Twenty-Eight May 28-July 20, 2006
Late May we squeezed in a three
day tour of Sardinia. For all the time we've spent here
we've seen little of the island. So off we went with our
American friends to do a little exploring. Sardinia is
supposedly the perfect antidote to Italy-overdose. When
you've had enough of Botticelli and Brunelleschi, when
one more church interior will send you in the path of
the nearest speeding Fiat you go to Sardinia to recover
amid savage coastline and pink mountains. The northern
coast has sprouted concrete condominiums but much of
Sardinia persists in its untamed state. The interior of
the island is simple, almost primitive; the small towns
we traveled through are a bit like walking back in time,
say 1950s. You get the picture.
Mysterious ruins, wild horses
and wind-carved rock formations are prevalent. Simple
architecture, nothing grand.
Well, that is until you reach
the northeast coast of Porto Cervo. Built by the Aga
Khan in the late 70s, this is one glitzy spot. We got
lucky and found a delightful hotel via internet just
down the coast with a wonderful view.
The restaurant in the hotel
overlooked the same rolling meadows and a cool breeze
entered the wide-opened windows. Sardinian cuisine is
quite simple. While we haven't been indulging in dessert
here, "bombas" are the specialty. Big donut looking
pastries stuffed with sweet cream, dusted with sugar and
doused in fresh honey. John's favorite food is "pane
carasau", thin crispy Sardinian bread. The local wine, "Cannonau"
promises long life. Apparently, it works since the Sards
are currently among the longest living people on earth.
We felt fortunate to have been able to squeeze in the
tour before we headed out.
June was spent in the States
visiting family, friends, doctors and dentists. We
began in our favorite place, Chatham, with our favorite
friends, where John and Bernard got down to serious
matters in no time.
The grand finale was the Martin
Family Reunion, the 13th of the biennial events. The
weather in Chatham in early June was more like winter,
but at the end of the month we had had enough of
We returned to Sardinia on July
4th, eager to get the watermaker repaired and set sail.
Salty sea breezes whip through twisting streets,
tremendous, but gentle hills plummet into the ocean, and
the smell of burning wood and flap of sea gulls' wings
fill the air while we have our heads stuck in the
Alas, when we tried to start the
diesel, the Captain discovered a crankcase filled to the
brim with oily seawater. The problem was diagnosed as a
leaky oil cooler, and we set off to find a replacement.
The part ordered, John tackled the watermaker with
gusto. This piece of gear is the most complicated
mechanical piece John has ever undertaken to
disassemble, refit and reassemble. Ever! But a couple
of days and it is back together. We had a celebration
pizza with our Irish friends but to no avail; we are
afraid to try it out because the water here in the
marina has had an oil slick on it for the past week or
so, and we know that even a drop of oil will destroy the
semi-permeable membrane, and we don’t want to take the
chance. So we wait.
The part for the engine came
after a week, and John was able to “squeeze- fit” it
in. The engine was running like a top, and we awoke the
next morning eager to give it another exercise. Alas,
the crankcase was once again filled to overflowing. So,
apparently the repair did not fix the problem. Now we
wait for the local mechanic to come have a look. John
has been “consulting” with him for the past week in the
selection of parts and spares, so Salvator knows how
much John has been working and how desperate we are for
some fast help. So we wait.
It is hot as blazes in Sardinia.
It's very obvious why the crowds come in June through
August; it’s guaranteed to be hot and sunny. The rainy
season ends in April and a drop of rain will not fall
again until October. Every day the beaches get a little
more crowded and are lined with chairs and umbrellas. No
secrets here for sure!
Of course there is always a
silver lining. We were in Italy to watch the Italians
win the World Cup. We went to the local cafe in the tiny
town we're in (still). What an event that was! Just
spectacular. The owner's TV was set up on a metal stand
on the sidewalk with a large Italian flag draped across
the base. Her four grown daughters served pizza and beer
while she banged on a serving tray and shook castanets
the entire evening. Did I mention she is 93? The game
itself was fairly uneventful but the entertainment was
not to be missed.
Our summer “cruise” will take us
from Sardinia to Tunisia to Malta, to Greece. One of
John's colleagues has a summer house on Mykonos and he
has asked us to spend the winter there. Naturally, each
day we are delayed is a day we cannot spend exploring,
and we’ll miss that. But maybe we are supposed to learn
something different this summer. Who knows??