4 to 5 May 2017
When we arrived in Alghero it was gripped by Giro fever. The Giro d’Italia is an annual cycling road race which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and, for the first time in 10 years, Sardinia was hosting the first three stages and was very excited about it.
The race is known as the “Corsa Rosa” which explained why the town was literally decorated everywhere in pink.
There were pink bicycles everywhere.
Even the gorgonzola was Giro branded!
The day before the race start, and while Stefan waited on the boat for our spontaneous visitor, Clive, to arrive, I went up on to the city walls to see what was going on. I found hundreds of school children with cups of pink paint and white t-shirts. What could go wrong, I thought?! Envisaging something like the celebrations at Holi in India, I feared returning to the boat covered in pink paint but instead, in a very well behaved way, they all set about painting their toys and their t-shirts pink.
The guys at the marina had talked about the harbour being closed off and hundreds of boats taking to the sea for a performance. Sure enough there were lots of small boats waiting for something. At the sound of a klaxon they all started forward, unfurling pink banners behind them. Even from the elevation of the walls it was not quite the spectacle we had been led to believe it would be. Perhaps the helicopter got a better view! All I was thinking was “I hope they get all those metres of pink plastic sheeting out of the water before we head out to sea again”. We don’t want to get the diver out again like we had to in Cartagena!
When I returned from the walls, our favourite crew mate had arrived. Clive had not been on board since our unexpected crossing to France and we owed him some sunshine and calm seas. He arrived just in time to share all the excitement of the Giro and the marina even rolled out the pink carpet for him!
On the morning of the start we were amazed to be able to get up very close to all the team buses and bikes as they arrived for the start and made sure we saved extra cheers for the arrival of British team, Sky.
We waited patiently beside the route for the cyclists to come passed and then in less than 2 minutes it was all over, in a blur of brightly coloured lycra.
As we walked back into town they had already started dismantling the enormous stage and Alghero was returning to normal.
Selfie, with Clive at the start of the Giro d’Italia.