157/377: La Maddalena
Today, for the third time in the journey, I am about to take a ferry to reach a Municipality on an island’s island. After the ferry Portoscuso – Carloforte and the Carloforte – Calasetta today I embark the bike on the one for La Maddalena. A short and pleasant crossing, the day is a bit veiled but seems to clear up slowly.
I land on the waterfront and I go to the b&b Via del Centro owned by Fabrizio, booked by my friend Pietro from Orosei, where I leave my luggage. I have no appointments with anyone but I have a lot to do and start right away. I do some food shopping, mortadella sandwich, oranges, walnuts and water and I get on my bike right away.
First stop at the municipal registry office, because I discovered that my paternal grandfather Sebastiano taught here in 1924 at the elementary school and I want to know more. Unfortunately, the clerk tells me that they should consult the historical archives, and he promises to give a look and let me know.
Second stop, after an incredible upill who takes me to the center of the island, the cemetery, where a brother of my maternal grandmother is buried. He died in the sinking of a ship during the second world war. There’s no one at the offices, but after a short search, and having asked two ladies where the soldiers’ graves are, I find a chapel of the war dead and read the name: Bruno Raspi, 4 August 1944 .
I start the descent towards Trinità beach. We are in the north-west side and the mistral is very strong. The view is beautiful, the Spargi, Budelli, Razzoli islands in front, up to the mountains of Corsica. The beach is deserted, I stay here a little while, when two French tourists arrive, with whom I speak for a bit. I get back on my bike and continue the coastal road in a clockwise direction. The views are breathtaking.
I pass the Monti d’A Rena beach, then the small marina of Capo Ferrari, and Cala Lunga. The sceneries continue, and their beauty increases until I reach the beach of Cala Spalmatore, where I can’t help but stop. There are some tourists but it doesn’t matter. I get on the stone pier that stretches to the center of the bay by bike, into the sea of an indescribable color, and here I stop to eat, with my bare feet dangling over the water.
I get back on my bike. I want to be able to go to Caprera, the island of Garibaldi. I return to La Maddalena and take the bridge that connects the two islands. I look at the map and understand that visiting it all over would be a hard one. I choose to arrive at the southern end, and after crossing beautiful woods and a stoney coastal road I reach the Bastiani Fortress on Punta Rossa, a sort of peninsula on the island. Here are the ruins of the Savoy fortress used to repel French attacks.
The wind has definitely increased but the day is still beautiful and I decide to venture into the upper part of the island. I climb considerably, up to the base of impressive rocks. From here the view is incredible, La Maddalena, up to Palau. I keep going up and arrive at the Giuseppe Garibaldi Memorial, a relatively new museum, built in an old fortress. Even here, as now in other places, I decide not to enter, but I throw myself into a steep country road that leads me back towards the bridge, enjoying the whole panorama.
I return to La Maddalena against the wind, exhausted, after more than 50 kilometers of cycling through the two islands, but happy. I head to the beautiful historic center of the town, made up of narrow and elegant streets, for an aperitif at The Duke, where Leandro, a barman, a friend of the trustworthy Pietro from Orosei, is waiting for me. Leandro prepares me a phenomenal cocktail accompanied by snacks that serve as dinner . I return to the b&b and after the usual bit of night work I fall asleep.
Islands that speak
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
Graphic Novel No.2: “It is only 5 minutes away!” or “On the objectivity of the people”, Part Two.