A short ride from Milis to Bauladu, the only interesting thing I greeted some cyclists, some were children, and then overpassed the 131 motorway, this tarmac strip that is not part of my journey and therefore passes almost unnoticed every time I pass above (speaking of the socio-geographical meaning of certain structures I think of the book London Orbital by Iain Sinclair on the M25 ring road that runs around London).
I enter the village, right next to the 131, close to a hill, well cared for, you can still see the basalt used for the buildings. I arrive in the central square where people start to leave mass at the beautiful church of San Gregorio that overlooks right here. On one side a beautiful mural and the war memorial, very special, a sort of basalt Stonehenge.
Councilor Nanni comes to meet me and cordially offers me a coffee. Weather is nice and warm and we are in the outdoor tables of the square. Shortly thereafter the Mayor David and Elia arrive, who will host me for the night.
Today is Sunday and for lunch a trip for the elderly to the fish farms of Cabras was organised. Although it is not ideal to leave Bauladu for a few hours (it seems to me like a betrayal during my day dedicated to it) in the end it is a nice opportunity to socialise with a part of the population, but above all to eat good fish after five weeks of ruthless carnivorous diet!
Back in town I find a nice surprise before the short presentation-concert of my project at the service center: a ‘surprise’ visit in fact from two dear friends who came from Cagliari to see me! I speak, play the ukulele and then the inevitable question of a lady ‘and what inspired you in Bauladu?’ And my answer ‘still nothing, since I was all day with you in Cabras!’.
The next morning, however, I have a nice tour of the village with Elia, which proves to be a very good guide, knows the whole history of the houses of Bauladu. Some of these, unfortunately, have been rebuilt in a modern way but in the old ones we can see the presence of mud and straw bricks, the so-called ladiri, which mark the unequivocal approach to the Campidano plain. Bauladu last bastion of the mountains before the plain.
Finally Elia brings me to the church of San Lorenzo, very suggestive also because leaning against a wall that includes the base of a nuraghe with two large crypts, and all around gravestones as in the English cemeteries. Unfortunately, it is time to leave for the next village.
Inspired by the rhythm of a Christmas song sung by Vittoria, 2 years old (with only partially comprehensible words!)
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
I arrive in the village. I stop in front of the Town Hall. There is a beautiful sculpture that represents the Du Festival, which for some years brings here contemporary artists and rock music. A gentleman meets me.
‘Hey… you’re the one who goes around Sardinia on a bike … I saw you somewhere … where are you from?”
‘I’m from Cagliari but I’ve been living in England for 10 years’
‘Ah I know you speak English … me too’ and he speaks English with a Sardinian-American accent.
‘… oh what a surprise, why do you speak English?’
‘I lived in San Francisco California for thirty years …’ and so on and keeps talking to me in a good American for a while. He is Antonio Matzutzi, a character who has returned to Bauladu for some time now.
The next morning, before leaving, he takes me to his house to have a coffee. The house is beautiful, almost a museum, full of ancient objects. His companion Carmela is from Campania, but suddenly Antonio speaks to her in English and she replies in English, with a very strong British accent. She grew up in Bedford … what kind of combinations can you find in Sardinia!
With Rita (originally from Bauladu) and Nicoletta, the friends who came to visit me from Cagliari, we went to visit Rita’s cousin Monica, because one of the sons played the organ. I bring the ukulele and I can convince the little Tommaso to play together. Slowly, when I talk about my project, even the biggest brothers Niccolò and Lorenzo start to take an interest in me, while the little Vittoria keeps playing, singing and occasionally look at us with interest. They are looking for me on social media. Then their father Roberto arrives, just when we are leaving. I explain to him who I am and his face is lit up:
‘But then you are the cyclist who greeted us this morning … I was cycling with my children!’
‘Really? Why don’t you all follow me in any stretch one day? ‘
‘Of course! My children are part of a cycling team in Marrubiu, their coach is Giorgio Spiga’
‘Really? in Marrubiu I will be staying at his !!! ”
‘That’s not true!!!’
Here we go, this is the network of connections that is being created during this trip. Meetings and re-meetings … as I said in Ghilarza.