By busHowever, Olbia, the town to the south, has been less affected by the summer onslaught of sun seekers from Germany, France, the UK, the US and increasingly Australia. Its Stazione is the limit of rail travel to the north, the remainder of the trek towards Corsica being realised by tourist bus company ARST.Our hotel in Olbia, La Locanda del la Conte Mameli, was centrally located off Via Umberto 1 with a swathe of restaurants and bars close by. A little further down the street was the port, spilling out passengers and trucks after a ferry crossing from Civitavecchia, north of Rome.Our bus trip to Palau, 70 minutes north of Olbia, proved just as fascinating as the rail trip the day before, with highland sheep and cattle, rural farms with grey stone fences and sporadic glimpses of the famous coast towards which we were heading.PalauPalau finally loomed into view, far more sprawling than I remember when I last stayed there 25 years ago. The bus terminal was located at the maritime terminal, where ferries could be seen taking passengers and vehicles across to the scenic islands of La Maddalena. Here Italian patriot and hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi, is buried, and thousands visit the home where he spent his final years.We were fortunate enough to stay in an idyllic room in Hotel La Vecchia Fonte overlooking the marina full of yachts and a park full of locals celebrating Easter en famiglia – perfect! A short stroll took us to beaches with the clearest of waters outlooking to the La Maddalena archipelago, with yachts showing off their skilful tacking manoeuvres and motorboats and launches enjoying the sunny conditions.Tomorrow it will be an early start to the very top of Sardinia, SantaTeresa Di Gallura, from where we will ferry across to the island of Corsica, La Corse, equally as mystical and lesser-known as Sardinia yet both so symbolic of the Mediterranean’s allure.TOP IMAGE: Hotel La Vecchia Fonte, Palau Costa SmereldaJoy DoddsMediterraneanrailReviewSardinia By railRather than contend with driving on the opposite side of the road in strange climes, we once again opted for rail travel – and a great move it was. The track headed through Sardinia’s central spine, home to rustic farm houses, long-haired Sardinian sheep primarily bred for milk and large horned caramel-coloured beef cattle, called Melinas, meaning honey coloured, bred for prized marbled meat as well as another breed, the famous Sardis, rather like Holstein cattle, which thrive in marginal difficult terrain – which central Sardinia most certainly is! Contributor Joy Dodds continues her Mediterranean Musings – following last week’s Part 1: Naples & Sardinia, with today’s Part 2: Sardinia’s Costa Smerelda.Sardo, the popular term for Sardinian locals and all things Sardinian, being unquestionably inviting, it was almost sad to leave capital Cagliari, heading north to the island’s luxury resorts of the Costa Smeralda. The landscape morphed from rough, volcanic rock-strewn hills as we approached Olbia. Vineyards of Vermentino grapes, the famous Sardinian wine variety, started to appear, as did conglomerations of holiday retreats, the playground for the not-so-rich and famous! Being a basically poor island production-wise, Sardinia’s livelihood was bolstered in the 1950s when the Aga Khan saw the potential of the beaches and crystal-clear waters, and started the tourism condominium boom, especially apparent around Palau.