I leave Alghero immediately after lunch, after having walked a little further along its beautiful streets in the historic center. Along the road that leads me to Olmedo, I cross several rally cars that go back to Alghero. This week, in fact, the 2019 Sardinia Rally is taking place, the eighth round of the world rally championship, which I have already heard of in various places of northern Sardinia, where so many municipalities have been hosting some stages for 15 years. Even last night, during the small concert in Alghero, some rally cars passed by us emitting a very loud roar!
I arrive at the village, more or less all new houses, and I settle in the b&b Angedras (Sardegna written in reverse … like the record of the late Cagliari bassist Marcello Melis, inspired by Coltrane’s Airegin/Nigeria). I cycle the village, which streets are more or less a grid, evidence of its more or less planned construction. I find the two churches a short distance from each other and both Our Lady of Talia. The old one, all in tricolor stone, red trachytes, pink tuffs and white limestones, and the most recent, from which the community is now coming out at the end of the mass. They look at me a little intrigued as I take pictures of the mural in front, representing the old church. I look out onto a vantage point where I admire the hilly landscape of the Nurra, and return to the center.
Not far from here is the small train station that connects Alghero to Sassari. From here I try to reach the only Sardinian bauxite field, the raw material from which aluminum is made, the Graxioleddu mine just outside the village. The plant is now closed but I hope to see the remains, and perhaps to see some pieces of bauxite. Instead I can’t find it, the entrance is no longer signalled and despite having asked for directions I can’t find it.
PS The next morning I cycle the long road surrounded by palm trees (and not elms, as one would expect from a town that takes its name from them) and in the direction of Uri I find signs to the megalithic complex of Monte Baranta, known as ‘Casteddu’. It is too hot to think of climbing the mountain, so I decide not to explore the archaeological sites of Olmedo (in addition to this site there are also the nuraghi Talia and Mannu and the domus de janas of Santu Pedru). I leave them all for a future visit!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
Along the road to Olmedo I meet the Butterfly House, a place that I was strongly advised to see. After talking about the project, the girl at the entrance lets me in for free. The visit takes place in different environments. You enter a corridor where panels explain the life of butterflies, and showcases show many well-preserved dead specimens. Then I move on to a nice video projection showing the transition from a chrysalis to a butterfly, and as soon as I exit this dark hall … puff … I enter an enchanted world! A sort of greenhouse, living butterflies everywhere (finally after all the previous path), flying around accompanied by a light relaxing music. The senses suddenly wake up. The plants are kept moist by sprays of vaporized water. I stay here for a while to look at some of these beautiful specimens, some very rare, coming from all over the world, and the moment I go out, the feeling is that of having entered a sadder world.