Badesi to Castelsardo - Springtime Spin in Sardinia 2019 - CycleBlaze

May 28, 2019

Badesi to Castelsardo

We have cycled in the south of France on several occasions and so we have duked it out with the Mistral winds before.  For those who are less familiar, here’s how Peter Mayle described them: “..it blew for 15 days on end, uprooting trees, overturning cars, smashing windows, tossing old ladies into the gutter, splintering telegraph poles, moaning through houses like a cold and baleful ghost, causing la grippe, domestic squabbles, absenteeism from work, toothache, migraine — in fact, every problem in Provence that couldn’t be blamed on the politicians.”

It turns out that the Mistral keeps charging across the Mediterranean as it exits southern France and hits the west and north coasts of Sardinia without missing a beat. And today, we became re-acquainted with the Mistral wind as it hit the north coast. But that’s only part of the excuse for the paltry mileage today. The other reason is that it was only 24 km to the historic seaside village of Castelsardo, home of the Mediterranean Museum of Weaving which I have been looking forward to.

The Sardininan flag told us in no uncertain terms that the wind was in our face today.
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Our host Astrid served us a great spread for breakfast and we obliged by her by eating, well, just about everything. I certainly couldn’t eat this at home: cereal, yogurt and milk, croissant, roll, 4 types of cheese, prosciutto, 3 types of sausage, scrambled eggs, sautéed zucchini, orange juice and coffee. We weren’t the only ones that ate well, though. After serving us, we saw Astrid walking over to the outside patio with a huge plate of fresh pasta carbonara topped with a round of prosciutto and who was scampering after her? None other than Stella, their adorable little jumping bean mutt. We asked if that was really her breakfast, and yes indeed it was. What a lucky girl! Maybe not the healthiest thing for dog but Stella seemed to be the happiest little dog I’ve ever met. And she had energy to burn. She had introduced herself yesterday by bolting out of the blue towards us and giving us a hi-5, then she showed us her inner whippet as she did a hot-lap around her yard, back up the driveway and around the back of the house again. It was all over in about 30 seconds, which was long enough to know we loved Stella.

Stella, the jumping bean.
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Polygala myrtifolia, Sweet Pea shrub.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be Polygala shrub.

https://www.makkahmadinahphotos.com/shutterstock-image/polygala-shrub-and-flowers-terramaini-park-cagliari-sardinia-italy-1050925988.html
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2 years ago
David MathersThanks, Bill. It’s nice to have a flower expert along with us on this incredible journey through Sardinia.
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2 years ago

We hopped on the bikes and continued the descent to the fertile valley below Badesi where artichokes were being cultivated. The wind was in our faces from the get-go, so our progress was on the sluggish side. We headed for the beachside resort of San Pietro a Mare to have a good cup of coffee. The coffee didn’t materialize but we were able to enjoy the performance of a group of uber-fit kite surfers zipping back and forth on the wide mouth of the Coghinas River. One brave soul was taking on the ocean surf. Now, that’s how you make the most of a Mistral wind!

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We watched these kite surfers doing aerial acrobatics as they zigzagged the river at lightning speed.
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Spiaggia at San Pietro a Mare.
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Ice plants cover the dunes.
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From the beach we had a good view of Castelsardo perched on top and draped over a rocky promontory in the distance.

Castelsardo is visible on the cape.
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The route from the beach took us up the mountain in behind Castelsardo, making for a grand introduction to this historic town. First views of the crashing waves from the cliff were spectacular. First views of Castelsardo were breathtaking.

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We are staying in a hotel overlooking the marina and the crashing surf. We had booked an early check-in and were warmly welcomed by Giuseppe. He wheeled my bike inside the hotel and whisked away my panniers as he showed us up to our room. 

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Even after a short ride like this, we were both drenched in sweat so it was nice to get cleaned up and then have enough time to take in the ‘centro storico’ and ‘castello’ on foot.

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I must admit, it looked like a daunting hike to the top of the castle. We chose the roadway on the way up and the stairs on the way down.

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Trebuchet for pitching things at people down below.
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Crossbow for nailing any potential uninvited guests, aka, invaders.
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The Mediterranean Museum of Weaving is housed in the castle at Castelsardo. There is evidence that basket weaving in this area dates back as far as the Nuraghic period, some 2500 years ago. In more modern times, generations of farmers and fishermen and their families have held and passed on their knowledge of the basketmaking techniques used to make items needed for daily living and for harvesting, processing, storage and transport of food and goods, whether from the sea or the land. 

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Patty BarronThese are amazingly beautiful! So detailed!
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2 years ago

Baskets were traditionally made from dwarf palm and a dune plant known as sea hay and made for very sturdy vessels and tools. Today, these are not available so they use raffia and other grasses. The picture below shows how the core of fibres is wrapped and coiled. The coils are bound together with a ‘needle’ to create a strong structure.

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Patty BarronWhen you mention sea hay, it reminded me of the article on SeaSilk weaving! ( or byssus weaving, from sea clams).
A woman in Sant’Antioco, Sardinia, who’s name is Chiara Vigo.

“ your challenge, should you accept this mission, is to find more information on this topic! Best of luck, Grasshopper!” 😉😆
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2 years ago

This open style of basket was used for catching fish from the sea. It has a striking similarity to those woven by our west coast First Nations people.

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Patty BarronAgreed, the weaving & the fish baskets do look similar to the West Coast First Nation’s basketry!
I am constantly amazed at the connectivity of the cultural similarities of supposedly “far-flung” cultures, say from our Coast to New Zealand, Australia, to the Mediterranean to parts of Africa...
The more we travel, the more we discover how little we really know?!
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There was a special exhibit of etchings on display at the museum. We were not familiar with the art and found it to be very dark and somewhat morbid. That is, until we found the pieces featuring the donkey, or more like, the ass. I learned that these are the works of the Spanish artist, Fransisco de Goya (1746-1828).

Goya created a series of images called "Los Caprichos" in 1799, which has been viewed as his commentary on political and social events. The 80 prints in the display explored the corruption, greed, and repression that was rampant in the country. That explains the dark nature of his work.

The etching below is part of a collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This is how they describe it: “One of Goya's favored targets for criticism was the stupidity and vanity of the aristocracy. Here, Goya depicts a ridiculous ass as a member of the nobility, whose attention is consumed by his family tree and pedigree.”

Astonishing discoveries like this make cycle touring so special and it keeps calling me to continue as long as I am able. I was ready to dub this one “Donkey Dreams”.

Fransesco de Goya, titled ‘And So Was His Grandfather’.
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This one is for all the teachers out there to remind us that some things don’t change much.

Fransesco de Goya, titled ‘Might not the pupil know more?’
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We enjoyed the views of the coast from the top of the castle, then made our way down the steps and back to the room for a short siesta.

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There’d be no surprise attacks at this castle!
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After a cat nap, we traipsed back for dinner at Trattoria L’Antico Corso, where we had the best dinner of the trip.  

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This is grilled orada, prawns, baby squid, and squid. So simple, but sublime.
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Patty BarronWhat an absolutely amazing-looking feast!
You both have such good taste! 😂
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2 years ago
The sun was setting over the sea as we strolled back to our hotel.
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Today's ride: 24 km (15 miles)
Total: 629 km (391 miles)

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MaryAnne JarvinHi Anne,
Maybe a polygala myrtifolia?? I found a photo of one in Cagliari.
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2 years ago
Patty BarronAlways such gorgeous scenery! Loved the artistry of the woven baskets!
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2 years ago
Anne MathersTo Patty BarronYes, me too. The designs resemble e of the native North Americans, don’t you think?
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2 years ago