Sardinia: Oristano and the West
23.06.2009
In the morning we leave our luggage at the campsite and leave for Tharros, situated 13 km away. The road leads through lagoons, flyovers and bridges over canals connecting numerous Sardinian lakes. At some point we notice grapevines. We have heard that the famous Vernaccia grape variety – used for making Sardinian Sherry-like wine – is only grown in this region. Soon we reach the village of San Giovanni, located close to our destination – Tharros. I don't feel like strolling among Roman ruins in the scorching sun, so I buy myself an ice coffee in a bar and sit on a terrace. For half an hour I observe a group of tourists standing in the sizzling sun, staring at a rather overexcitable tour guide. I see nothing else but a heap of rubble and two lonely columns sticking out from among rocks. Igor buys the ticket (EUR 5) and starts the tour. After 15 minutes he crosses the road to take a look at a Spanish watchtower. Since climbing to the top of the tower costs another EUR 2, Igor decides that he doesn't have to go all the way up to enjoy the nice view of the bay and the peninsula. A few minutes later he joins me and asks for something cold to drink. We take one more glance at the guidebook, reading: "One of the most interesting archaeological monuments of the island – a port founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC. It is a real treat for visitors interested in archaeology. In the town you can admire well preserved remains of ancient temples, towers and baths..." Well, after today's trip the expression "well preserved" has acquired a new meaning.
On our way back my husband says: "If you ever have an idea to celebrate any anniversary by organising a tour of some ruins, then I will file for a divorce". OK – for the next few years I will stay away from ruins, especially those "well preserved".
At the campsite we quickly pack up our stuff, pay for accommodation (EUR 10 per tent is way too much for such a standard!) and leave the place. After several minutes we enter Oristano. Overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of a big city, we don't even feel like looking for any special meal, so we stuff our stomachs at McDonald's. We leave Oristano, heading for Arborea. A few kilometres later we reach a cycle path. We pass numerous canals and wetlands – home to hundreds of herons, cormorants, pelicans and other birds. We take a turn to Uras, planning to reach Mogoro in the long run. This is where we discover the true idyllic beauty of Sardinia: incredible villages with narrow streets, small houses and churches made of stone, and very friendly people. We cycle past Masulias, Baressa, Turri, Tuili. In Poland each such village would be a major tourist attraction – an open-air museum. But in Sardinia it is just one of many mountain villages that help us – city dwellers – charge our batteries!
We reach the Su Nuraxi nuragic archaeological site – Sardinia's best preserved structure of this type – in the last rays of the setting sun. Entire Sardinia is covered with an estimated 8000 nuraghes, some of them in pretty good condition. Others, overgrown with weeds, are slowly collapsing in the hot climate. People started building nuraghes around 1800 BC, using stone blocks placed one upon another – without mortar. Each next layer has a smaller diameter, which makes the structure resemble an overturned bucket. Despite numerous hypotheses, we still don't know whether they served as houses, fortresses or tombs. We admire Su Nuraxi from behind a fence, because the gate is locked at this hour. Nevertheless, we are deeply impressed by this centrally located 14 m tower (entrance fee: EUR 5, only with a guide).
After another 3 km we arrive in Barumini. Hotel 100 (www.diecizero.com) is situated near the main junction. Igor haggles the price down from EUR 60 to 50 for a room with breakfast. We are pleasantly surprised by the standard of this facility. On these extremely comfortable beds we can finally sleep better than over the past 3 weeks.