We landed at Cagliari at dusk this summer solstice. Somehow I had hoped the light would stretch a little longer tonight but by the time we British passports were given our turn at control, the world was darkening. I rushed over to the car rental place to pick up my great big silver Fiat, chasing the last of the light. The garage was full of bats waking from the eaves and wheeling. Guano everywhere. Immediately I knew this was a new place.
A friendly man was there to do the paperwork as the bats circled and shrieked.
Two lads to pick-up. I found them. And so we struck out, into whatever Sardinia might turn out to be.
The one thing the three of us all agreed on was that we were hungry. Very very hungry. Our initial blithe assumption that we would find vittals on the road from the airport to the hotel slowly began to cede to a simmering anxiety as we found ourselves whipping through unlit scrubland and up and down mountain pathways bereft of signage, of lights and of even the rudiments of civilisation.
The drive is an hour and a half. After 40 minutes the car was silent and tense. Our only real conversation was about how hungry we were. When we finally hit a village the pizzerias were open but the ovens were off. Everybody was still there drinking in the warm evening. No food. Happy Italians drinking. We gave up. “Breakfast starts early,” we comforted ourselves.
Then, a minute from the hotel, bustle and an oven with fire still lit, just by the road. We stopped. We rushed in. “Yes we will serve if you take it away!” We had pizza. We arrived back into our bodies. We tore it with our hands and rolled it into our faces. Smack.
I have no idea what the roads are like from Cagliari to Porto Pino having driven them hangry in darkness. Narrow and precipitous at points I’m sure. They might be quite beautiful in the light of day. I’m going to know them very very well before long I’m sure, like that long track into Neom from Tabuk.
Tomorrow is gonna be boiling. It’s hot tonight and it’s late now. 1.05. Just gone midnight back home. Outside the cicadas are really going for it. Sardinia then. Let’s make sense of a bit of you, shall we?
The Bravo Hotel Porto Pino is our base. I’m here now, writing from a room where I’m not sharing a bathroom. This will fit well with what tends to be antisocial hours for me. I’m honestly not sure what I’m doing tomorrow but I know it’ll be something. I’m just gonna show up at 7 for breakfast and start saying “yes”.
Oh yes, the hotel has loungers in a paddling pool… I imagine I’ll have a cup of tea there before long.