Today I feel better. I leave Lodine slowly, downhill for a while, with Fonni always in front, and then I continue uphill towards the highest village of Sardinia at about 3000 feet above sea level, this time with the view of Lodine across the valley. I stop twice, I drink a lot, I go slow. Cars, trucks and tractors pass me. There seems to be a lot of movement on this road.
Morning with the Mayor Daniela. She takes me around, to see the beautiful murals, depicting characters from the village. An old woman who brushes outside the door, who said ‘why have you ever represented me with the broom in hand? Better if I sewed! ‘. The ‘men sat on the wall’. And the soldiers returned from the First World War, all in traditional costume.
Then the Museum of Pastoral Culture, where I discover the culture of transhumance, the Fonnian shepherds who go as far as the Nurra plain, and the Campidano (but never further down the Siliqua line where the pastures are no longer good!). And then a surprise visit to the elementary schools, where 150 noisy children in the hall listen to my story, but above all they ask fantastic and imaginative questions.
There are not many people around. ‘Everyone’s at work’, the Mayor tells me. Fonni is a place with many activities and little unemployment. And Daniela wants to make it even better by increasing cultural activities. Well, I like this mayor.
Evening dedicated to the composition and recording with the ukulele, and to my daily work on the blog, in a beautiful bed & breakfast in the historic center, offered by Michela, known at lunch at her mother’s house in Sarule: the stories and characters of this trip begin to cross, to return, I weave plots with the thread that is my bike ride.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Mario, an entrepreneur, is keen for me to see his company, which produces the typical biscuits from Fonni. He tells me how everything was born at home, with his mother’s recipe, still strictly followed today, but by the machines. It’s the first time I’ve seen an assembly line that produces a totally genuine local product without additives or additional chemical processes.
The eggs are beaten by the robot, with the addition of sugar, baked in a three-stage baking oven, and what comes out are hypnotic lines of Savoyard biscuits ready to be eaten (Mario makes me take one from the line!) The biscuits are taken four by four by mechanical arms, stacked, packaged and boxed, with a frightening precision.
Mario explains that they have had to work hard to achieve this precision and that constant refinements are still being made. The staff checks that everything goes well and if there are any hitches in the chain they are ready to intervene.
The company has grown over the years, and now Pietro, son of Mario, is about to bring it in the third generation. Pietro is fascinated by my project, he tells me that the following day he will go to Oliena for a conference. ‘Come with me, it’s full of foreign financiers who could be interested in your project!’. ‘Unfortunately, tomorrow they await me in Desulo, it will be for another time’. And I leave them to their noble work, while I think of the miles that await me, of the new people I will meet and the music I will have to write.