I didn’t get to Buggerru

For my last couple of days in Sardinia I visited the West coast. The first day I went to the Phoenician and then Roman city of Tharros, which was attractive, with some well preserved roman roads in a lovely setting on the edge of the sea.

Looking down one of the roman roads into the centre of Tharros.

The second day I did a more substantial walk which I originally planned to be between the tiny village of Porto Masua and the irresistibly-named Buggerru (that’s a soft ‘g’, in case you’re wondering). I sadly didn’t make it as far as Buggerru, but it was a brilliant walk anyway.

It started at the beach in the former mining town of Masua, and the idea was to walk along a road until I found a path that climbed up to the clifftops above. Unfortunately, I managed to miss the path and ended up at the end of the road, where a “helpful” local clearly took me for a climber rather than a walker and sent me up the climbers’ path, that hugged the cliff foot, avoided a buttress via a cave that passed through it, and then scrambled up a rocky gully. From there I pressed ahead, knowing there was a path somewhere above me, and after 15 minutes or so of crawling through bushes I popped out on the path I should have been on all along. The story of my whole trip to Sardinia, really!

Looking down on the Pan di Zuccero.

Once I’d found a proper path the walk was great, with fantastic views along the coast and the offshore island of Pan di Zuccero. I met up with a friendly Italian and he and I walked most of the day together. The path followed the sea, but usually at the top of a cliff. It dropped to sea level at the spectacular Canal Grande, a long, steep sided valley that ended at a rocky beach with a natural tunnel through the headland, and at Cala Domestica, a rather disappointing sandy beach where we elected to turn back as it was clear by then that we wouldn’t reach Buggerru and return while the bar on the beach at Masua was still open.

The arch/tunnel through the headland at Canal Grande.

The views were just as good on the way back, and this time I got to take the proper path back to the road, and hence to the bar.

Yes, there were other people around! This is Haymo, the Italian I spent the day walking with.

Both nights I stayed at Agriturismo – the Italian equivalent of a farm stay – Sa Rocca, an absolutely superb place in a little valley with no other houses, and just a flock of sheep with bells around their necks to disturb the peace. The rooms were nice, but the highlight was the fantastic food. €20 got you a meal with 5 or 6 different starters, plus pasta, main, and dessert with wine and a digestivo included as well, and the food was excellent! They even coped with my lousy Italian. I must have kept going on about it during the walk because the Italian I’d walked with decided to stay there as well the second night!

The Pan di Zuccero as the sun set.

Dinner and flowers

I had thought​ that the meal organised by a local bar for the people in the B&B would be the culinary highlight of the trip. I hadn’t counted on the fantastic festival in the nearby town of Girasole.

The dinner in Lotzerai was very nice – a starter of prosciutto and salsiccia, then culurgionis, pasta stuffed with potato and mint in a tomato sauce (a Sardinian speciality), and then roasted pork – but the festival was something else!

Dinner for the inhabitants of the B&B.

Girasole had clearly gone to town – there were stalls selling jewelry, sweets, toys, kitchen things…, And about 20 different food places, many of which were set up in people’s gardens. I went on the Saturday and the Sunday, and had two completely different meals. I (over two nights) had melted fontina cheese on flatbreads, deep fried pastry puffs, grilled tuna, Sea Urchin, pasta with mutton, the potato and mint things again, spicy octopus, and roast mutton. It was fabulous. At the same time, there was music, traditional dancing, and most bizarre of all, a group dressed in goat skins, with antlers on their heads, soot-covered faces and bones hanging on their backs that banged as they walked, that marched through the village and danced around a fire. Amazing!

Culurgionis, pasta stuffed with potato and mint. Yum!
Roasting mutton.

Since I know my parents will be interested, I’ve also put a few flower pictures in. April is a brilliant time to visit Sardinia as everything is in flower. The hills are full of rock roses and ??? with ??? under the trees. I still can’t believe how quiet it is.

Butterfly orchid?
Cyclamen are everywhere at the moment.
Masses of Asphodel.
A lake full of aquatic buttercups.
Some kind of bee orchid.