Buggerru to Carloforte - Springtime Spin in Sardinia 2019 - CycleBlaze

June 7, 2019

Buggerru to Carloforte

Most of Buggerru’s action appeared to take place at the spiaggia that’s about about a km out of town. As for the town itself, we noticed a few young people hanging out at the bar, a young boy doing hot laps with his noisy moto on the new pavement in front of our B&B, one other pair of tourists and a few barking dogs. Perhaps this was normal for that time of day? Oddly, the restaurant that called itself a pizzeria only serves pizza on the weekends and was out of three things I had chosen on the menu. (It reminded me of the waiter in Russia who answered to each of the cycle tourist's menu choices with, 'Borscht?'.  It turned out that borscht was the only thing they served.) Thankfully, the service was good and they made a dynamite caprèse salad and seafood linguine.  We were well taken care of.

Our ride today continues along the coast as far as Portovesme, where we will take a 30 minute ferry ride to the Isola San Pietro.

We ate our breakfast on the balcony.
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Buggerru main street has just been paved! Our B&B host joked it might take another 25 years to get the lines painted.
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The climb started right outside our B&B, once again. We knew we would be climbing a hill but didn’t expect it to rise up so quickly, so much that we jumped off and pushed the bikes for a short section.

I am still puzzled by this sign. Any thoughts on what it means?
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Keith ClassenThat is a head scratcher...okay... a straight road for 12 kms plus another 5 for a total of 17 kms. But first you must go around that bend in the road ahead.
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2 years ago
Scott AndersonObelisk or column ahead. You’re not that far from the archeological site at Nora, so it’s likely that.
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2 years ago
Anne Mathers😂 ok, that makes sense now! 🤣
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2 years ago
Leslie Rogers-WarnockI googled it....it means "Other Danger"
I would include snakes, lizards, goats, dogs, cars, other cyclists, end of pavement. A CYA sign.

Other danger
(formerly used Italian traffic signs - old - pericolo generico.svg)
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2 years ago
Good thing we had two cups of coffee this morning.
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Overlooking Buggerru. We are still debating the suitability of the name.
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This is a large compressor used by the mine.
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Our route took a long slow rise up a river valley, which progressively became narrower. The temperatures were rising quickly and the wind was in our faces. We eventually came to the grand daddy of a hill. The sign said 10% but I am quite certain it was an average for the next few kms and there were steeper sections. I am able to ride very slowly and keep my ticker under control so I plugged away at 4.9 to 5.3 kmh and eventually came to the unmarked summit. David had opted for walking as he can’t go that slowly and keep spinning. 

Me, at the start of a long 10% climb.
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David, finishing the hill.
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Keith ClassenHe is not pushing ...is he??
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2 years ago
Small flowers can pack a punch but don’t get the recognition. These orange beauties, Lysimachia monelli, were flowering at the hot, windy summit.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be garden pimpernel, if my google image search serves me well. Looks about right anyway.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysimachia_monelli
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2 years ago

We were relieved to make the summit and start the downhill which was marked at 13% but it didn’t take long for me to realize I would have to walk down this hill. Not only was the grade 13+ %, there were hairpin corners interspersed in the descent. My rims heated up quickly and my hands were no match for the grip required to keep my descent under control. There is a first for everything and this is the first time I have had to walk down a hill with my bike. David managed to cruise down, one or two bends at a time. 

We were so glad we were not riding the opposite direction when we saw that the downhill was even steeper.
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Scott AndersonOh, my gosh. This climb! I thought I was going to lose Rachael here. We did this climb after foolishly lying on the beach getting dehydrated. Somewhere near the summit, Rachael started literally bellowing with each turn of the pedals. Scared me half to death.
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2 years ago
The road wound tightly down from the saddle between two mountains with an average grade of 13%. Some sections were surely upwards of 20%.
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The grade eventually calmed down and quickly after that, we came upon Masua, an old mining town and the site of Porto Flavia. The mine is no longer operational but tours are offered. We had just descended the steepest road ever and to get to Masua we would have had to descend even more, then climb back up to the main road. It was not in the cards today, so we took in the view of Pane de Zucchero, a 133m tall rock island that juts out of the sea very near Porto Flavio. 

