Breakfast on the headland veranda watching a bird of prey skim along the shoreline. We think its an eagle but can’t say for sure. With bold, powerful wings, it hovers to seek out its prey. Then in a flash it swoops down, catches a small rodent and then returns to a small offshore rock to eat its catch. Mac n Tosh sense they may be next and hide under the cover of Vin.
As we drive north from Portu Maga, farm buildings are scattered amongst the countryside. To the left, a coastline of soft rock and the the right, a dramatic sweep of an escarpment. Inland miles upon miles of low undulating hills covered with a mix of thorn trees, cactus, olive trees and scrubby bush. The switchback roads follow the old Sardinian shepherd trails, which are clearly still used today.
Along the coastal road, the village of Torle dei Corsori seems a low key Italian tourist destination. A small supermarket and a handful of bars and cafes. A windy road leads you through the centre before a reasonable incline up on to the headland and round to the sheltered bay. The large orange beach is quiet apart from a few hardened bathers. They shelter behind beach parasols as gusty winds sand blast their tanned skin. We’re not feeling so brave and decide a spot of lunch and a hot coffee is more appropriate. We park up next to the 17th century Torre and admire the beach from our elevated view.
We continue driving along the coast and by mid afternoon we arrive at Marceddi. Crossing the small causeway on to the finger of land. Our initial impression weren’t so good but after a walk round we soon changed our minds.
The fishing village is compact. Narrow streets zigzag from one side of the finger of land to the next. Taking you from the open sea to a secluded bay. The buildings look very basic and more like fishermen’s storage shelters than homes. As we walk down the cobbled alleys we manage to glimpse inside, a small living room with a bed tucked in the corner. The concrete buildings are streaked by the rain, from which sprouts a canopy of television aerials and rusty satellite dishes.
Around by the marina two ladies are cleaning up the seaweed from the slip way. We notice a fresh water point and ask if it is ok to fill up with water. Si, si with big beaming smiles, so we do the honours and fill Vin with water. As we do so, we look around you can see the local people have tried their best to make this working village a nice place to live. With little or no funding from the government but lots of hard graft from the locals they are doing their utmost to attract visitors. A shack cafe, immaculately clean with white painted stones to make it inviting. It is places like this that we love to find, they have heart and soul. This is the real Sardinia and its beautiful.
We continue observing life around the marina, a mix of men chatting, kids laughing, dogs barking, seagulls squawking until a fishing boat engine springing to life then silence. Everyone pauses to watch them head out to the open water. Perfect timing as Vin is full to the brim with fresh water. We move to the ‘lagoon’ side of the village. As we drive down the road we pass a picnic area on our right and then notice a small dirt track. We follow and it leads us right on to the banks of the waters edge (hows that for a view!) and under the shelter of the pine trees. Its away from the hustle of marina but within easy walking distance.
Our Bumble wild camping at Marceddi GPS position: N039.720867, E008.514700
Late afternoon we have a go at fishing and what a mess we made. Back in England, we purchased two extendable rods with reel and load of hooks and flies. Its the first time we’ve ever used them. Craig set everything up whilst I made a cuppa. I also grabbed some bits of squashed bread and a tin of corn for our bate. By the time the cuppa was made, I stepped out the van to find Craig stressed to hell. Entangled in fishing wire and knee deep in fish slutch, he was cursing the patience of this sport. It was so funny. What foxed him was the reel wound in the wrong way. His head was mashed to bits.
Eventually, we got the hang of it, to a certain degree. With every other cast one of us would get pelted in corn as our bate flung through the air. We chuckled and laughed as we cast line after line. But not one bite! The daft thing is we could see the fish jumping out the water.
By sunset we’d had our fill of fishing and decided we were crap at it. Mac n Tosh looked terribly disappointed with our lack of goodies, but have no fear, a tin of Lidl sardines to the rescue. We packed up as the mosquitos chewed us to bits. So with a glass of vino and covered in smelly deet we sat over the lagoon and watch the sunset…which unlike the fish, it did not disappoint.
In the morning, we wake to a lagoon full of men with their heads in buckets. Over breakfast, we observe and suss out they are using traditional eel catching methods. On the waterside are stacks of square boxes with glass inlay. These simple little boxes are used to scour the lagoon floor at low tide to spot eels. Each box has a rim at the top, around which a string bag is tied. The eel men stick their head in the box, light a fag, chatter away and slowly stalk the eel. The occasional splash followed by a deep sigh of acknowledgement and another eel is popped in the bag.
Surprisingly, fishing is not big business on Sardinia, which seems strange given its an island surrounded by waters teaming with fish. In the main, they are lovers of the land with farming being their tradition. However, Marceddi is one of the odd fishing villages on the island. A few do a bit of sea fishing but their passion are clearly eels. Personally, eels give me the creeps, wiggly little buggers.
At the side of the lagoon there is nice open field and unlike yesterday, the sun is shining bright. We take advantage of the open space, fresh water and the weather and do a full blown wash from clothes and bedding to roof panels and inside cupboards. Mac n Tosh mean while have a good run around the field although we keep Mac on gentle trot duties, so as not to aggravate his lump. After all the strong winds and sand dunes we are full of red dust, so it feels right to give Vin a good scrub. An autumn clean.
A few hours pass and we wonder if we should stay or move? I am quite relaxed but Craig has itchy feet, so we set off. We hug the coastal road until we arrive at what can only be described as a bamboo maze. Miles upon miles of a complete grid pattern with not a soul or building to be seen. It was mildly weird.
An hour before sunset and we were strolling up and down the aisles of Oristano Lidl. Filling our trolley full of goodies. By the time we’d finished the sun had well gone down and it was pitch black outside. We quickly packed away our shopping and headed over to the free sosta in the middle of the town centre. Easy to get to and good for quick night stop.
Our Bumble free sosta at Oristano GPS position: N039.897322, E008.589503
By the time we arrive and park up we are feeling rather shattered. A quick dinner of roast ham ciabatta, a sprinkling of crisp and a glass of fizzy pompelmo. Now zapped and none of us has much energy left. There only remains one thing to do before bed and that’s to take the dogs for a night tinkle.