Angela Corrias, a journalist who works out of the UK, is stuck in Sardinia doing research on the Knights Templar. She’s also cranking out articles about the interesting culture there. She’s breaking my heart. I wanna go back. I want to see the nuraghi, the sacred wells, the Roman baths still warm, eat lamb stew from a cork plate and chow down on some formaggio con vermini, cheese with worms, after.
Anyway, Angela writes about S’Ardia – A Race Between Danger and Faith for example. You won’t see a race like it anywhere. I’ve seen it five times. I want to see it again. The Palio di Siena? Child’s play, I’m telling you. Besides, the palio’s best riders are all Sardinian.
But my heart really went all a flutter when a read one of Angela’s recent articles Called Fordongianus: Roman Thermal Baths in the Heart of Sardinia. It brought back earthy memories of a 1980s visit when I was working on an archaeological project nearby.
Fordongianus is a Roman spa complex fed by natural hot springs that are still filling the pools to this day. We visited the complex often as it was a stop on our introduction tour for new volunteers on the archaeological survey we were conducting. Not many people had seen a working Roman bath complex.
But I have to tell you, seeing the water in the daytime was plenty of a deterrent for those reprobates among us who harbored thoughts of soaking in it. It was filthy. It was smelly. It said “stay away” in a variety of ways, none of them verbal.
Fast forward to another evening. Our dig house was visited by some British archaeologists. Earlier, a Sardinian volunteer had brought over some chanterelle mushrooms, so I asked if any of the Brits had Scotch. I knew a recipe for chicken with chantrelles and Scotch that I liked and wanted to cook it.
Of course they traveled with a bottle! In the end (meaning quite late, as is the habit in Sardinian summer) we ate luxuriously and there was that bottle of Scotch, unfinished, just sitting there…
So we drank from it.
By midnight we had run out of words to slur, so there was only one option. Well, that is to say there was only one option presented to us by our guests, who were noteworthy enough archaeologists that we forced ourselves into playing along at every opportunity.
“What say we have a race, Brits versus the Americans, Olympic style. Isn’t there a big pool at Fordongianus?”
I looked at my friend Mike. He was wincing noticeably.
The Brits encouraged us…wait, they made us go to Fordongianus. I am not the least bit sad at being able to tell you the American team did not compete. We stood like wienies at the side of the warm pool, gasping in awe of the fearless Brits, crawling through the murkey shallows, flopping over at the end of the pool, kicking plumes of brown water in the air…
I wonder whatever happened to them.
Sardinia is a fascinating place, even id you don’t have any notoriously staid British archaeologists on hand. Read all you can, then, start planning that vacation in Sardinia. And wait, one last travel tip…forget the costly coasts and head for the interior—if you care about fascinating cultures and archaeology that is. You might want to also take a look at our sister site: Wandering Sardinia.