Sardinia – June 27th

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Tuesday was my day off.

Half of our group was going on their mountain bike trip while the other half – including me was going to have to wait another day. We could fill this day with activities, go to the beach and take another go at the water sport activities or we could just choose to enjoy the sun.

People in Sardinia apparently don’t use ATM machines as often as we are used to using them because it was quite difficult to get money. Of course we could have gotten extra cash at the airport but I’m not used to having a lot of cash with me. I prefer to get some more when ever I need it. And I was not the only one, so we took a bus to another town where we could find the nearest ATM machine. So tip for next time, take more cash money … you’ll need it!

Unfortunately the town was small and not very interesting and long before lunch we were done with it and we couldn’t wait for the bus to pick us up and bring us back to the camping site. It was extremely hot, even in the morning and in the town the heat seemed to be even worse. So we were really happy to get back to the camp side where we could cool off in the shade. We decided to spend the afternoon at the swimming pool under the trees in the shade instead. All in all Tuesday was a really relaxed day, we didn’t do all that much. But it was nice after a couple of really active days.

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Sardinia – June 26th

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The second vacation day we explored the possibilities of different water sports!

Our large group was divided into two because it would be easier to keep track of everyone and help whenever we needed it. I was in the group that started with the windsurfing. I can tell you one thing for certain, it looks so easy but that is so deceiving. It’s so much harder than it looks!

The main problem for me is balance. I do yoga! I should probably be ashamed, but I have pretty poor balance – I know this, I’m aware. And this became more and more obvious during the morning. I tried to get up on the board but I was really struggling. One problem was also that my left knee was hurting, from the walk we had the day before. Since we were walking down the mountain, you’re constantly holding yourself back and my knee doesn’t like that. It wasn’t hurting too bad but I knew that we still had some walking and of course mountain biking to do during the rest of the week. And I certainly didn’t want to overdo it and put myself on the bench.

During the instructions they told us that we had to basically kneel down on the board. Then put your left foot on the board and when you’re steady you had to use your left leg to push your weight up and put your right foot on the board. And that was my problem, I couldn’t keep doing that. I thought that it was a real shame, because I had a lot of fun. But I couldn’t give it my all.

In the afternoon – after we went back to the camping side for lunch – we switched groups and that meant that we could try out some things on our own. Like stand up paddling – another one of those balance things! It’s still very hard to balance one a huge beginner board. But it was fun to try. Most of the time on the paddle board was spend on my knees instead of actually standing up. The second thing we could try on our own was the kano’s. Which is pretty easy to get the hang of if you ask me. And it’s fun to do! But with the burning sun above us staying too long in the kano could easily give you some nasty sunburn. So even though I liked it a lot I didn’t do it for too long.

But the best thing about this day was a trip on a catamaran. It was a small catamaran for three or four persons. We went on the catamaran in groups of two with one instructor. It was awesome! I really like it. You’re flying over the water at a pretty fast pace and our instructor really took us far our into the sea while the other two instructor barely left the bay. At one point we had a really hard time seeing the other catamarans!

We all came back bruised but we had so much fun! It was awesome to see that some people went from never being on a surf board in the first place to actually being able to do some windsurfing. I personally wasn’t all that good at it. But I blame my left knee which after our walk from the 1000 meter high mountain wasn’t playing nice.

Sardinia – June 25th

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The first real day of our vacation started early, really early. We were awoken by a sound I’d never heard before. At first I thought that what I heard were crickets – but according to some people they were beetle like insects which were high up in the trees surrounding our tents and to be honest the whole camping-side. They are called Cicadas, and they were definitively a wake-up call. But then again we had to be up and ready for breakfast at seven in the morning anyway.

