Monday, July 15, 2024

Life decisions in Sardinia



So, if you have been a reader of mine, you have pretty much been up to date about my chaotic life during the past year. If you have not been a reader of mine then you better go back to my older articles and catch up, because if you do not know where the story starts it will be hard to follow what will be next. And believe me, there is an adventure waiting to be lived and written… Just to give a short note since December 2022 we have been dealing with a flood and related and never-ending nightmarish issues due to that, which as I said if you are curious go back and start reading.

As things kept not progressing, and the construction just decided to never end… My mom and I decided to take a vacation for 15 days, for the first time since before the “Merve Bayindir” brand.

Yes, I know we are workaholics but we like it that way. We have also decided to take this vacation with my brother and two nephews (4 & 5). As this was not enough craziness we have also decided not to stay in a hotel.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking, well at least the ones who are like me, who like to lay on the beach while someone brings the Mojito, preferably with no child noise. Listen don’t go insane on me now. I love kids, I mean I love spending time with them so much so that I collaborate (voluntarily) with a kindergarten, not only that but I think every neighbor’s kid loves me because I talk and joke with them. More importantly, I respect them, and their honesty. However, your first real vacation over 12 years deserves peace…. This time my very excited brother who decided to buy a camper due to in-understandable reasons encouraged (but did not insist) us to have a vacation on camper sites with them, as we could stay in different parts of the island, also because he had the camper, also they were more reasonable priced, etc. etc.…. Of course, there is the fact that we wanted to see Sardinia.

So yes, we decided to do this with them. No ma’am/sir, no we did not stay in the camper. Most camper sites in Sardinia have also bungalows or container houses, it is mostly Italians, some German and French people who stay here, as there is no way you can get to these sites without a car, that is no joke by the way. I have to admit I think he was more freaked about what was happening than we were. He knows that we enjoy a bit of luxury but what he does not know we also love experiencing new things. Also, Italy is like a second home now or a third or fourth at this point as I have moved so much…

So anyhow after a last-minute search, we have found two spots available both with a container house and camper site. One was on the east-south side of the island and the other one was on the south closer to Calgary (the main city in Sardinia). The first part of the plan was we fly to Milan, my brother picks us up and we all fly to Sardinia the next day. I think that was the only part of the vacation that went as planned.

I am an organizer and maybe a bit of a control freak. I have to know what is next and I am not well equipped for life’s surprises, well this year has been all about how to handle life with zero control over what it would be. So, for me things moving smoothly is a good thing, I mean I plan everything and acknowledge that you can’t control everything and things will happen but isn’t it best to be prepared??? Well, some things you can’t…

Anyway, let’s get out of my head and go back to Sardinia. So, we flew from Milan to Calgary with my two well-behaved nephews, well at least on the plane, for the rest, I have to say they can’t sit still and they are obsessed with Avengers and Transformers which we will hear more about during the next part of the stories. However, I will say this god bless all our parents as I don’t know how they raised us without tablets.

So, we get off the plane and there is a minibus ride for us waiting to take us to airport parking where we get my brother’s camper. It is one of those old-style campers from the 70’s or 80’s with updated equipment. There is one double bed above the front seat. Two single beds in the back. A four-seater eating arena. One small bathroom and millions of cupboards. This is the first time I am in a camper and I don’t think it is my thing, but given that I can see why some people like it.

So, we get in the camper and first things first we go to food and extra equipment shopping. With two insane kids running around was not smooth but getting Baci (my favorite chocolate which eventually I had to share with my small nephew) was pretty good. And then off to the first camping site….

