Day 20 - Sardinia - "Tower of the wind"
Starting point: Santa Giusta
Destination: Santa Giusta
Distance: ca 360 km
OMG! That´s the only way I can describe that day. The variety of the Sardinian landscape overwhelmed me. That day I did only one longer break just to fill the tank and otherwise I was driving the entire day. The western part of Sardinia is completely flat and, with several archaeological spots, made the island interesting from a historical point of view. Although, this is not the entire truth. On a map, here and there, one can find mountain peaks which I would rather call knolls reaching a maximum of 1000 meters. Santa Giusta, in the Province of Oristano, is located on the shores of a lagoon with the same name and not so far from Torre Grande, the highest of the Spanish Watch Towers built along the Sardinian coast. I decided to visit it before driving across the island.
Again, I did not really have a precise plan of how to arrive at the famous road, the SS125. First I took main roads marked on a map as "SS roads". I crossed small towns, fields of growing cereals, veggies and fruits trees. I was impressed by the artistic appearance of the street art painted on the houses. The wind that never stopped on the island was gently touching my skin, making the trip refreshing, pleasant and enjoyable. Contrary to Sicily, I did not get tired of driving at all. The weather conditions were just perfect. A breeze rather than a wind helped me to stay focused the entire day. Despite the high temperatures that were reaching high numbers on the thermometer scale.
Getting closer to the "real" Sardinia mountains, I got a bit inpatient. The road "SS" was going along and not over the mountains. I was getting slowly bored by the "easy" ride on the road which had very gently curves. Since I really like mountainous scenery, I just decided to take first well maintain road which let directly to the mountains. I was not disappointed. Roads SP25, SP27, and SP13 gave me wonderfully scenic views. All roads were well maintained, curvy, located mainly on hillsides, crossing valleys and mountain peaks. Some parts were deep in a valley, and later would have a pinnacle on a neighboring hill. The roads were mostly empty and wide. After two or maybe even three hours, I arrived to an intersection with road SS198, which later led me to the SS125. I had learnt that there were two SS125 roads, the new one and the old one. The latter was located closer to the coast and was crossing small, and not very spectacular towns. I chose the new road. I did a transition between a tableland, an area of hilly highlands which raised above the surrounding area, and another mountainous terrain. At first, I got a negative impression. I was suggested to drive on that particular SS125 road, but I had not seen anything astonishing yet. I did not feel boredom, only avid for epic scenery. Since I was already there, I was determined to continue till Orosei. Slowly, I was approaching a terrain that was protected by the state, called The Gennargentu National Park ("Tower of the wind”). The area stretched from the highest Sardinian peak of Punta La Marmora, to the depths of the Bay of Orosei. Three main roads were crossing the park exposing the beauty of the terrain, and the road SS125 was one of them, the nearest to the eastern coastline of Sardinia, located on the eastern part of a hillside. Therefore, not much of the sea could be seen from there. Just as I entered the park, spectacular views arose behind every corner, curve and mountain. Late hours of that day offered breathtaking dances between
shadows and light, giving unforgettable shades of all possible colors of nature. From deep dark green of a dense forest to the bright brown of, dry from the sunlight, Mediterranean bushes. From dehydrated yellow mountain peaks to bright colors of wild flowers, deep in valleys. The morning dew obviously helped the vegetation to preserve their vital colors, while the higher altitudes were dominated by rugged terrain.
Closely approaching Orosei on a plateau, herds and stock of goats partook their last meal as the day was about to conclude. The place was beautiful, definitely worth seeing, and one of those places where I would like to return to.
The sun was already long below the horizon and I still needed to drive across the island in order to be back in Santa Giusta. The entire day I hadn´t eaten anything and I was stopping just to drink in order to prevent possible dehydration. I also had the taste of Leonardo's meal still in my mind, and because I liked his place a lot, the next day I decided to wait until noon and eat lunch at his place before leaving the village for good.