12 June 2011

Sardinia: Day 3

I stayed in bed all morning, missing breakfast but thoroughly enjoying the freedom to do nothing, guilt-free. It rained while I switched between resting and dozing.

I eventually left the hostel around midday and with the only thought being to check a bus timetable at some point, I wandered a short way before stopping for a late breakfast of orange juice, croissant and cappuccino at E4. I finished reading Murakami's 'After the Quake', feeling totally content to just be, without plans or the sense of having to achieve anything to make the day worthwhile.

I found an internet cafe and charged my phone a little while I checked for mail and wrote to Wes. I walked to the bus station and booked myself a ticket to go to Baia Chia tomorrow.

Back in the Marina district I found a pleasant cafe with outdoor seating where I had a mushroom risotto, onto which I piled excessive yet delicious amounts of Parmesan. Having realised that the Iris Murdoch I had brought with me I have already read, I returned to the hostel, changed books and decided to visit the Botanical gardens. They were beautiful; a waterfall, ponds, caves and shady walkways full of exotic trees and interesting foliage. I think I saw siskins and certainly a greenfinch, a blackcap, maybe a spotted flycatcher and another small bird with a speckled front, a forked tail and a fine beak - perhaps a juvenile flycatcher. Must check. There was a trefoil shaped pond with water pouring from an urn which then trickled into a stream through dense ferns.

After the gardens, I wandered some more and ended up in St Michele Church. Silent and cool. I lay on a pew admiring the vaulted dome then caught up on my journal. I left the church at 18:40.

Bought plasters for my blister and kind chemist accepted all my small chnage even though I was a few sous short. Started reading Salman Rushdie's 'Grimus' over a coffee. I sat there 'til I was cold and returned to the hostel but stopped at the potato place opposite and had a cone of deep-fried vegetables that were actually a really nice alternative to chips.

Got back to the hostel and sat reading in the outside bar. Saw a guy sat on his own looking bored so after a few minutes I plucked up the courage to talk to him. He called himself Joseph but later transpired he is called Giuseppe, is 29 and was in Cagliari for the day to do some work before returning home to Naples. We went out for pizza and beer, walked down by the docks/marina, came back and hung out with him and four other people at the hostel bar and sat talking 'til about 2.

Sardinia: Day 2

Got to breakfast just after 9:30 and had strong coffee, very good rolls with white butter, jam, a poor croissant in a plastic bag and an apple I kept for later. Rather a disappointing first meal but I was distracted by plans for the day. After checking with the receptionist who told me the wether was going to be bad - cloudy and maybe rain - I thought I would get the bus to Il Poetto and see if I could spot some flamingoes. I stopped en route for postcards and wrote them while having an espresso on Via Roma.

I didn't reach the bus station where I was going to ask about connections to other places on the island as I saw my bus approaching and had leapt on before realising I didn't have a ticket. I got off at the same stop as a party carrying buckets and spades and headed for the beach, temporarily putting the birds to one side as the sky was blue and it was hot. Found myself a spot on the boiling hot sand and spent maybe 2.5 hours between the sea and sand, luxuriating in the fact that I could read, swim and sunbathe at will. I thought the clouds were coming over so I packed up and walked the length of the rest of the beach to the marina and took some photos.

I hiked down the main road beside a fence with 6-8 foot high reeds blocking my view of the marshes for the most part. Although I couldn't see a way of getting in, there were several points when the reeds gave way and I could see lots of knock-kneed flamingoes sifting their outsized beaks through the water. I provoked a number of beeping cars and shouts as I stood on a low wall and hung onto the chain-link fencing to crane my neck and see the birds more clearly!

I rejoined the beach and had a roll and water and read some of my Murakami, 'After the Quake'. Feeling a little sore from the sun, I suddenly felt the need to get back, shower and cool down. I caught the PQ bus back into the city and enjoyed using the direct route back to the hostel, unencumbered with luggage.

Forgot to mention I visited a couple of churches this morning - the first was San Sepolcro immediately next to the hostel. There was a congregation of two and a woman reading intensely at the front but I had a lovely time praying. The second church was full and had people standing. Some lively worship was taking place and people singing modern songs with gusto.

After getting back to the hostel, I realised just how much I had caught the sun. (In retrospect, I hadn't. I learnt just how burnt I was over the next three days when every move was painful!) I showered to cool down as much as anything then lay down and slept for two hours.

I woke slowly and gathered myself to go out at around 20:30. I planned to do some wandering around and find somewhere to eat eventually. I took a road I hadn't been down before and after a few minutes developed a raging thirst that dwarfed any appetite. By this point I was heading away from the main town centre so I could either go ahead and uphill with no guarantee of finding anything or kill all remaining morale and retrace my steps. I kept on uphill! I was feeling increasingly like a Paul Bowles character until I found a stall near the Roman Amphitheatre selling water. I could only drink the icy water slowly but once I had, my hunger came back and I walked for a long time before realising I was going the wrong way. By the time I was sat on the Piazze Yenne, eating a beautiful, oily pesto, cheese and walnut pizza, it was 23:30 but as busy as the middle of the day and only just beginning to cool. I was back in my room by 12. Two German girls had replaced the Brazilians.