Today’s journey is short and I’m escorted by car from Flora who from Assemini will show me the road that enters Elmas through Giliacquas, the village on the edge of the pond of Santa Gilla. We arrive at the small village of fishermen, where they will probably take me back this afternoon, and I continue on a path that runs along the pond and then returns to the village through unsafe bridges and a cycle path. It is in one of these small bridges that I damage one of my travel bags, which when hooked to the wooden edge is detached from the support.
Once I repair the bag with the ties (holy object that repairs almost everything!) I get to the central square by the Town Hall, large, round and modern, and I say goodbye to Flora and Elisa who return to Assemini. I stay to work at the bar waiting for Antonella to arrive, who will host me for the day. In the meantime I meet Alberto, a geologist friend whom I found on the day of Domus De Maria and who will host me tomorrow in Sestu. Alberto withdraws my ukulele to take it to the Cagliari store, where it needs a repair.
In the afternoon I go to Antonella’s house passing through the center of Elmas, where I can see some beautiful ancient portals of Campidanese houses, some well restored. When I reach Antonella’s, we meet friends Pina, Monica, and Roberto, with whom we will go to Giliacquas (I feel guilty for having already seen it in the morning!). This round, however, is much longer! Parked the car, we walk along the first piers, where there are nets and fishing equipment. Here an annual lagoon party is held, where fish is obviously the protagonist. In these shallow waters mussels and clams are fished. We pass a colony of cats waiting to be fed and we continue the tour walking along a canal, in which unfortunately during the last flood a woman died.
After a good walk we reach the northern edge of the lagoon. The sun has fallen and the light is perfect for photographing the moored boats. Various species of birds and pink flamingos populate this huge body of water, next to which is Elmas airport. However, in this period of time we are amazed that we do not see any plane landing or taking off! I can see Cagliari, my town, so close, and yet I won’t see it before December!
Back in town we do a little tour in search of nice corners to photograph, the church of San Sebastiano, some old house and some murals, old and new. We end the evening at Antonella’s home with a formidable Indian style dinner!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
I met Antonella by chance in Ghilarza on the 31st day of the project, leaving for Norbello, when she wrote me on Facebook to meet her with a large group of cyclists leaving for a bike trip (some of whom I have met again along my path!) Since then, Antonella follows my project and offered me hospitality today. Antonella lives with her son Amedeo and the dog Sasha. The other son Edoardo lives in London, while Amedeo, 19, is suffering from a rare disability for which he needs constant presence. Ulan is a Kyrgyz boy who takes care of him. Thanks to this helping hand Antonella can occasionally afford a few days of leisure, but while we chat over the Indian dinner with Sasha watching us begging for some food, she tells me that Amedeo’s growth has not been easy, especially out of home, for example at school. She tells me of when the other son, still a child, secretly wrote a letter to the Hyenas (an Italian TV program) to denounce a case of inattentiveness by the school against Amedeo. The case was taken seriously by the staff of Mediaset (Italian TV channels) and at the end the situation was resolved, thanks to the initiative of a very young brother! Tomorrow morning Antonella has an early alarm. Amedeo will spend the weekend with his father and she is preparing for a hike in the Villacidro area. We will say goodbye tomorrow morning and who knows in which of the 377 towns of Sardinia we will meet again!
Roberto Gorini is a walker. A real one. In 2017 he crossed Italy on foot. From Sardinia to Sicily, and then up the peninsula to Valle d’Aosta. He did it alone, in support of Emergency (an Italian charity). While walking along the edges of the pond of Santa Gilla, Roberto and I exchange stories of travel, human experiences, stories of hospitality and the beauty of moving slowly, enjoying every meter of landscape. Roberto too has met several people on his journey, weaving a very broad network of national contacts. Roberto also kept a blog, Cammino Libero, which he tried to keep updated throughout the trip, with great difficulty, which encourages me, seeing the delay with which I’m keeping my own. I am sure that even with Roberto there will be other opportunities to meet again ‘along the way’, on foot or by bike!