26th to 28th June - Dell'Ogliastra to Porto Brandinghi (then on to Rome)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Sun 28 Jun 2009 22:50
On Thursday we headed north again to Marina di Puntaldia in Porto
Brandinghi just south of Olbia. Despite another windless start the wind
picked up later and although it was behind us, with just the genoa up, we
had a great sail. John again spent the whole day sitting on the back with
his rod "not fishing."

There were 20 knot winds blowing across the marina when we arrived and
quite a swell outside, so we could not drop the dinghy and instead docked
with the dinghy still on the davits and removed it later. Quite worrying
at the time but all went well. We were also worried about how much the
marina would cost as it was much more up-market that Villamius - a really
nice resort-style marina. Fortunately, although it would be €200 a night
in August, this marina still regards June as fairly low season and it was
only €51.

It was a good job that they marina was not expensive as we were going to
be leaving the boat for four days as we headed to Lake Bracciano near Rome
for Mo's 50th birthday party. We knew Mo from our time in Hong Kong (see
also the Balearics sailing trip last autumn) and he and his partner Irena
had retired to a place on the lake several years ago. Lake Bracciano is
where all the chic people hang out (Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes were
married in the local castle). Mo and Irena have fully adopted that
Italian lifestyle with a beautiful and stylish home and clothes to match.

We were expecting a party out of Hello magazine. The party instructions
had said to wear something chic and glamorous. Fortunately Emma had taken
me in hand and I had something to wear other than my usual supply of
Stanley Market T-shirts and shorts. John and Rob on the other hand were
getting increasingly nervous.

John had been in charge of arranging the transport to Bracciano.
Expecting something in keeping with the nature of the party it was a bit
of a surprise to find that we were travelling by Moby Ferries, who have
adopted the Loony Tunes cartoon characters as their theme. The outside of
the ferry was painted with a huge cartoon mural and inside wherever you
went there were huge models of Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Coyote etc....
sitting at tables or suspended from the ceiling. The surprises then
continued when we reached Bracciano and found that rather than being
booked into a swanky five star hotel, John had instead chosen a couple of
caravan's on a local campsite (€5 extra for linen).

The party was on Saturday but on Friday evening it was drinks at Mo and
Irena's before I took Emma to dinner to celebrate her 25th (?) birthday.
A lovely courtyard restaurant that Mo had recommended as being the most
romantic in the vicinity. The food was very good although, for a
restaurant in the "slow food" movement, the courses came remarkably

We spent Saturday looking around the town and then headed to the party.
It was a very impressive affair and although there were plenty of
beautiful people about, there was also a fair sprinkling of normal ones.
Including names from the past in Hong Kong (John Bligh, Dickie Armstrong,
Pamela Ferguson, Veronica Rose, Analies Campion..........) - as Mo
mentioned, it was practically the HSBC audit team from 1987.

The party ended when the sun rose (it was the first time I had been out
all night for many many years) and most of Sunday was spent recovering
before we left. John had booked the trip back to Olbia on an overnight
ferry - in a four berth cabin. A fact that did not impress Emma. She had
already had to endure many long hours of Rob and John's discussion of
toilet habits and their views of the local Italian ladies. Now she had to
spend the night in the same cabin as Rob's bottom!

Attachment: 26th to 28th June - Dell'Ogliastra to Porto Brandinghi (then on to Rome).doc
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