Exploration of SE Sardinia
Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Thu 18 May 2017 16:48
Last Sunday we hired a car and abandoning ship we set off out of Cagliari heading north west on a motorway - after about an hour turned north through some gentle rolling hills and farmland to visit a place called Su Nuraxi Di Barumini. A UNESCO site that we had been told about by a guy in the marina office . Having then been to the archaeological museum we were keen to see the place . It was discovered in the 1940's and. 50's and at the time looked just like a hill covered with earth and debris but some large boulders and pottery had been found nearby . In Sardinian Su Nuraxi means 'il nuraghe' referring to a formidable and peculiar structure . The Nuragic civilisation developed in Sardinia 16-6th century BC Bronze Age through to Iron Age A complex social structure. Nuraghe is named after the characteristic monument of the period And 'nur' has the double meaning of 'heap of stones and cavity' the term refers to a type of fortified architecture. The site was impressive - a tall tower surrounded by smaller ones and outside the remains of smaller round buildings built over different periods. The size of the stones they were built with reminded us of places like Machu Pichu in Peru. Certainly a worth while visit and an excellent guide.
After this and lunch we then headed north east across the mountains - spectacular . We never got above 3rd gear and much of the way we followed a single track railway where apparently a steam train takes tourists in the summer. We were amazed by the size of some of the towns high up in the hills and at one point drove through an abandoned town which looked as if had been quite elegant in its day. After about 4 hours by which time both getting very tired we started descending onto the coastal plane at Lanusei and found our way to hotel Lanthia at a small place called Santa Maria Navaresse . On the way here we drove through a town where all the plant pots were painted pink, lots of pink bicycles of varying sizes throughout the town decorated and pink ribbons, banners and rosettes on the fences and we thought 'strange' (all will be revealed later. )
The hotel was an oasis, the food and Sardinian wine excellent , the pool lovely if somewhat refreshing for a pre breakfast swim both mornings and I could have stayed there a lot longer! Over the 3 nights we were there we walked along the beach, round the town, checked out the marina and walked from the top of the town up a path which led us onto a knoll overlooking the bay and into the mountains to the north. Obviously good walking area and shame we didn't have longer.
Suitably refreshed after 2 nights away we headed south from there on Tuesday and went to a town and harbour called Arbatax as we had been in communication with and followed on marine Traffic another boat that we had first meet in Mahon and then in Calaforte . We had a good cup of coffee with them and a chat and learnt about their various exploits since leaving Cala Forte - we'd crossed from Mahon the same night so had had the same experience then . I hadn't heard the expression before that sailing was 80% monotony and 20% stress well they'd certainly had quite a bit of stress we had just had a bumpy sail coming round the south coast. The town of Arbatax was also decorated in pink and lots of decorated bicycles and we have now learnt that these towns were part of a cycle race through Sardinia and Sicily and Italy ( 5-28th May) Toe to Alps ' the Giro d'Italia ' equivalent to the Tour de France. Its 100th race. Amazing the things one learns wherever you are in the world.
So from Arbatax we then drove south unfortunately the road is slightly inland from the coast due to hills but pleasant countryside and lots of small vineyards and a motorway is being built in stages so we were forever on and off but all along the bits built there was the most amazing Broom in flower - the yellow stunning against the clear blue skies and other flowering shrubs in various shades of pink - the name of which escapes me but obviously planted as part of the motorway build. Very pretty . Also very noticeable throughout the mountains and on this flattish area were the number of small vineyards some planted with very new vines.
We then took the main road inland to Cagliari ( the motorway is being taken further south through flatter country. The road ( which says in the guide book is tortuous) cuts through gorges of pink granite - Monte de Sette. Again quite stunning . Very noticeable on these mountain roads are the number of German and Italian motorcyclists just loving the hairpin bends!
Once down the other side we came back onto the plain of Cagliari the traffic and reality. As we had the car we found our way to a supermarket to revictual the boat.
An excellent break and gave us a feel for inland Sardinia.
Our new crew arrived today - bless them - on a flight from Stanstead at 6.30am having left home at 2.30am! Our intention is to set sail tomorrow for the south east corner of Sardinia and then cross to Sicily Saturday/Sunday . The weather is hotting up and the wind is still blowing I am just hoping the swell is less - watch this space.