10. Mai 2016 § Hinterlasse einen Kommentar
This trip will make ample use of the ferry connections between the Mediterranean islands. Yesterday, I rolled onto the Moby Dick vessel that plies the short stretch of water between Bonifacio and Santa Teresa di Gallura, on Sardinia. About Bonifacio, just one word. It’s truly worth a trip in itself. Perched precariously (one might say overhangingly) on its limestone cliff, it was a great way to end my otherwise slightly mixed Corsican experience (too much traffic, to many German motorbike gangs). The tourist euro is already rolling in Corsica, whereas the Italians are only slowly thinking about getting ready for the seaside season. Nearly everything is closed – sometimes the white-washed shopwindows suggest permanence. In a small resort town I wanted to get a bottle of water, the three supermarkets were shuttered, and had to resort to a bar which ripped me off.Otherwise, Sardinia is cheaper (less than €40 for a room with a breakfast rich in cakes and tarts), as well as economically less active, everything being concentrated on the two summer months. The numerous pre-season campers and cyclists don’t seem to generate much income. Or they just don’t fit the local concept, the cyclists are just obstacles on the road, according to my taxi driver.
What,a taxi? I have to explain. After cycling for 27 km in hilly terrain today, I realised I’d left my smartphone at the hotel. How very unsmart! I couldn’t face doubling up all the way, the hotel owner did not consider mailing left-behind objects (right he is, it happens daily, I suppose), and the bus would have meant getting back to where I noticed the loss at 6 pm only, with no hope of reaching my booked room in Olbia today. The taxi driver gave me a discount: €50 instead of double that, and as soon as he understood that I spoke some Italian, flooded me with all sorts of conversational gems. Leaving aside the obvious (all politicians around here corrupt, women including his two fidanzatas complicated, taxes to be paid but with no result to be seen – e.g. bicycle paths alongside the roads -, Switzerland being an exceptionally well-organised country, the EU paying for refugees to stay at four-star hotels – he showed me one – while fellow Sardinians were suffering), he shared one comparison with me that intrigued me, though: the Corsicans stick together and never sell land or property to aliens, while the Sardinians sell out as soon as they smell a whiff of money. Hence the slopes covered with ugly developments and villas here, the nicely restored family homes and grown-over ruins over there. He mentioned a Sardinian friend who’d spent most of his working life on Corsica and who wanted to by a house (three walls, really) in the mountains from a mate. No truck, although the mate would have given it away for tuppence to any cousin any day.
Also, although the taxi driver doesn’t speak the lingo of the locals (that’s another story: Mussolini forced the Sardinians to abandon Sardu, with the result that they now speak the best and most distinct Italian, according to him), he can understand it, and since the southern Corsicans speak the same, he can get by easily over there as long as they don’t drop into French. And he obviously didn’t mean Sardu, but Gallurese. Have I unknowingly touched upon another language, I mean one I can count? That would be great, well worth the amount I threw away for my smartlessness.
P.S. I checked: the Regional Government of Sardinia recognised Gallurese, along with Sassarese, as a distinct language. I guess I’ll join the club, if only to be a step closer to reaching my 80 language regions to cycle. In the evening I watched half an hour’s worth of TV Sardu: hopeless to understand more than the occasional loan word from Italian.