Posted by: Jerry Garrett | June 11, 2017

Driving My Mercedes From LA To Italy – Day 29, Sardinia

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 11.37.55 AM

Position of the Duesseldorf Express cargo ship June 11 (VesselFinder.com)

CAGLIARI, Sardinia

My 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL is making good progress today, crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Valencia, Spain, to Cagliari on the southern tip of the Italian island of Sardinia. The sea is as smooth as glass today.

This is quite a trip, as the cargo ship in which my Mercedes is traveling weaves its way through the Balearic Islands of Ibiza and Majorca toward Sardinia. You could have a good argument over which of those islands has the most beautiful waters. A large section of Sardinia’s seafront is called Costa Smeralda (“Emerald Coast”) for good reason. The waters are the colors of precious stones such as emeralds, sapphires and turquoise.

I’ve written previously about Sardinia (My 36 Hours in Costa Smeralda) if you would like to know more.

Although Sardinia is a part of Italy, it is an autonomous region, that pretty much does its own thing. It has a long history of control over its own affairs, and in fact centuries ago controlled vast areas of Italy itself. Today, Russian oligarchs have infiltrated the whole island – especially the prettiest parts.

For instance, if you go out to dinner in tony Porto Cervo, the menus are printed in Italian, English and Russian. The joke is the Russians are the only ones who can afford to eat in the best restaurants anymore. (Years ago, at a dinner for five in Porto Cervo, we spent one million…lira – I think it was only about $700. But I always wanted to spend a million on something; the torta cioccolata for dessert put us over the top.)

The palatial waterfront homes are now owned by oligarchs; the yacht harbor is jammed with Russian-owned yachts.

Island life in Sardinia is very much dominated by travel on the seas. Yachts, ferries and cargo ships connect it to the Italian mainland, and the huge French island of Corsica, which nearly touches its northern tip.  At one time, I thought about picking up my Mercedes in Cagliari, driving around the coast to the short ferry crossing to Corsica, touring Corsica and then taking the daily car ferry from Bastia at the north end of that island to Nice (about 100 miles). But the price of gas probably would have bankrupted me! That whole trip would have been several hundred miles in total.

Anyway, the cargo ship, the Duesseldorf Express, carrying my Mercedes to its rapidly approaching rendezvous with me, will only be a short time in Sardinia; then it will wind around the southern tip of the island, before heading up its glorious eastern coast, toward its next stop in the Tuscan port of Livorno.

And then its on to Genoa, where I plan to pick the car up, as soon as port authorities tell me it has cleared customs and is ready to go (hopefully that process does not take as long as it seems to for customs to clear my lost luggage at Italian airports). This two-month odyssey from my house in the western United States to my temporary home near Nice – a month of it on the high seas – is starting to get real…

Jerry Garrett

June 11, 2017

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. […] even ate in the same expensive restaurant where, as I mentioned in my Day 29 report, we had spent a million lira on a dinner for […]


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