Today another trip in company. Franco and Doriano come to pick me up from Santadi, made aware of my project by Claudia from Portoscuso, and they escort me along the secondary road that passes near the mountains rather than passing on the provincial road. There are a couple of nice climbs but fortunately they are not long, and the route is short. We enter Santadi from a secondary entrance and unfortunately I lose the entrance sign.
We reach the main square, with a fountain, a staircase that reaches a space with a beautiful, centuries-old tree, and in front the little church of San Nicolò. We head straight to the bar for a coffee and here we are joined by my friend Giuseppe, called Joe (from Joseph), who knows everyone else in the group. We say goodbye to the others and we head to Joe’s house, at the end of the village (all uphill!). A magnificent house from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the whole village and the valley below (including the slightly separate Santadi Basso village).
We immediately get into the car to reach the caves of Is Zuddas. Here we find Stefano, the president of the speleological group, who knows these caves by heart, as he has contributed to their exploration. The part that can be visited is very large, with several rooms, each of which has different characteristics, the hall of the ‘organ’ with its stalactites and stalagmites reminiscent of the pipes of an organ, the ‘theater hall’ (where we talk about organising a real concert!) and at the end the room of the ‘eccentric’, where with the lighting of the lights the crystals of needle-like aragonite and tufts that look like spaghetti start to shine. Spectacular.
Back to the village, I am contacted by Massimo, a cyclist who has known of my arrival, and who runs the Casa del Cicloturista, an accommodation facility. Massimo invites me to have coffee, tells me everything about his business, how it’s growing with tourists, and shows me the house, all furnished by him with a ‘cycling’ taste, the chandeliers are bicycle rims, even the bathroom is full of pedals, frames and rims!
Massimo then drives me to see a bit of the territory around. We arrive to Terresoli and the Pantaleo forest, an immense secular oak forest, escaped from the deforestation of the French during the construction of the railways. All around the landscape is beautiful, formations of granite rock, a source of water that creates a stream, the waters that end up in a main water course that recently overflowed violently creating much damage, including the obliteration of a small loop that formed pools where you could swim.
Back to the village, it’s time to pack up. In fact, the project undergoes an interruption for the third time. This weekend I will play in London with the contemporary ensemble Decibel, with whom I have been playing for almost 10 years. I wonder how it will be after all this period of slow travelling to take a plane and be catapulted into a reality diametrically opposed to this. Stopping feels like betrayal, but a part of me cannot wait!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
With Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Murgia we have known each other for about twenty years. What has united us is music, England, continuous inner research, personal improvement. Giuseppe is a refined and sensitive person (and therefore also a musician) and from the days when we played with the legendary Alberto ‘Dudo’ Cherchi, creator of Tutzky (see Oristano) we immediately got on, talking about life, music and women, late at night, in our way back from concerts. We then found ourselves in England, where Joe, like me, found a stimulating environment for artistic growth, and since then we often met to catch up with things, recommending (and giving each other) self-development books, if not self-help ones!
It is right here in his home in Santadi that we can catch up on this last year. The last time we met was in Warrington, where Joe lived, and I spent two days there, sleeping on his bed, him on the floor, in a small room of perhaps 10 square meters. Joe has now returned to Sardinia, where he teaches saxophone in a school in Cagliari, and returns at the weekend to Santadi to spend time with his mother, a shy woman, very sweet (like Joe’s two sisters, who I meet right here) and who is also an incredible cook!!
Joe tells me how much his dad, ex-mayor and doctor of Santadi, if he was alive, would have loved my project. A dreamer, speleologist, nature-lover, who had personally initiated the discovery of the caves of Is Zuddas, and always worked for their continuous enhancement, who spent time in the countryside, talking to plants and animals, which had become convinced by a visionary architect to build this crescent-shaped house, like two arms that surround the village and the valleys below. I’m happy to be in this dreamers house, because Joe is like his father, and I did not have to do anything to conveince him to support this project.
It’s dawn, and once again Joe and I, twenty years later, find ourselves in the dark in a car, talking about life, music and women, on the road to Elmas, where my plane to London departs.