Again, today the route is really short, only two kilometers. With a point of interest though. I will pass through the small village of Zuri, which is territory of Ghilarza (where I will be tomorrow). Just before entering Zuri two cyclists pass me, we start chatting and when they find out that I am ‘the one who’s going around Sardinia by bike’ they suggest we stop for a coffee at the cafe. One of them, Enrico, offers me hospitality for the day after in Ghilarza.
After saying goodbye, I stop at the church of San Pietro in Zuri, made of pink trachyte. There is a particular story to tell: the church (and the whole village of Zuri) was where the Lake Omodeo is now. When the Omodeo’s artificial reservoir was built, the whole country moved higher, and the church was ‘moved’ piece by piece and rebuilt the same as before (someone says even better!).
On the road to Soddì the view of the lake on the right is beautiful, always from a different angle than what I saw in recent days. After another kilometer I reach the village from a secondary entrance. There’s narrow, well paved streets, with old basalt houses restored and some abandoned. Dogs bark at me from a small terrace. The village is deserted. It seems a bit like entering a village in the Far West. 118 inhabitants. Everyone’s hidden.
I arrive at the Town Hall where I expect Jessica and Alessandra, two girls commissioned by the Mayor to take me for a wonder. So in a short time we do the complete round of the village, passing in front of the cafe, a hairdresser, the square where St. Anthony is celebrated on January 16, up to the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, outside of which are the famous fossil trunks from the Zuri forest, which were originally located near the lake.
As a student of geology I remember two of these trunks of the Miocene era at the entrance of the Department of Earth Sciences in Cagliari, and now I see similar specimens after twenty years!
We continue the walk along an external road around the village, where we pass an old fountain, with a front basin containing five fish and we go up slowly for a steep climb that brings us back to the Municipality. Village finished!
I get lunch at Mayor Greta’s home. She tells me with enthusiasm about the village, how recently she was elected and is working hard to keep this place active, and avoid depopulation.
In the few hours of light left in the afternoon, with Deputy Mayor Mattia, we drive to the ring road , admiring the view of the lake and going back up passing from the church of Zuri. I finish the day working on the backlog and a little worried about not having enough material for today’s Sardinian short story!
Inspired by the full moon on the Omodeo Lake.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
I have been living around the Omodeo Lake for several days now. I live slowly and the journeys are short and slow. This makes me appreciate things more deeply and makes me experience geography with a different perspective.
Soddì, a place that before this project I had never heard of, and which today has become the site of my pilgrimage. Even here in Soddì, as in the surrounding countries I have already visited, there are three main themes: depopulation, unemployment, and the recent crime of the lake.
For days I have heard the ‘presence’ of Ghilarza approach, which for me has always been a village on the edge of the motorway 131 DCN, probably similar to many other villages that I pass during my travels, and that slowly begins to acquire a different meaning, compared to all these villages I have just visited, that of a great metropolis, to which I am approaching very slowly. It is felt in people’s words.
Ghilarza that acts as a magnet on the young people of these villages, who, despite being only a few kilometers away, decide to move there. I think about how decisive these three kilometers are. Staying in Soddì while working on Ghilarza would mean contributing to this community life and its future.
Here, perhaps we should really focus on the concept of geography and distance, how it literally changes depending on where we are and how fast we move. A matter of space and time expansion and compression? Einstein’s relativity theory?