Well, my iPhone predicted it—-yes it rained for two days. However, when I got up on Friday morning, it was only sprinkling so I decided to take the train to Iglesias to see a Roman Temple. The train ride was pleasant, took 50 minutes, but when I got there it was raining quite hard. I didn’t think I wanted to wait in the rain for a bus so I talked to a taxi. However, then I would have barely missed my 1:22 return train and would have had to wait two more hours in the rain. So I packed it in and went back on the 1:22 train, and then to linner (wouldn’t want to miss that!). Yes, sometimes things just don’t march.
I have had some very nice roommates lately—-one a young woman from the Czech Republic; another two from France that were here until Sunday.
The second rainy day I spent in museums that I hadn’t seen earlier. You’ll remember that I said I like funky museums—-well here was the funkiest. It was called the Raccolta di Cere Anatomische. It had about 23 very realistic-looking wax anatomical displays with muscles, nerves, etc, of various parts of the human body.
The second was the Museo Etnographico Regionale, apparently new as it was not mentioned in the LP. It had a very nice collection of lots of things including hand woven/embroidered rugs from the 19th and 20th C. One was ‘finished in 1867 by Luicia,’ according to the embroidery on the rug.
There was jewelry and there were rosaries; even a few 19th. C. photographs, which show a pretty hard life, I think.
On the way back past the Cathedral I heard some J. S. Bach being played on the organ so, wanting to hear it, I strolled in and came upon a wedding. It’s a big cathedral so the wedding people didn’t know I was there, but I, standing in the dark at the back of the church, did manage to photograph the wedding in progress.
Later in the afternoon I went to see Santa Eulalia church, a very old church built on foundations of an even older church, built on foundations of a temple. There was a very extensive museum under the church, which also had a room of religious art. They had incorporated some old stones in the walls.
Oh for heavens sake! I just discovered that I have been spelling Cagliari wrong—-I had put an ‘e’ in place of an ‘a.’ Therefore it should be pronounced Cull’-yar-ee. My spelling was always bad, but now it’s abysmal.
Moving on, I took a train to Oristano, a pretty little town, where I stayed in the big hotel-ey-looking Hostel Rodia. It’s called a hostel and maybe in the high season they fill up, but I had a two-room suite for four, sharing a bathroom in between. But since I was again alone, it was more like a hotel. The website said it was “situated in the center of Oristano”—-hardly. There were fields right up to the hostel. The clerk agreed it wasn’t ‘exactly’ in the middle of town but she assured me it was only a 10-minute walk to the Piazza Roma. Man, that would be some pretty fast walking! Still, I needed the exercise.
I started by doing the ‘walk’ arriving at Piazza Roma with its 13th C Tower of Marianno II, which was the northern gate to the town in those times.
I moved on to the Piazza Eleonora d’Arborea, named for a woman who became head of the giudicato in 1383 and led some very strong resistance to the invading Spanish. She also established a ‘Code of Laws,’ which dealt with land and property and lots of women’s rights. Go Girl!!
There was a sun dial on the Town Hall, which was off by an hour, except I finally
figured out that sun dials don’t change to Daylight Savings Time! (My watch read 12:35)
From there I went to Oristano’s only museum, but what a good one! It was the Museo Antiquarium Arborense. Even the small regional museums in Sardinia are great because there is such a wealth of material here.
Here was a 7th C BCE Knight; there was a 9th C BCE Goddess.
This museum also had a wrinkle that I’ve never seen before—-a museum for the blind. They had made copies of many artifacts that unsighted persons could pick up and touch along with reading the Braille explanations of the material.
Linner was at Trattoria Gino, dishing the dishes since 1930. It was totally full with locals, always a good sign, and my spaghetti with clams along with a salad and wine filled the bill, and filled me.
Another day, through the hostel I made arrangements for a taxi to take me to some of the out-of-town sights. We started at the Cabras Museum seeing the Monte Prama giant sculptures. In the 9th C BCE these had been made as funerary statues, but then broken apart at some later date. A farmer, while plowing in 1978 turned up a fragment that led to the discovery of 23 statues, although there were years spent reassembling them from 5200 fragments. They were first exhibited in 2014, so, of course, my Lonely Planet book is silent about them. The statues are each about 7 feet tall and really dramatic. I had already seen some at the Cagliari museum.
Next we stopped at the little village of San Giovanni di Sinis to see their 6th C Christian Church. It was so old and interesting.
From there I spent a rewarding time at the old site of Tharros. This city was first formed as a Nuraghic settlement in about the 16th C BCE, followed by the Phoenicians in the 7th C BCE, followed by the Romans in the 3rd C. BCE. There was a big tower overlooking the site but conflicting information as to its origin. Nevertheless, it was an interesting punctuation mark on the site.
The site was marked for this and that Roman temple—-lots of old stones.
In the meantime, a beautiful beach with quartz sand (white and shiny) was nearby. It is against the law to take any of the sand, it is so precious.
And among the old
stones was some new fauna.
The last stop for the morning was the village of San Salvatore with its 16th C. church. The church had some unusual crucifixes in it, perhaps relating to the fact that all of the inhabitants were fishermen, but the really special part was below the church. It seems the church was built over an old Roman temple, which still had the remains of a well and a few ancient murals. Going down that stairway to the 3rd C BCE was a trip!
That afternoon I went back to Trattoria Gino and had the best meal that I think I’ve had here. I had a half-bottle of good wine (much better than the fresh house wine), a mixed seafood salad that also had some beans and aubergine in it, and then prosciutto with melon, which was really generous and wonderful. What a lovely day, all around.
On my last day in Oristano, I walked into town and went to the bus station to inquire about a bus to Bosa and to Alghero for the next day. I bought a ticket, then moved on to see some items that I had not seen earlier. A fun place was the pinocoteca (art gallery) of the city that was housed in a 13th C. hospital—-a nice way to preserve an historic building. The building was almost more interesting than the paintings. There was one painting that I really enjoyed that was a scene that I had photographed just the day before.
Also in this building was a display of La Seraglia, a festival that has been going on for centuries involving a horse parade in costume with masks. A picture from 1950 was interesting to see—-I was in high school then!
Then the Torre Portixedda (East Tower) of the wall fortifications was fun to see and
photograph. Again, this was a 1300s tower built as part of the wall around the city.
I popped into the University of Oristano—-I was actually looking to get into a particular church that was closed but next door. It was fun to see the University students looking like U students everywhere. I think the University is housed in an old Carmine convent adjacent to the (closed) church. Unfortunately, as one sees often, many of the
students were smoking. I guess they think they will live forever.
Since it was threatening rain, I didn’t walk back into town for linner, as I had planned, but tried out the dining room of the Hostel Rodia. At first we had some trouble communicating—-one waitress began bringing me the ‘meal of the day;’ another waiter brought me a menu, which I had requested. I gave up gracefully, though, to let them bring whatever they wanted. It was way too much, of course. I had some fried mushrooms; then three cold seafoods—-shrimp, octopus and something else on separate plates; then spaghetti with a sausage/tomato sauce; then a roast fish, which was carefully disected by my waitress. All in all, it was very good. It did require a nap afterwards.
Next I’ll be moving on to Bosa and Alghero.