It’s been a while since it hasn’t rained but today the clouds are back, occasional presence in all these stages of the Gerrei. Today’s stage is not long but constantly rising, especially the last bit.
I enter the village and I am welcomed by Tonio who takes me to his bnb Il Vicoletto. Today I am a guest of Selenita, a friend of a friend I never met. She’s originally from here and wants to contribute to my project by offering me hospitality. In the morning I take a chance to take a tour of the village. The bnb is located right in the historic center, where there are many houses with walls in mixed stone, volcanic rocks and sandstones. Many facades feature old portals and wooden windows.
I pass Monte Granatico, in a widening of the main street, and I head to the church of San Sebastiano, Renaissance age, with a beautiful rose window. Inside, on the sides of the altar, beautiful sculptures set in the pillars. Outside the square is a beautiful space, where I sit for a moment contemplating the mural on one side and the facade of the church.
In the afternoon Tonio takes me to visit a little the countryside. He tells me how Escalaplano is in the process of depopulation, partly due to the absence of some services and also the remoteness of hospitals (which I have already heard in many other municipalities). We get into the car up to the rural church of San Giovanni, stopping for a moment at the Sorgente Fossada, a spring from which comes out water that unfortunately is no longer considered drinkable.
We park in front of the newly built church and take a walk in the surrounding area. We are high enough, the day has cleared and we can enjoy a nice view of the village. We pass on a rocky ridge where there are beautiful domus de janas, dug in the rough quartz sandstone, which crumbles to release a very white sand. Not far from here are the remains of the old church of San Giovanni, now a ruin. Nearby there should also be a nuraghe but we do not find it.
From here we move towards the Is Pranus park. Tonio shows me ‘The portal’, an entrance to the park that seems almost like a cemetery, and Tonio confirms that it was supposed to be the new cemetery but that was then discarded because too far from the village. We enter from another entrance instead. Around there are many cork oaks. We walk to an artificial lake fed by a spring. We are on a sort of plateau that I will have to cycle across tomorrow to go to Perdasdefogu, which is seen in the distance, along with the wind turbines on the mountains behind.
The last stage is a fairly difficult place to reach, of which Tonio does not remember the exact position. He calls it Su Casteddu (the castle) because that’s what his grandfather called it. We are very high up on a hill from which we can see the valleys around. After a little walk we arrive at a rock mass, behind which … nothingness! Overhanging, a few hundred meters under, the Flumineddu valley, the river is only a small strip. I can not get too close, as it has already happened in several scenic spots on this trip, but I enjoy the majestic view.
While Tonio returns to the schools, where his wife is working for the regional elections under way today, I eat a pizza and I go back to the bnb to work, going through the narrow streets of the historic center, lit up by that classic orange-yellow lights and thinking about what will be the result of these elections, which I already know somehow.
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
Election Day. My project is not political. Despite having my ideas, as far as possible I try not to talk about politics on this trip. But in the last month it has been difficult, given the intensity of the electoral campaign for our region. Having been traveling for almost four months, and having met and being hosted by people of all kinds, from all walks of life, I have made a clear idea of what people will vote for. I have percentages in mind, a mental count of the humans encountered on my way.
I have heard any kind of opinion, informed, uninformed, in-depth, superficial, right-wing, left-wing. I listened a lot. I have an idea of the problems and fears of people. I took from the hands of administrators electoral leaflets, which I regularly threw away the next day, I received messages of request for support, I received unnecessary propaganda on social media by people of all kinds, known or not. In a few moments I gave in, I could not resist the temptation to express my opinion, in defense of ideas and rights that I consider inalienable.
But in the end today I am here, far from my village of residence, and I will not vote. Tomorrow I will know if my mental figures were right or wrong. In any case, I will be glad that this moment has passed, maybe the municipal administrations, resuming their daily routine, will begin to notice this cycle-musician wandering for their territory.