Supposedly this was a close to Calgary camping site… It took us almost 6 hours to get there. Sitting in the back of a camper was hard especially because it was shaking too much for me, especially the mountain roads being so bent however the views of deserted Mediterranean mountains and heat after such a cold summer in London just felt like home. In addition to all that the beautiful Flamingos… Yes, Sardinia is home to Flamingos which is something I have learned recently. Despite my nephews trying their best I fell asleep, which was not a bad idea as I heard my mom and brother complaining about this driver right in front of us who blocked an entire chain of cars and campers due to their inexperience driving in the dark on through bent mountain roads…

So, we get to the land of campers, do you check if a golf cart takes the camper to their area, there are lines of trees and in between them there are spots for campers, it is organized like a small city. Then the same golf cart takes you to the house you will be staying in which is about 150-200 meters away. There are some people with campers and some with their small tents and some with explainable large tents and camper mixes with lights and all the other things you have in a vacation house. There are very very very clean shower rooms as well as toilets. Barbecue area, a small restaurant that doesn’t serve good food, and a bar that cannot serve mixers because they don’t know. However, you don’t need any of them anyway.

In our house, there are two bedrooms, one dining and kitchen area, and a front porch. All the houses can see each other but still have their privacy. I was quite impressed with this little house as this might be my expectations were low. So, we settle in and everybody goes to bed. The next morning, after a chaotic moment we realize that breakfasts will happen in our place, eventually dinners too… So, summer breakfast, wait for the heat to slow down a bit then here comes the best part, a very primitive beach with people with their umbrellas and entertainment and a beautiful sea. The water was warm, and clear as glass, so many kids but no screaming it was impressive and calming. A very smooth sea, again have I mentioned it was warm? I mean I am sorry but I can’t really do cold water and also people the ocean is not sea and I don’t think it is for swimming. I do not like the ocean….

Anyhow the second day sea was not that smooth, but we are from Istanbul and there is somewhere called Şile and we know how to handle our waves, not only handle but enjoy our waves. So, there were really big waves which meant the little ones couldn’t be allowed to go into see by themselves, which meant I had to go with them, well also Grannie. Once they feel safe, and know that someone will hold their hand they enjoy being thrown from one side to another by the waves too. On the other hand, in the end, we felt more like out of a washing machine

The first week my brother mostly worked and we got to spend a lot of quality time with my nephews. At night you can see so many stars in the sky because there is no light pollution. Nights are quiet other than some laughter and music. It is very safe as within a few days all campers acknowledge each other. I want to underline the acknowledgment part here as I like my privacy. I am not into meeting new people and having friendships formed on a vacation. No offense.

So, after a lot of wrestling with my nephews, some Turkish practice for them, and some Italian for me, last week closed by a phone call from my landlord in my shop and from our solicitor. The never-ending construction was because no one could decide on things and the prices and I couldn’t do anything as it was within the structure of the building, and he decided to hire a new crew, while I was on vacation when he did not even know where to water valves were…And the other one was from our solicitor who informed us that insurance does not accept the responsibility of the hold and blames the landlord for it… My soul is crashed as we have been trying to keep up with work postponing things, and figuring out new ways to survive every week.

So on a beautiful beach, looking at the endless sea, with a phone in my hand and I am crying, my older nephew comes and asks my mom what is wrong, obviously he can’t understand but he knows I am sad, so this boy who loves to wrestle and drive me mad on purpose comes hugs me and leans on me hugging trying to support me.

After 6 days we leave our first campsite, we pack up, the houses have to be left at 10 am and campers have till noon. We pack up move to my brother’s camper and get ready for moving. Like most Italian kids my nephew prefers to eat cookie-style things in the morning. Believe me, that makes no sense to me as a Turkish girl. My brother finishes his meetings, we pack up and we go to the village nearby, to have coffee.

Now this is where the adventure starts, as I realize now a week of vacation with kids is enough. Especially since you are about to receive your week of depression. I am sad mostly crying and also dealing with trillions of structural questions from my landlord.  My nephews have juice and request ice cream at the place we are having coffee! My brother says yes. Damn it. We start to ride towards the new campsite. On the road, my older nephew says his stomach is not feeling well. I make a move on the bent highway, too late…. Now this is not so bad, it is mostly Ice-cream and I am good at things like that, I can block it out and do what needs to be done. However, my mom can’t handle the smell, and start to gag. My brother starts to gag right after him, during all this happening I am the one who is in the middle of it, and hearing that makes me gag. Now three adults are gaging, my nephew is still sick, and the little one is looking into what he can do to get attention. Well eventually we got out of high way and managed to find a spot to stop but I must say that DO NOT LET YOUR KIDS HAVE ICE-CREAM BEFORE A ROAD TRIP. Not fun…

