Beautiful Anglona, green (yellowing …) and hilly. I cycle down from Martis and then back up to Laerru. In Sardinia there is little plan.
I arrive in the village where Antonio, a guy whom I met by chance at the Perfugas beer party, welcomes me with his friend Paolo. And the network of solidarity widens.
With Antonio we go to the Town Hall, where the administration has prepared a small welcome refreshment. We eat, drink, say goodbye and go to visit the area.
We get into the car driving through the calcareous territory, and we arrive at a clearing where we park. From here Antonio and I enter the high vegetation to find the entrance to the Su Coloru caves. We enter with torches. We have to lower ourselves a lot and crawl through a narrow space before the ceiling gets high again and we can walk. Unfortunately, these caves have always been frequented and many concretions have been ruined, but in many places they can still be seen. A disturbing background noise increases. We approach a large room where a colony of bats lives. We go under, walking in the guano crust, their droppings, and after a while we go out on the other side. Here is an important archaeological site, with remains of the Mesolithic. We have to go through the whole cave to get out. Fortunately, it’s cool here, and when we get out the heat of this summer day hits us.
Meanwhile, Gigi, Antonio’s brother, joined us. We continue by car and drive through the limestone plateau of Sa Tanca Manna. At the edge of the narrow road there are several equipped routes for climbing (with their usual eccentric names). Antonio and I (while the others rest) take a path that goes up to a panoramic rocky peak just above the village, where a cross has been placed. The view is beautiful. Nearby are old limestone quarries. We find them among the vegetation, while we struggle to find the way back!
It is time for lunch and we are joined by Erica, Antonio’s girlfriend, who has prepared lunch. The bar in the square kindly lets us use their tables. In the afternoon they take me to the Bena ‘e Traes hotel, better known as’ the hippodrome’ for the presence of a racecourse, all managed by Luca, an Italian for many years now in Sardinia, one of the many who fight against every difficulty to improve the accommodation situation of this island.
In the evening they wait for us at the municipal game room, where I tell my adventure to a small group of attentive and curious children, and even here they prepared a nice reception buffet for me! Francesca joined us, a photographer who has recently published ‘In Laerru’ a photo book that contains historical images collected by the inhabitants of the town.
Now that the heat has gone down we take the opportunity to walk around the streets of the village, full of special views. We go to visit the ‘rock church’ (but it would be better to call it chapel) of Santa Diadora, tiny, a room, partly dug in the rock, of Byzantine origin. Then we return to the center of the town, crossing the central park, a depression in which there is a large citrus grove, paths and a playground for children. A little further down is the swimming pool which is still closed. We go back to the village, walking in the narrow streets, among the many churches, interesting for the presence of very beautiful ornamentations and portals, the parish church of Santa Margherita and the oratories of Santa Croce and Rosario. And then the ruins of the church of San Sebastiano, now immersed in modern houses.
We conclude this beautiful day at the bar in the central square, where they brought an amplifier and where I play and tell my story to a varied audience. At the first low sounds of the ukulele I wake up a gentleman who had fallen asleep, perhaps because of too many beers!
Bats in a cave
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
In writing my stories, I often need some additional information on the villages of Sardinia I visit, and then I do some research online, rarely Wikipedia, sometimes the site of the Sardinia Region, but mostly some specialised sites. One of these, which I have already consulted several times, is www.lamiasardegna.it.
The site was created by Claudio De Tisi, a resident of Milan, but who made Sardinia his second home. After he took vacations in the mid-seventies, he began to come back more and more often, to visit many places and take an impressive number of photographs.
The site is so complete for every place in Sardinia, that for a moment I feared that there was yet another person who really visited all 377 municipalities in Sardinia. After contacting Claudio I was reassured: although he visited many, perhaps most, he had to complete the site with information from other sources for the few places he had no way to visit in person.
Given that my blog collects the diary of my days, but it is not a real tourist guide, I refer you to the site of Claudio, really detailed, to learn more about all the 377 municipalities of Sardinia!