"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


Neptune's Grotto

For our last day in Alghero (see these previous posts for the whole story of our Sardinian beach trip extravaganza) we took a boat to Neptune's Grotto. At the time we weren't too sure what it really was, but we had a good part of a day before we had to head to the airport to catch our flight home, and going to the beach and spending the flight home in sandy beach clothes wasn't incredibly appealing. Plus, if you start inquiring about the boat trips, it's sort of hard to get away from the boat guys. Before we knew it, they had carried our stroller with a sleeping Penelope onto the boat and were pushing the boat away from the dock.

Once Penelope woke up from her morning nap, she was in boat heaven. I'm pretty sure that if we would have let her, she would have taken over as the boat captain.

The problem with a boat ride and a toddler is that dangers abound everywhere--and that means having to keep a very curious, wiggly child semi-constrained at all times.

...Which didn't always go over too well... It was a wee bit difficult finding pictures for this post with a happy Penelope, because most of the time she was more focused on jumping in the water and swimming with the dolphins (pleeease mom!!) and dealing with our negative response than looking at the camera.

Ahoy! Land ahead!

Alghero is on the Northwestern side of the island of Sardinia. If you follow the coastline around to the very Northwest corner, you get to these cliffs that stick out into the sea. This part of the island is called Cappo Caccia.

(Look! Finally a quiet, sweet girl soaking in the scenery. Yes, we did have to eventually resort to the paci.)

There are lots of caves carved into the limestone rocks above and below the water. A big lighthouse is perched on top of the cliffs.

As we rounded the corner, it got even more impressive.

And the water turned a brilliant blue.

(I finally wised up and put the squirmy child in the Ergo carrier)

Still not too keen on the picture taking though--and it would have been such a great backdrop!

Finally we arrived at the famous 'Neptune's Grotto.' After the boat pulled up to the entrance of the cave, we got off the boat by walking on a plank that moved up and down with the waves (very scary with a baby strapped to your front!). Then the boat left us there to explore--I just hoped it would come back!

This marine cave system was discovered by fishermen in the 18th century. When you enter there is a large, clear-water lake that leads into a huge open cavern. When people first started visiting, the fishermen guides would row the tourists in little boats across the lake alit with little floating candles. So romantic! Now, there is a guide that leads you (and a hundred other tourists!) through the caves via stairs. Not quite as romantic. 

the entrance

The stalactite and stalagmite formations were amazing.

Penelope was a bit entranced by all of it.

And it kept going and going... It was much bigger and more impressive than either of us expected. This part reminded us of some cathedrals we had been in.

Penelope really liked the stalactites.

When we were done with the tour our boat was waiting for us. We hopped back on and enjoyed the ride back to Alghero. This time, we were a teeny bit more successful with pictures...

oops, side-tracked again


And then the subject started getting sleepy. Boat motors and rocking will do that to ya.

We pulled into the dock with a sleeping Penelope and thankful that some random Italian boat guys had talked us into taking this trip. The pictures don't quite do the cliffs, caves or blue water justice, but you get the idea.

So long Sardinia!

a kiss for daddy while waiting for our flight at the alghero airport to make up for all of her trying moments


  1. a lovely story, well told -- and I'll bet Penelope (and you) will get a good laugh out of these shots when she's grown.

  2. Great story. Amazing pictures. Adorable child!