frustration out of my chest.


  1. I'm assuming that not a lot of English-speaking tourists go holiday there then?

    1. If we didn't have the problem with the police, it would all be nice. But yes, the southern part of the island is mostly for Italian families.

  2. I think JJ must be my twin brother, because like him I would have totally lost my cool.