Nuoro-Lanusei closed to traffic. I pass through regardless. At the exit of the tunnel the police stops me and ask me to delete the video from my GoPro telling me that I shouldn’t have cycled there. But seeing me with heavy baggage they let me go, with a bit of an authoritarian snout. The rest is a nice journey, I pass the bridges and I always find myself with Monte Gonare in sight, first in front, then, out of the highway, to my left, watching me throughout the hard climb.
Then I go down fast to Oniferi after having watched from above Orani waiting for me tomorrow.
I am hosted in the b&b owned by the Mayor Stefania who lives in cagliari and cannot be here today. View from the window: hills and green countryside, flocks of sheep and the small strip that is the SS131 DCN. The streets of the village have just been decorated with works of art given to the town by various Sardinian artists. Statues, murals, ceramics. A small art exhibition in the open air.
In the countryside around a lot of archeology: Sas Concas, the domus de janas (fairy houses), where I enter in the dark and crouched I feel invested with magical powers, two ‘tombs of the giants’, inside which you can stand, and the beautiful nuraghe Ola, from whose top I can enjoy an exceptional view enriched by autumn hills and some clouds.
And then Clara and Tania, who work in the local bakery and have been my archaeological guides, fill me with pabassinos, I eat one, but how will I bring the rest on a bike?
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Francesco is a shepherd, he has a flock, he comes back from the day and welcomes me for dinner with his wife Cinzia. Francesco is also ‘sa voche’ of the tenors of Oniferi. While Cinzia cooks, he tells me about the difference between the various choirs and tenores of the area, we sing more ‘closed’, we tighten, while those others sing ‘open’. And he tells me how to learn to sing tenores in other times, listening to the elderly and simply singing, in bars, outside bars, but maintaining their own identity. Today, he tells me, with the CD young people tend to copy styles without being too much original. And sometimes, he confesses, they do it with a lot of arrogance!
At dinner we eat baked pasta, delicious beef ribs and cheese produced by Francesco, a very strong pecorino cheese and a warm, freshly baked ricotta with honey on it. Francesco pours me some good red wine, strong. Only one, I tell him, tomorrow I have to ride!
We talk about travel. Francesco has traveled a lot, maybe more than me. He has been in London, Norway, Asia, America, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago. He tells me about when in New York he did not want to follow the group for a walk, staying at the hotel. But leaving the room without a key, just to make a short ride, at his return, without knowledge of English, he has to explain to a huge black hotel guardian he wants to return to his room but he forgot the key. The guardian believes he is a tourist lost in the city and tries to understand his requests. After ten minutes of attempts, Francesco, frustrated, pulls out his tongue and pulls it tight. The guardian looks at him in shock, then amused. Francesco only wants to say that he does not speak his language, and this is his way of communicating it to him. When the group returns he finds him still out there, to entertain the guardian, who finally understands the situation and makes everyone come back in with a big smile.
At the end of the story and dinner, however, the glasses of wine were three, and even a mirto.