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Sun, 08 Sep 2013

You don't get pigs at Butlins

Sardinia reminds me of a sketch on a Radio 4 comedy which went along the lines of "Welcome to Radio 3. Quiet, isn't it?" For late August and early September there are remarkably few people about. This is, on the whole, a good thing but does lend everywhere a slight post apocalypse edge. The hard core commitment to siesta that seems to come with Italian island living only adds to the mood. Even the slightly upmarket tourist resort that, through lack of diligent enough research, we are in for the second week is eerily quiet.

While it lacks many people what the resort does have is wild pigs. Not, in as much as I am a judge of pigs, very large ones or great herds of them but enough that you quickly learn to identify the sound when they wake you snuffling about outside the window in the middle of the night. On the whole they seem watchfully curious, rather cute and add a certain amount of character to the manufactured nature of the place. There are days when we probably see as many pigs as people.

Apparently the draw for the few people here are the beaches which seems a great shame as much of the interior is stunning; "great craggles" is an apt summary. There's also some flat plains and some lumpy, but non craggly, bits but it's the many and various ways that rocks sticks out the ground that provide the best of the scenery. With great craggles comes great twistyness but as a holiday feels incomplete without some time spent slaloming through mountain roads this is firmly in the plus column. Your mileage may, in a very literal way, vary.

Sadly is seems that this great interior does not foster the best of Italian cuisine and the beach based tourism certainly doesn't foster the best of Italian architecture. There is also not the same rich vein of towns where afternoons can be swallowed up in idle wandering as in other parts of Italy and the local specialities are at the rustic end. Crowds and getting a table are never an issue though.

Also not an issue is Bronze Age towers for there are thousands of them in various states of repair. A few have guides and information but mostly they are scattered casually about the island with only a small brown sign to draw the attention. More impressive is the willingness of the guide at the one we visit to admit that most of what he is telling you is guesswork. There are towers; they were built between 1600 BC and 800 BC; they were abandoned. Probably is as good as the whys seem to get and quite a few are "no idea, here is some speculation on the matter". It's nothing whatsoever to do with the Carthaginians though, that much is very definite.

The other defining characteristic of Sardinia is the grossly over-engineered road junctions. The idea of two roads simply meeting is something of an anathema to the road planners so each junction comes with little dividing islands, directions arrows and give ways signs at a minimum. If you are unlucky then you come across what can only be the work of a frustrated knot theorist.

Not really being the beach going type I can't say much about the beaches.

posted at: 22:06 #

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