When you are looking for a weekend getaway destinations in the early weeks of December, Sardinia probably is not the highest option on your list? For us, it was.
On a Friday morning, we hopped on board a plane and found ourselves in Alghero, pampered by the gentle sea breeze of the Mediterranean. We quickly grabbed our rental car and headed for the first mountain hike we had planned (Rother walking guide, Sardinia, Walk 33), up to the top of Bruncu Spina. That meant quite some driving, through narrow mountain passes. In Italian traffic, where nobody seems to care about the speed limits. Plenty of stress later, closely avoiding the collision with some goats, cows and pigs, we arrived at the destination, being a refuge at the foot of the mountain.
We found the mountain side patched with snow, glistening bright in the afternoon sun. Our trail was heading towards the ridge in a smoothly bending serpentine, partially covered in deep snow. That felt somehow so cosy, like back home in Finland. The trail took us to a split in between two ridges. From where we continued up to the top of Bruncu Spina. Until the trail disappeared, thanks to some piles of snow.
With having no trail, we reserved to the golden rule, learned in Scotland. If you are heading for the top, just keep the general direction towards higher ground. That worked surprisingly well. Soon we reached the cross marking the highest point at around 1830 meters, and got to enjoy the most beautiful scenery.
We were above clouds, under the sun. Incredible beauty and serenity can be found there. You can stop in the moment. See the clouds change and move, rip apart, revealing the valley below and then come together again. Somehow, it looks like the heaven from comic books, where angels sit on clouds, playing harps and having eternal brunch. We saw nobody though.
Evening was coming, and since neither of us was really feeling like driving down from there during dark hours, we needed to cut the walk short. We returned to the crossing of the ridges on the other side of Bruncu Spina and trotted back to the car. That was a very nice warm up hike for the days to come.
We drove off, and a couple of hours later, we had crossed the most idyllic Italian mountain villages and stressed through serpentine roads, we drove wrong a couple of times too, until we finally arrived at the hotel, tired and ready for bed.
For Saturday, we picked a walk, marked as black in our little red book. It would take us up Monte Corrassi, sometimes referred as the Dolomites of Sardinia. Resemblance is indeed rather striking. Mt. Corrassi stands at over 1400 meters as pale, rocky peaks, watching over a wide valley. To get there, you drive through small mountain roads and pass cute little villages with neatly maintained gardens. The journey indeed, is a nice experience in it self.
Our hike (Rother walking guide, Sardinia, Walk 15) started somewhere near the village of Oliena. Climbing up shortly to a plateau between Supramonte and Corrassi. Continuing from there towards the higher peak of Corrassi as a tiny thing of a trail. The colors of that plateau are very beautiful, the dark greens of the shrub and herbs against the pale grey stone.
Once more, we were above the clouds as we climbed higher. Watching them to shape the landscape behind us. Covering the peaks of mountains and then revealing them again. The trail was very beautiful, rough enough with challenging terrain. Though not quite the level of a walk we would normally think as a black marked hike.
Rather soon we reached the peak. The highest point is an overhang, and if you crawl to the edge, you will stare down into a deep deep fall. Now it was covered in clouds, but none the less, it was a stomach twisting peak down into the void. We sat there for a while, in the calm silence, which you tend to find from mountains, especially on a windless day.
The trail carried on, alongside the ridge, opening a view over the plateau, or down to the valley every now and then. That must have been one of the most beautiful hikes I have done. Unique colors of the nature there, and the shapes of the rocks. Even up there, you could see the marks flowing water had once left behind. It is surreal, the whole landscape. You know, those moments, when you meet a scenery, that you do not want to leave? You want to take it all with you? That place was one of those.
We started to come down from the ridge, walking through an old forest of holm oaks, wrapped still in clouds. The whole bed of the forest was turned over by pigs and we could still hear them rustling around in the low growing bushes. We learned, that on Sardinia, a number of domestic animals, pigs, goats, cows and some horses, are farmed basically half wild. So forests roam these semi tame animals. They can rather freely choose where to go, and what to eat. Seems like some kind of a paradise for farmed animals. And I am pretty sure, that at least the pigs we saw, were very, very contempt.
The forests give me the feeling, that just around the next tree, there will be Julius Caesar, or Nero, sitting on a stump, reading a chronicle, with an irritating Cupid buzzing about. I might be a bit silly now.
We parked ourselves for the evening, onto the sofa in our apartment. Watching incomprehensible Italian TV. Tired, warm and happy as a pig, in Sardinian forest. So I leave you too, to wait for the latter events of our trip, stay tuned!