While there are many upsides to living in Berlin, there is one consist gripe from newbies and authentic Berliners alike: the weather. The summer months, albeit brief, offer ideal weather conditions however the longer felt winter months includes primarily cloudy, rainy weather. Even in May there’s still a chill in the air.
Since the lack of sun and warmth, along with some bureaucratic stress, was giving me the blues I decided to take a trip to Cagliari, a small city in the south of Italy that seemingly no one I knew had ever heard of. Although I’ve been to Italy before, I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing the coastal region. I contemplated traveling to a country I had never been to before but the weather in most of those countries would be just as cold as Berlin, and that would defeat the purpose of my cold weather escape.
One of the many perks I wanted to take advantage of while living in Europe is the ease of traveling to a totally different country within a couple of hours. There were many places I wanted to see but also wanted to be conservative with how much I paid for a trip. So before I decided on this city, I had to narrow my travel options by searching for flights first.
There are many European “budget” and “no frills” airlines that supply you with nothing but a seat, seatbelt, and storage for one modest sized bag en route to your destination. For a trip of a few hours or less that’s all you really need. My airline of choice is usually EasyJet simply because I’ve downloaded their app but there are plenty of others.
I choose my destination solely based on what cost the least and what days the airline is offering flights. Since I don’t have a job with set hours, flexibility works in my favor for cheap travel. After searching several countries, some of which didn’t have flights during what was then considered “off season”, I decided on Cagliari because I had never been, it was sunny, there was a beach, and the round trip flight was under €140.
Before booking my flight I also needed to consider where I would be staying. So with my flight app open I switched to my Airbnb app. Many travelers moving from country to country prefer to stay in hostels because they’re cheaper and it’s an easy way to meet people to accompany you around a new city. I have been traveling by myself for over 10 years so having my own space to sleep, eat, and do whatever I wanted in my free time so my own flat would always be my preferential accommodation.
It’s always good to do a quick Google search of what the city you’re traveling to has to offer. Is there a particular area where there is a large amount of attractions near each other? How well connected is their public transportation? When looking for a place to stay I try to balance price with convenience. Usually you can find a place where you won’t have to travel far to see the sights or at least there will be a short trip to some form of transportation.
When staying in a sunny, beach city I’d like to have a nice view of the water. After including that criteria while also narrowing down my price and room preference and adding wi-fi, which is a must when traveling to a foreign country, I found a room for €27 a night. So once I confirmed my flight, I requested my room.
The upside of traveling to a lesser known city in a foreign country is that it isn’t full of tourist crowding the streets, the downside is that less people there may speak English. While my most valuable spending is done on traveling, it would also pay off to learn some new languages. Unfortunately, I’m only currently fluent in English with German being my next language to master since I’m living in Germany. Armed with no knowledge of the Italian language in Cagliari, while everyone was very nice and helpful, our communication was limited and relied on a lot of hand gestures.
Being the solo wanderer that I am, the lack of interaction didn’t bother me. It gave me more time to see the city on my own and to take in the crumbled buildings, graffiti, ocean views, and innovative architecture alike. With my Canon in tow, almost everywhere I looked was picturesque.
Many European cities are very walkable. Luckily Cagliari had an easy and frequent train and bus system. One way to and from the airport was only a €1.50 train ride. The bus from the city to the beach was €2.10 (including a €.60 activation fee) and the rest of the time I traveled by foot. There’s never really a need to rent a car or take a taxi unless you’d like to travel outside of the local system. But even a train ride to Rome was less than €40 and took less than 40 minutes.
The only other thing I had on my itinerary was to eat. Sure there’s pizza and pasta everywhere but not like in Italy. When it came time to look for good eats, it seemed that Cagliari was late to rise. Most places were closed for the day when I arrived on Sunday and the kitchens of restaurants that were open didn’t start serving food until noon or 1pm. As a lover of breakfast I was given the choice of a pastry or starvation. However, espresso was available anywhere at any time.
By the time I made it to a restaurant with a functioning kitchen it was time for lunch. I sat outside in the sun then ordered a pizza and a glass of Italian wine, perfect first day food. Then as I saw the pizza walking towards me it was so large the entire thing couldn’t fit on the plate. I got a pizza as big as my body for only €5. With large portions and low prices, eating good and plenty doesn’t have to eat away at your funds.
Whenever I travel I try to do everything that I want, whether it be a bus tour in Barcelona, or a boat trip from Rome to Capri, but instead of wasting money on impulsive purchases, I research the city and find the best way to maximize my experience at a minimal cost. Seeing the world is a very obtainable goal. I recommend that everyone travel to a different country, take in a different culture, and do it all without stressing about the financial aspects.
All photos by Serita Braxton