Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sardegna - Saturday


I don't know what we would have done here without a car. It's off season and there are no tourists and most all the shops and houses along the beach are closed up for winter.

We decided to drive down toward the sea, travelling to the left today and then on Sunday, head to the right and up the coast.

Breakfast is served here only until 9.30 am and Leo didn't want to miss his caffe-latte. I wasn't ready in time, so he went alone and surprised me by bringing back a round tray filled with yogurt, juice, Nutella, jams, fresh bread and napkins. We also had a tray of cookies, which Leo had given me last night for a midnight snack.

What we couldn't eat, we packed in a lunch bag and took off for our adventure.

As we drove, I saw beaches with white sand and oh so many brightly colored Flamingos standing in the shallow water, some with their heads completely underwater. They are migrating from Africa, which is directly across the water.
We saw a huge basket filled with sea urchins, leftover from a party -- plus cups of tartar sauce nearby. Later, in a grocery store I saw the tool used to lop off the top of a sea urchin. They're eaten fresh and raw.

Several small turtles are swimming in a boat filled with water. There's a basket filled to the brim with discarded oyster shells. I was hoping my turtle friends were not also left-overs from a recent feast. They were alive and healthy but trapped in a wooden boat which also held an old terracotta urn.

They're just to add to the ambiance Leo assures me.

The beach here at Poetto also was littered with lots of unbroken shells. The sand wasn't pure white as Leo remembered it had been. He talked to a local Sardo and was told the government dredged sand from somewhere and brought it in to enhance the beach and the white color was lost as a result.

We saw lots of Sardi joggers, mostly male.  Several locals were enjoying their Saturday morning newspapers.

Further along the road we pass salt farms, estuaries with birds, snowy egrets and a flock of pigeons that were actually flying and acting like normal birds, not fat begging birds normally found on piazzas.

We left the coast and began the drive up into the hills. Leo is so patient and stops often for me so I can take pictures. The views were breath-taking. 

As we entered a marsh-brushy area, we passed three men gathered outside a small car off to the side of the rode.  Around the next bend...goats, lots of goats!! The men we saw are goatherds.

Leo pulled over, I grabbed my camera, jumped out and run across the two lane highway.

Each goat was a different size and color, with a leather collar and bell hanging around their necks. The sound was heavenly. They ran in every direction as I approached.

I saw other goats up on the hill and they followed their leader,  jumping right down a steep rocky slope, scampering deeper into the brush, all with the sound of bells ringing.

I decided right then I needed to find some bells to take home. The noise of all the ringing bells brought one of the goatherders running down the road. Those goats were so quick, I couldn't get a clear picture.

Leo told me one goat is the leader. It can be either male or female. I asked him if the bells are only for the goatherder's use? But no, the goats are intelligent and know by the chimes where their group is.

The brush here has a wonderful fragrance too. Leo broke off twigs to let me smell. He used to have a country home, stocked with a small herd of goats along with horses, sheep and a pair of white oxen. For this reason he is so knowledgeable about country life.

Now I am on a quest to find bells, today or before I leave Sardegna.  I know tomorrow, Sunday, almost every shop will be closed tight. I am on the lookout for a street market...any place to track down some bells to purchase.

We have hardly seen anyone today. Even the streets were empty of cars. But we did see lots of "Villages" which here means vacation resort. On the vacation beaches, I see rows of little attached changing rooms. Average cost 30 Euro a day, for the changing room only!

Here, the doors had been removed for the winter.  I was able to take a peek. Perhaps in season, they come with a bench,  mirror or table. They're tiny little closet sized rooms.

Going to the beach in Sardegna is not an inexpensive outing. Italians are very social and like to vacation in groups. According to my guidebook, some villages have catering services and discothèques. Leo once attended a work conference at a village and saw peacocks roaming the grounds.

One can take the big ferry over here with the family car. The trip takes 8 hours. My handy guidebook says one must reserve months or even a year in advance, as all hotels are booked solid during the summer season. We can calculate the size of the crowds by looking at an immense (now empty) parking lot near a large grocery store.

Saturday we were the only patrons in the supermarket near Capo Carbonara. We decided to get local sheep cheese and prosciutto, plus fresh bread. Leo bought a knife to make sandwiches later. I bought pasta which looks like rough large bread crumbs. The recipe on the package calls for fresh clams.

Leo could not find a sandy beach and we were too hungry to wait, so he made sandwiches on the car's hood and we ate in the car.

We checked our maps, drove a little further and found parking with walk-in access to the shore.  Leo showed me on the map that we are walking out onto a thin tongue of sand, which separates the Notteri Pond from the sea. I see signs showing this is a wildlife santuary, but today I see no flamingos or other birds.

We walked down a narrow gravel road, through a small eucalyptus wood, to reach our destination. This is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We are right here at the tip of Sardegna.

Out on the sand, there is a fierce unrelenting wind. Luckily I've brought my shawl and I wrap it around my face so I can catch my breathe. We are all alone here. Leo draws a heart for me in the sand.

It's heavenly.

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