Holidays and Other Excursions

Tag: Alghero

Sardinia 12.10.23

New and old ARST units at Macomer

Thursday 12.10.23

Activities today re a little mixed as we head off for a drive along a coast hugging road as we head initially southwards with our first target the town of Bosa.  Whilst the town, like Alghero was ruled from Spain the fortress is of later origin being built by a Tuscany family in the thirteenth century.  We have a walk around the lower town but can see that the route to castle is many steep steps and decide that as it seems to be even warmer than yesterday that the effort is probably not justified.

Bosa – river Temo

When we arrive we spot a horse and trap providing rides around the town – but when we return to the starting point I suspect that the owner has decided it is either too hot or too many people and has replaced it with a Dotto train, so we decide not to take the trip.  We have lunch in the square and then return to the coach for our onward journey.

In theory we should be on a train as there is usually a service from here to Macomer – as we progress by road we do cross the railway and the lack of service at present is because significant sums are obviously being spent on track maintenance as we pass a track maintenance team at one point and at another a stack of replacement track panels.  We do find both the closed Bosa station and the still “open sometime” Bosa Marina station which is the limit of operation.  I rather think that the railway probably lies largely under a newish looking road!

Tinnura art

Having taken a more direct route we cross the railway just before Tinnura where there is an impromptu stop as the town has a large number of paintings all over the walls.  We have a planned visit to another location later on the trip but I believe I prefer the paintings here.  Our current destination is Macomer where the two stations, one for the main line and one for the little branch lines face each other.  We have a lot of time to kill as the service onwards is by train.  Macomer is about 1800ft above sea level and as we turn through 180 degrees so that we are heading east we are high above a river valley.  The line then follows the contours of the countryside as we head towards Nuoro which is at about the same elevation but we need to climb back into the town from the lower levels.  There is a modern station here – again evidence that whilst services might be relatively few there is money available for the infrastructure.

We rejoin our coach for the final stage to Arbatax a fishing village on the east coast – so we have effectively crossed over the centre of the island.  Some dozing during the first part of the journey whilst we are on the main roads heading generally in a south easterly direction.  The last five or six kilometres are however very much slower and twistier as we descend from the mountain ranges to sea level.  The hotel is very well appointed and might make an ideal location well away from it all – there is a buggy to get us to our rooms although it disappears and it turns out our room is walkable.  There are extensive grounds, pool and the sea – but we are out all day tomorrow so cannot participate.



Sardinia – 11.10.23



Wednesday 11.10.23

Today is a railway free day and we stay in Alghero tonight as well.  So we do not start that early and then take the long wander along the seafront towards the fort.  Unlike the north of the island we are now well down the west coast and this fort is of Aragonese origin – there is a huge influence from Spain with a minority dialect based around Catalan is spoken apparently.

Once we reach the fortress we see a Dotto train and after our walk we are in need of a sit down, so ticket bought and once the train is full (or nearly so) the driver takes us past the adjacent walls and then on wander around the old town.  Then out to the far side of the town and some of the more modern development before returning to our starting point.  All so much easier than walking and not knowing where we are going.

Each of us had spotted potential lunch spots as we waved our way around the town and so I take the lead heading to the one I had spotted.  Mine was a relatively modern looking restaurant just outside the older area – but by the time we arrived it was deemed too early so we wandered back into the town to look at the architecture and amazingly ended up outside the restaurant which Jackie had spotted – which was in small shady in one of the few “open” areas in the town – which had been created during bombing in WWII.  Time for lunch we agree.

Pink bicycle Alghero

Adorning the waterfront (with a veritable forest of masts behind in the marina) is this piece of imagery which reflects the involvement of the town in the 100th Giro d’Italia held in 2017 and which started in Alghero on 5 May.

The weather remains much warmer than we had anticipated for this time of year so the walk back to the hotel after lunch not only requires a couple of stops but also a visit to an ice cream shop which I had espied on the outward journey as a potential stopping point on the return.

Also be meandering slightly off route we find a huge supermarket and this provides resources for a modest dinner in our room.

Sardinia – 10.10.23

Swing ATR220 Sassari

Tuesday 10.10.23

In retrospect today has to be seen in comedic terms, although it did not feel remotely like that at the time.  All tour participants, except three, decide to take the non-railway cultural option to visit local nuraghes.  The tour manager seemed keen to keep the group together which I can understand – but there is a railway line to be covered and we are never likely to pass this way again.

The plan is to travel from Sassari to Ozieri-Chilivani which is where the line joins the main line between Cagliari and Olbia which we will cover towards the end of the holiday – so it is a major section of the island railways we cannot otherwise cover.

Tickets purchased very easily we emerge onto the station.  The station is being given an extra heavy cleaning and there are a number of individuals wandering around.  We eventually learn that there is a new train launch today and apparently there are people on the ground to ensure the press saw the best of the railway!  The Swing trains commenced delivery in 2020 and have been extended to other routes – with this being the formal launch for Sassari to Olbia!

Our train arrives and we head eastwards for a pleasant trip through the countryside and we make decent progress across country.  It is comfortable and certainly less noisy than the units in use in Corsica.  The line feels as if the track has been renewed fairly recently and there are plenty of passing loops at most stations – although not many trains pass us.  If there is any freight moved on these railways we did not see any during our visit.

The service is on its way to Olbia and on checking we find that we could have continued all the way there as it will be the same unit coming back.  However we decided to disembark at Ozieri-Chilivani as planned.   A quick search on Ozieri before leaving the UK had shown a selection of restaurants.

A wander around the area adjacent to the station shows that we have made a serious mistake.  We are actually in Chilivani – which is largely an industrial area on the other side of the railway to which there is no immediate access.  The bus departing at high speed as we left the station presumably provides a link to Ozieri  which is around 5 miles and 90 minutes walk away.  Whoops.

Sardinia Blues train

Residing in a siding at the station and not moving is one of the newer “Blues” trains which have multiple power modes as work is progressing in the south of the island from Cagliari  on the main line with a rolling electrification programme which sounds like a very good idea.

The station has a buffet and we result to what it can provide.  To demonstrate that there is little choice in the area we are joined by 5 members of the local constabulary who also take their lunch – we are extremely well behaved!  No marks for research and proves that one should always book ahead.

We return to Sassari where the group re-assembles for the afternoon service to Alghero which is another ARST service using the same units which work to Sorso as some are through workings.  Interestingly the two lines take completely different alignments on leaving Sassari with the line we are now on eventually climbing above the line we took earlier and then running alongside each other in the river valley until we make a turn to the right as the other line turns left.

Our destination is the seaside town of Alghero and the train has a high load from start to finish – obviously a popular journey.  it is 28 km but used to be longer as the route used to run to a station at the port – but has been cut back no doubt to facilitate the walk along the sea front which we will enjoy tomorrow.  Again the track and ride are good and with the passing loops more capacity available than needed.

We do not go far for dinner tonight – the hotel next door has a decent looking restaurant and we meander there and taking it easily and we have a nice view out over the water.  Not the best of days in terms of our organisation – and no-one to blame but myself for not doing a more diligent check of station location in relation to habitation!