The engineering marvel of Porto Flavio is something to behold and it’s important to mention it. Up until it was built in 1924, mine workers had been loading ore manually in wicker baskets into and out of ships. The ore was bound for northern Europe. A Belgian company bought the mine in 1922 and decided they needed to improve the shipping of ore so they commissioned Cesare Vecelli to devise a solution to improve steamship loading time and cost. Vecelli surveyed the coasts of Masua, ultimately finding the perfect spot in the high cliffs in front of the Pan di Zucchero where ships could be safely loaded. Over a two year period, workers built Vecelli’s design of two superimposed tunnels, each 600 metres (2,000 ft) long, that were linked by nine huge vertical reservoirs for the processed ore. In the upper tunnel an electric train was used to bring the load to the reservoirs: the ore was unloaded by gravity into hatches on top of the reservoirs. In the lower tunnel a conveyor belt received the ore from the reservoirs and brought it to an extensible 16-metre (52 ft) long conveyor belt capable of fully loading a steamship moored at the base of the cliff in about two days. The loading facility was named for Vecelli’s young daughter, Flavia. This new loading system enabled the mine to reduce shipping costs by 70% but many miners in nearby Carloforte lost their jobs. Demand for the ore dropped significantly in the 1960’s so the mine closed. Today it’s a museum and you can go right through the tunnels to the actual portal to the sea.

This rock is named Pane de Zucchero. The entrance to the Porto Flavio tunnel is just visible in the photo.
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The engineering marvel, Porto Flavio. Picture from www.cometosulcis.it.
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Here is some historic footage. https://youtu.be/QjO8eRTtR34

We carried on along the rugged coastline and eventually came to Nebida, where we stopped at a tiny beehive of a mercato to buy a cold drink. It must have been nearing closing time, i.e. 1pm, because it seemed like everyone and his horse was in that shop. While the woman served everyone else but us, David snapped this photo of the communal wine wells. Customers brought in their 2L empties and had them filled while they (and we) waited. We finally bought our cold drinks and headed over to the belvedere to drink them and cool down a bit.

In a tiny mercato in Nebida, you can have your 2L water bottle filled with wine, on credit no less.
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Mining remains at Nebida.
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The terrain calmed down after a nice cliffside downhill exit from Nebida.

Coastal road near Nebida.
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These roads are exciting and memorable on a bicycle.
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Keith ClassenHow many cycle tourers have you come across in the last week! With those grades let me guess.
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2 years ago
Anne MathersTo Keith ClassenThat would be zero along this coast. Otherwise, we have seen more cycle tourists here in Sardinia than on any other tour we have done. Still not a lot but we don’t often see others touring by bike.
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2 years ago
Looking back toward Nebida.
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Scott AndersonProbably our favorite view in Sardinia.
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2 years ago
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Yeee-haawww. We love cruising along these hill hugging roads.
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So much fun!
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As we left the rugged coast, we flew past the Spiaggia Fontanamare and crossed over much gentler terrain, via the busy SS126, to Portovesme.

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Portovesme is where the ferries run to Carloforte on the Isola San Pietro. The stacks of the industrial complex came into view as we neared it and I quickly got the feeling  that I wanted to get out of Portovesme before I even entered it. This is just a portion of the 700 hectare site, as seen from the ferry.

Portovesme, site of another industrial complex.
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We rode up to the ticket booth and purchased our ferry tickets for the next sailing at 2:30. It was a relief to leave the site and to arrive at Carloforte 30 minutes later.

On our way to Carloforte on Isola de Pietro.
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Scott AndersonOh! There’s the obelisk! I knew it.
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2 years ago
Carloforte.
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Our B&B was located in the heart of the very peaceful centro storico. It had certainly been an epic day of riding and we were very happy to be on this lovely little laid back island. So much that we decided we would spend two nights here and take a light day of exploration on unloaded bikes tomorrow. 

While chillaxing in our B&B, I read about a restaurant here that serves just tuna while it is in season, very fresh tuna caught by age old traditional net fishing methods. We were in luck because it is still tuna fishing season. We ordered an appetizer of boiled tuna with thinly sliced onions and green beans, seasoned with an incredible EVOO and sea salt. For our mains, we ordered two different cuts: one flank (first picture) and one back (second picture). The local red wine paired beautifully with the tuna. It was a divine meal and one I will probably never forget.

The best tuna I have ever had (or probably will ever have).
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Another delicious take on tuna, red fin tuna.
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We adored the chef at this restaurant.
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Chef says when he sees this picture each day, it reminds him that everything will be ok, so don’t worry. We told him we had seen Peter Tosh in Vancouver many moons ago in our reggae phase. Before we knew it we were listening to Bob Marley tunes. 💕
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Photo in the restaurant. Perhaps some famous movie stars looking at Pane de Zucchero??
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Today's ride: 42 km (26 miles)
Total: 1,148 km (713 miles)

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Patty BarronWhat happened to the map?
Especially interested in seeing those horrific elevations & hair-raising downhills!
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2 years ago