Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sardinia. Population: 1,655,677. Eyebrows: 827838,5 (figure it out for yourselves)

Since my feet are finally starting to recover from the long Livorno-Sardinia voyage, to the extent that there are now some parts of them that no longer hurt as long as i don't touch them too hard, i think i'm still in time for writing a post about my stay in Sardinia.
I don't plan to write too much, though, because i wouldn't know where to start nor where to end. The plan is therefore to take the twitter updates i was compulsively sending while on the road and expand on those with images and small anecdotes.
I wish i could embed twitter updates the way Warren Ellis does, but i don't really have the technical knowledge to do that on Blogger.

Background: It was Sunday, the 20th of July and Italia Wave had just ended. It had ended around 4 or 5 AM after something of a staff afterparty and something of a general falling over from exhaustion. So in the late afternoon/early evening we made our way to the ferry, which considering how little we were paying was expected to be of the dirty and dangerous kind, with rusty metal bits sticking out and sailors who have had pretty bad marine accidents ("his face was eaten by the seals, it was. Twice. They had to stick the bits back on with blu-tack" etc). Instead it was a luxury boat of the type where you see people with top hats and monocles. We got to sleep *indoors*. On a carpet, even. I had especially brought some heavy clothes for the crossing as i expected to have to sleep in a segregated corner outdoors ("there's no place left on these decks for your kind, only place available left's the plank") with seawater splashing over me and keeping an eye open for thieves, stowaways and mutiny. Instead, Luxury. Which means i had to lug a pair of heavy winter trousers and a warm heavy sweater in my rucksack for our entire trip through sunny Sardinia in late July. Just my luck.

anyway, on the morning of the 21st we got to Olbia:

Week begins in Olbia, basically an extension of the ferry arrivals ramp rather than a town. The roads are mysteriously uphill both ways.

11:45 AM July 21, 2008 from txt

Olbia is quite the ugly town, apparently existing only as a place for people to get off their ferries and bugger off towards the beaches as fast as they can. We had to spend the whole morning there, coming across nothing but cement, abandoned houses that were probably once beautiful and were now about to be thrown down, and one extremely bizarre church:

Bizarre, indeed. I'm still wondering what those hand signals in the tainted glass are, they look like something out of a Steve Ditko Doctor Strange comic.

Then we managed to bugger off to Alghero, on the opposite coast. A word of commentary on sardinian public transport: There isn't any. There's usually one bus or two a day to and from medium-sized towns, maybe more from larger ones. If there's a bus station there might be timetables scribbled on the walls. If there isn't one, which is usually the case, you're on your own. We had to make it across Sardinia using only public transport, in about five days. It was going to be a long five days.
Day 2, north of Alghero, coral reefs. What is coral anyway? Animal, vegetable, mineral, frenchman?

06:12 PM July 22, 2008 from txt

Alghero is a wonderful place. The camping we found was luckily within very short walking distance from the train station and even next to a bus stop. It bizarrely had the same name as one of the bands i work for, and was probably the best camping i've ever been to (long story short: Things worked). What the hell, i'm linking to it in case anyone needs a cheap and comfortable place to stay in Alghero because i was so damn pleased with the experience.
Day 3 outside Bosa, vegetation draws equally from 50's B-movies and Dr. Seuss illustrations. The rest of the landscape behaves accordingly.

08:03 PM July 23, 2008 from txt

If these ain't Dr. Seussish, i don't know what is.
Exploring natural caves, doing our best not to wake or offend any ancient phoenicio-atlantidean demigods, as usually happens in these cases.

08:08 PM July 23, 2008 from txt

Yes, this is the part that counts as having WACKY, WILD ADVENTURES.

Which reminds me of the time derf and i went to an abandoned slovenian village and accidentally activated some ancient magic stones or something and ended up getting chased out by a legion of cardboard cut-outs. Remind me to tell you about that someday.
Day 4. Leaving Bosa, where the sunbathers are usually gone by 6pm. Not because it's late, just because the sand is actually quicksand.

02:55 PM July 24, 2008 from txt

A word of information about Bosa Marina. DON'T GO THERE. It is that kind of beach you hear about in tabloids and newscasts. Bosa Marina is where you end up when you've been very very bad. It's not just that, it's the kind of place you end up in if yourself, most of your ancestors and a fair amount of your yet-to-be-born descendants have been really really viciously nasty.
Having no web is ok, it's the no mp3s that fries the mind. Hey Steve Jobs, where's my brain-implanted broadband wifi celestial jukebox?

10:41 PM July 24, 2008 from txt

I still stand by this assertion. without permanent connection to my mp3s, i am nothing. Almighty techie guys, what are you waiting for?
It must also be noted that after all that time away from the internet it took me a while to remember what Steve Jobs' name was.
Day 5. Morning: quartz beaches of Is Aruttas. Night: Enon live at Hereistay Festival with @Tostoini. Not bad, Sardinia.

02:56 PM July 25, 2008 from txt

Yep, pure quartz.

These pictures were taken around 7 AM because we wanted to be there before ANYBODY.
Small advice: if you go to the beach in Sardinia at 7AM, the water will be freezing.

From Is Aruttas we made it to Oristano, from Oristano to San Gavino and it was there that Tostoini came to rescue us. We were much darker, had lived in a tent for a couple of weeks, had lost some limbs and had also forgotten what the internet looks like. From there we went to Guspini, where the Here I Stay Festival was being held. More about the bands that played, and more importantly about what happened there, will be told in future posts.