Due to the heat most of our activities were planned early in the morning so that we could enjoy either the swimming pool or the sea in the afternoon. After breakfast which was fast but good we were ushered into a couple of vans and cars and brought to the top of a 1000 meter high mountain. This was the first time we could actually see the surrounding area that we were staying in for the next week. In my opinion it was breathtaking. The mountains were high and ridged and the sea was incredibly blue. The contrast between the blue sky, the gray stone tops of the mountains, the green vegetation and the amazing azure blue of the sea was simply perfect. The view from the top was spectacular! We could see – according to our guide – one fifth of Sardinia.

We started making our way down. According to our guide we had three hours to reach the village where we would be picked up. When you’re standing on top of the mountain looking down you think that they are crazy. But in all honesty it was actually quite simple. We made it faster than we’d expected especially given the warmth. Of course our guides have experience, but we sure didn’t have any. We were told to bring water, lots of water because of the heat and that surely was needed. One minute we would walk in the blazing sun and the next we would walk into a tree overgrown part of the road and the could feel the temperature plummet. Most of the way was downhill with only a few parts where the road would go uphill.

During the walk our guide Sandra told us all kinds of different information, about plants, herbs and fruit we could find along the way. It was interesting and as we were walking down the hill there was also plenty of time to get to know one another. I switched a lot, sometimes I would walk along with the group in the front then switch to the back and that way I was able to talk to a lot of different people in our group.

We made it to the village with time to spare, luckily for us the point where they would pick us up was in the shade, with plenty of room to take a seat and cold crystal clear drink water. Which by now was what we all needed. Not so much water in general but cold water. Because the water we brought with us had started to heat up as soon as we left the camp-side.

Once we arrived back at the camp-side it was almost time for our lunch. This was our first regular meal – since the early breakfast had been in the bar area – I can’t remember exactly what our first meal was but it surely was pasta of some kind, salad and bread. Like every other lunch – don’t get me wrong the food was good, it was healthy, delicious and nutritious, just what we needed on our active vacation. Most of us had decided to go to the next town over in the afternoon because we all wanted to see the sea, enjoy the sun and cool down in the water. We had a blast!

Sunday evening we had a wine-tasting planned with five different local wines and some local delicacies. We didn’t have to think long when they asked us if we were interested, fifteen of us immediately said yes. the daily Happy Hour from seven till eight and then we would have dinner from eight to nine! So yes, lots of alcohol before dinner always a good combination. We had a very, very funny first night!

Sardinia – June 24th

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So there I was June 24th had arrived, I was planning on going to Schiphol by train, since I’m very familiar with the Dutch railway company I knew that I had to calculate extra time. So I planned on leaving at 11 in the morning, best case scenario I would arrive at Schiphol just about one in the afternoon. I wanted to have some time to get something to eat before meeting with the other people who would join me.

In my two hour train journey I needed to change trains four times, which can be a hassle with a big backpack on your bag and a smaller one in your hands. But I managed to do it and I made it to every single one of my connections with time to spare. When I finally  arrived at Schiphol I was getting a little bit nervous. I was glad that I had some extra time, I made sure that I got something to eat and to walk around a bit in an effort to stay busy and calm my nerves.

As I was approaching the white and red cubes I heard someone say; ‘Hey, I recognize that face!’. As I looked up I saw a group of four or five people smiling at me and indeed I  also recognized one of the faces. We both had our picture up on the fora. So that was my first meeting with part of the group and over the next hour more and more people joined us. And every time some one new came to the group you could see that everyone was listening to the names and trying to remember them. We were standing together a little bit awkward, but I guess that is to be expected when you’ve just met about sixteen people. Around three it was time to hand in our bags and go through security towards our gate. Once we reached the waiting area we had our real first time to get to know one another a little bit better. Unfortunately most of us were spread out through the plane and the next time to talk to one another was in the bus a couple of hours later after we landed. Due to a delay we arrived by bus at the camping sight around nine thirty in the evening. A meal was waiting for us and we received some last minute information and we met our last couple of group members who had arrived with an earlier flight.

After our meal we were informed that we would receive the keys to our tents and that we would have to be up at seven in the morning for our breakfast. We wanted an active vacation and we were surely going to get it!

