254/377: Illorai


Village view

I wake up early to face the climb in the cool hours. But in the end I leave after 8 and it’s already hot. Fortunately, the slope of the mountain is in shade and along the 6 km of climb I find four fountains. I stop at the last one, after an hour of climbing and 5 km traveled.

I fill my water bottle and feed myself with the Sardinian sweets from Bolotana. Once you get to the top, a flat part begins. I am returning to the province of Sassari, in the Goceano area. We are at the top, about 900 meters above sea level.

I go fast and pass the park of Jscuvudè, where I see people, some boys with backpacks. On the other side a football field. From here I return to the edge of the mountains and the view of the plain of Ottana and the Nuorese mountains is amazing. Now it’s all downhill, and even steep, towards Illorai. I pass by scary rocky cliffs and then out of a bend here is the village. I enter it like a missile.

Jscuvudè wood

I arrive at the Town Hall where I first meet the technician Gianfranco who offers me a coffee, then the Councilor Gianluca and the Mayor Sebastiano, better known as Tittino. Together they try to organise my day as there are no accommodation facilities in the village. But in a short time it is all done: I will sleep in the gym and have lunch in a restaurant down in the plain.

Gianluca and I take the car. We drive in the middle of narrow streets, a nightmare for drivers, you only need to use the first gear so steep some of them are! But Gianluca seems to be used to it. We leave the village and go up a narrow valley in a mountain road. The forest is very thick.

We arrive at the park of Jscuvudè where a boy scout camp is actually starting. Gianluca shows me a series of old trees inside the park. We go back down the same road that I traveled this morning and now I notice how much less green there is. Gianluca explains to me that a series of fires had devastated this side.

Nostra Signora di Luche churches and nuraghe

Back to the village, I am taken by Raimondo, the Deputy Mayor, very young, who drives me to the plain, along a massive downhill winding road. Before going to the restaurant Raimondo stops in Luche, where there are three churches dedicated to the Madonna di Luche (or of the Snow), whose celebrations were just yesterday!

One of the churches, the smallest and white as the snow it represents, is the oldest. Next to it is the new one, and a short distance away is the sanctuary, which is accessed through a walkway in the shade of plants. Next to this area there is also a nice nuraghe. It does not surprise me. A situation now “standard”, church and nuraghe, Christianity over paganism.

Domus de janas remains near Molia

We then drive near the hamlet of Molia and stop right next to the provincial road 128bis, the same one that I traveled for a while about three months ago to go to Pattada, except that at the time there were 5 degrees, today there are 40!

Right next to it there are beautiful domus de janas, which came out during excavations for the construction of the road. It’s too hot to look around, I take a few pictures and Raimondo leaves me at the restaurant where, fortunately, I eat under air conditioning.

Houses in the historic centre

I spend the afternoon locked in the gym working, too hot to think about putting my nose out. It is 6.30pm. I go out to explore the village. Desert. As I arrive at the main square I realise that Mass is ending and that probably the whole town is here, in the modern parish of San Gavino Martire.

I go on before everybody pours into the street and I photograph some murals, some very unique because they have a small photo next to them from which the mural was taken, and then I take glimpses of the village, an old disused granite fountain, the view from a suspended square, before returning to the gym.






Mural in the historic centre

As I walk through the streets of the village, I meet a guy, in his sixties, who is mumbling something … “Ga … di”.
I approach “What?”
And he, again “Ga … di”.
“Excuse me, I don’t understand Sardinian”.
“What Sardinian !!! I’m telling you that you look like Garibaldi!! ”
“Eh I didn’t understand! (in Sardinian)”
“Eh then you see that you understand Sardinian … even if it’s Campidanese! … come here Garibaldi!”.
“No look, I can’t stay, goodbye” and I keep pedaling through the streets hoping that the gentleman won’t chase me.

I go for a ride, at least half an hour passes. I’m on my way back to the gym. I pass by what looks like a bar, without a sign, just a transparent door, and on the other hand I hear “Here he is again!! There is Garibaldi !!” Terror. The man gets out.

“Garibaldi come on in, we get you a drink!”
“I can’t thank you”
“I don’t drink thanks”
“We get you some water!!”
“No thanks I have to go” (colossal lie, no one is waiting for me at the gym.)

And while I pedal without turning around, I continue to hear the man “C’mon Garibaldi! … Garibaldi … ga …. di … .ga …. di ….”