156/377: Palau



Today too, I have a bit of a long stretch across the Costa Smeralda. I start from the countryside of Arzachena and cycle along an internal road, with a difficult climb, before starting the crazy descent towards Cannigione. Only from the top I understand that if I had gone around going over a stretch of road already done yesterday, it would have been all flat, but I wanted to follow some advice they gave me. Indeed, the view over the entire Cannigione bay is incredible.

Arriving in Cannigione, I take a coffee break in a bar on the square overlooking the sea. Then from here I take a beautiful cycle path for quite a while. And then, the provincial road 13 which passes by the Le Saline, where Peter Gabriel has his home. After more kilometers and uphill, I finally reach the peaks of Capo D’Orso. The view is breathtaking. Below Palau, facing the islands of La Maddalena, Santo Stefano and Caprera.

I pedal to the base of the rocks and I can see the Bear’s rock only from behind. To go up there is a bit of a walk and there is an entrance ticket. For some days now, noting that in this area nothing is free, I think about how much some municipalities could charge to show their assets to turists.


I start the descent and enter Palau. I stop in front of the harbor. They are setting up for a concert, as today, April 25th, is a national holiday. I eat something bought in the bakery and take a ride. I coast a promenade and arrive at the small beach of Old Palau, a tiny cove with boundaries contained by walls with ladders, like a swimming pool. The water is crystal clear. Behind here there is granite with characteristic hollow shapes.


I start to worry about finding an accommodation. I bump into in a b&b. The owner Paula is Australian. I think this is nice, so I stop here. I leave my luggage and get back on my bike for a ride in the surroundings. I cycle up a steep slope to reach the Fortress of Monte Altura, a beautiful granite garrison built at the end of the 1800s. Here too, you enter only with paid guided tours. From this hill I can enjoy a crazy view of the whole archipelago, nearby islands, “which speak”, almost.


From here, I continue for a while to enjoy the view of the coast of Porto Rafael, but the descent is too steep and I think of the ascent I will have to do after. So I stop and go back to Palau. I return to the b&b, do some work, then I go out to eat a pizza on the main road, which starts to come alive for tonight’s celebrations, and I go back to have an early sleep.






In the morning, Paula welcomes guests of her b&b in a nice breakfast room. The only request before entering is that cell phones MUST stay out (switched off is not allowed). With a perfect Italian (but with some inflexions that betray her) she tells me she hates to see couples at breakfast watching their cell phones, and the silent room. Her request forces people to exchange words. And I think: with whom do I speak to, since I’m on my own? No problem (and Paula knows this). After a few minutes in the room, inter-table dialogues are established and in a short time I met two couples on vacation whom I can tell about my project! And Paula participates in the dialogue. People talking. Like the islands here in front of the town. The Palau musician Paolo Angeli and his brother photographer Nanni have sensed this too. They have been organizing an international music festival called ‘Isole che Parlano’ (Island which speak), a festival that every year brings together very interesting artists from all over the world, to which I’ve been, neither as a spectator nor as an artist. New things for my ‘to do’ end-of-project list!