So, after a pit stop for shopping near Calgary, we are off to the new camping site. This place did not have such good camper sites but it had a nice house for us. Again, two bedrooms, a porch, dining and kitchen area, two bathrooms this time, really modern and clean…. This meant that my nephews decided to move into the house as well, so what started as separate sleep arrangements ended up with 5 people in one place. Now if these 5 people were the same age and drunk all the time, it might have been good but 2 of them were kids who were bored from seeing and they had an aunt who already had way too many bruises due to all the wrestling, and depression spell due to all the things that she was trying to make peace with.

It was the first night, my older nephew wanted to sleep with me instead of going to the camper, which is not like him as they are obsessed with their father. Surprisingly he did sleep with me well, he did, I couldn’t but I also couldn’t get out of bed and I was in constant fear that he was going fall off the bed or wake up to cry for his dad in the middle of night in addition to my anxiety due to business…

So around 5 a.m., when the sun was rising, I felt comfortable enough the leave the room. Now that is when the magic happened…

There were only three people on that long curvy beach, in which you could see a shadow of the castle at the end of it, and another endless sea, soft sand hugging your feet and smooth rocks in the water… Serine quiet with a sunrise… I walk towards the sea feeling the wet sand between my toes and watch the clear sea washing them off with each wave… I had never swum in an empty sea before but I threw myself into the sea and swam. Now crying and swimming are not a very good combination but by the end of the swim, I am calmer. I know what is next for me and it can’t be London anymore….

I am broken as after everything and so much success I feel like a big failure, I don’t know how to get up and start all over again. I don’t even know how to pack up anymore. I feel tired.

The next few days, I took walks on the long beach, listening to songs from the 80’s and collecting sea glass. I had two nephews who occupied me constantly and did not let me fall into the deep end of depression. Though I had this one beautiful night where it started with a flower my nephew asked me to put on my hair, and the other insisted that I couldn’t take it off. A full moon that keeps coming between the clouds and some rain.  A couple of mixers and one shared bottle of wine to one bottle of wine just for me. Drinking under the rain that eventually came and crying…

That is when it was a bit clearer, I won on what I did, but life beat me to it…. So, with the encouraging words from my brother which is a rare jewel, it has been decided that we move to Italy and start again in Milan. It was beautiful in a way; it was a revelation or not but I did decide to do so for my mental health. I realize that I enjoy the insanity of my nephews and the Mediterranean weather. I like the soft sand and warm water, and more importantly good fruit.

On the last day, we left the campsite and went to Calgary, the center, which was beautiful, there was an old structure with over 100 steps that climbed and you could view the entire island. It shows you how small you are in reality. And how lucky you are that you are not lonely in all your lowliness. The city is built on hills, so there are a lot of ramps. It is a mix of old and new structures and no parking near the center. It is an island city you can find anything from small stores to big brands like Chanel. I had the best gluten-free pizza of my life, it was south-style Italian pizza which was fluffier with crazy toppings, for the first time I ate a pizza with white sauce as that is not my go-to thing but it was delicious and I am looking forward to eating again.

All and all I have to say Sardinia is a place to be experienced. There are good hotels in which you can stay, and they do pick you up from the airport. However, I will dare you to do your vacation at a campsite, in the middle of tall trees, long beaches, endless sea and as many stars as your eye can see.

Maybe, just maybe you will find another you in you, or learn something new about yourself or just maybe you will see how much courage you can have in life.

As usual, thank you for reading,

Be good to yourself.

Love you.


Merve Bayindir

Information about the camping sites:

First One:

Campeggio Villaggio Sos Flores

Second One:

Flumendosa Village

Extra activities (not included in the camping sites):

Horseback riding

Adventure Park


Electric Biking

Wind Kite


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