It’s a good day to be on the move. Skies bright and clear, mellow September temperatures peaking at around 31 degrees. We’re descending between the sheer, slate walls of the mountain range and surrounded by sand. The scenery that could have come straight out of a John Wayne Western. What’s more, we’re still on that luxury of luxuries a smooth tarmaced road, a complete contrast to Italy.
About 6 kilometres from the coast and the tarmac road abruptly ends. We follow a narrow unpaved road through olive groves and fallowed fields. Its bumpy and squeaky but Craig reassures me it is worth it. We pull up a low hill until we reach an encampment where sheep are being loaded onto the back of trucks. Lamp chops, soon? Mac n Tosh whine in a ‘we wish’ sort of way. We watch for a while and then tootle on towards the coast.
The road reverts to dirt track but soon the rubble gives way to softer, sandier terrain. I get nervous snd Craig tells me to stop fretting. By the time we reach the coast we are on the edge of a sand sea. We park up on the car park (€10 for the day and free overnight) and tuck in between an Austrian and a German motorhome.
Our Bumble paid car park Piscinas GPS position: N039.540599, E008.451796
The fine golden sand looks soft and seductive, but it is the most difficult and dangerous surface. The hills of sand at Piscinas are moving dunes, sometimes as much as 50 m (164 ft) high, that rise up around the estuary of the River Piscinas. And judging by todays wind they may well shift a lot. Its blowing a bloody hoolay and after half a dozen loud ouches of sand blasts we reside to the safety of Vin. Within half an hour screaming wind is scything sand off the dunes and hurling it across our windscreen. Thank goodness we have the Austrian and German van offering some type of protection. A bit of TV then early night.
After a night of jolting from gusts of winds and pelts of sand, we wake rather slowly. Wind slept comes to mind. The amber sunrise casts a warm glow across the motorhome. But when we come around we realise its not a nice warm glow, its a fine coating of golden dust and sand. Jeez it everywhere. We’ve been tango’d comes to mind!
Mac’s lump has increased in size a little and it has us scratching our head. Wonder if it is exercise related? Yesterday, we took him for a little walk, nothing like he is used to but more than a few steps for a piddle. He is not in pain or any discomfort and still has several days of tablets, so let keep our fingers crossed. Whilst Mac enjoys a cuddle from Craig, I take Tosh for a morning ball chase, which he thoroughly enjoys.
The beach is void of people and the two small beach bars are boarded up. We walk to the ocean and can hardly hear each. The wind is a lot calmer but still strong enough to whip up sizeable waves. They crash and roar and send sea spray hurling in to the air. We run to avoid. Craig catches a few drops and says he is instantly chilled to the bone. He is in two minds as to whether to grab his fleece. He is such a softy, I chuckle.
We walk and walk for miles. At the far end the dunes are huge and once at the top we are left gasping by the perilousness of the ascent and the view. The curves and outlines of the dunes, formed by the wind into hundreds of thousands of peaks and crests and troughs, is beautiful. Though the sand is constantly in motion, being smoothed and reshaped by the north wind from France, there is complete stillness, the sculpted contours of the sand dunes smooth as marble and not a grain out of place. The ultimate wasteland.
Strongly rooted plants like marram grass gradually stabilise the dune slopes, which are then covered by other salt resistant plants like juniper. Remains of the mines that were once the mainstay of the Sulcis regional economy are also still visible.
Mac n Tosh would so love to wander around this vast landscape but sadly we need to be cruel to be kind. As we head back we find a stick or two for them to chew. We let them play outside Vin whilst we commence the clean up of fine sand and dust. Its everywhere.
As darkness falls we watch another amazing sunset before we settle down. Another night under the stars with a glass of wine for two!. The good news the wind has calmed down. The bad news our German neighbour snores very loudly!