All in all it had been a long day and I think that everyone was really done for. So I dropped my bags off in my tent and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. The next morning would start early enough, after all.

Sardinia, Italy

Sardinia_2017

What can I say, I did it and it literally was the best choice I could have made for myself. It took me a while, I admit that but once I finally made the choice I was content with it. Early this year and in all honesty this past year as well I wanted to go on a vacation. I knew for certain that I didn’t want to go alone. But who can you ask if the friends you get along with best have a family or are in a relationship and you don’t want to feel like that third wheel.

Someone started talking about single group vacations and in all honesty I was not really a fan of the idea. But as I started researching it I figured out that the ‘single’ part doesn’t really apply to the fact that you are single but more that you are booking the trip on your own. There are quite a lot of different travel agencies that offer single vacations but not all of them really gave me a good feeling. Not that they aren’t good, they just didn’t feel like a good match for me. Some were obviously meant for religious people or the age for certain vacations was a lot higher than I am. At first I was looking for specific destinations. Ever since I’ve visited Barcelona I want to go back there, I feel like there is so much more to discover for me there. But the only group vacation I could find which included Barcelona was with a group of people who were a lot older than I am. And that didn’t feel right. I also saw a trip to Morocco which really appealed to me from a cultural aspect. My reason for not booking this trip was the fact that we would go from one place to the next, on a ten day trip we would on some days visit two or three places and the only place were we really spend more than one day would be Marrakech. In my opinion you’d need an extra relax vacation after this one! Besides the fact that this would be my first trip abroad alone it felt like it would be too stressful to be relaxing.

Another aspect that felt important to me was the fact that I wanted my vacation to be an active one, preferably one where we have a day planning. Because I know that it would make it less likely that I could shy away from interacting with a group if I was doing different things together with them.

For a while I checked out Croatia as a travel destination but the trip was 14 day long roundtrip to different destinations and for a first time that felt like an incredibly long time. Maybe an idea for next year, who knows.

Eventually I found the website singlereizen.nl, which offers all kinds of different trips. Once I read through the information of the Sardinia trip I was sold. It was exactly what I wanted. It gave me an active yet relaxing vacation, besides that we would all get our own tent at the camping we’d be staying at which was a privacy I was looking for. With some of these travels they put two people in a room together which could turn out great but could also be weird and uncomfortable. Especially since you have no choice in the matter. The things that really appealed to me was the fact that most days we had a schedule of activities and some spare time as well. Every day we could participate in a yoga lesson – in the morning a wake-up yoga and in the afternoon a regular yoga lesson. We would have a day were we would go out to the beach and try out different water sports and one day we would go mountain biking! That one really got to me, it seemed like such a cool thing to ride along the beach on a bike and venture up into the hills. I knew that this was the trip for me. At the end of may I booked the trip and while I initially saw it through singlereizen.nl. I was forwarded to nosun.nl which is the travel agency that actually offers the trip.

When I signed up at the end of May (I was fairly late if you asked me) I was the eight person to actually sign up and I thought to myself good it’s a fairly small group and at the same time the trip was already guaranteed to take place. Once I booked and paid for the trip I have to admit that I didn’t really check the information anymore. So I was very surprised that there was a list of seventeen people who’d were going along. A couple of days later I gained access to the fora on which we could post information and ask questions.There it turned out that some more people were added to our group. Some because their initial choice for a trip was cancelled due to a lack of participants. We started posting on the fora, getting to know each other a little bit but it was all fairly basic stuff – you know name, age, where you’re from and what your occupation is. And some people asked some questions about stuff to bring and the likes. And then someone posted a ‘Let’s meet at the airport’ post. If he hadn’t posted it, I would have done it myself. Plans were quickly made.

On Saturday the 24th of June we would meet at the big red and white cubes in the arrivals hall of Schiphol at or about two in the afternoon and at three we would start our first part of the journey to baggage drop-off and the gate.

Want to read more? Don’t worry I am going to give you a full and detailed very picture heavy day by day report.