Posted in Sardinia

Tower in Cagliari, Sardinia

Before I had a chance to read this weekend’s New York Times article on D.H. Lawrence’s footsteps through Sardinia, my father-in-law interjected with a tale from his time spent in Sardinia while in the Italian Army.

Dante served in the army for 13 months, most of that time spanning the year 1960. He had been posted to the Piedmont, but his battalion was sent to Sardinia for a gun training exercise. “Our hands were purple when we left the Piedmont, it was so cold,” he said. “By Genoa, it was much warmer. Then when we got to Sardinia, we were bare back because it was so hot.”

“I remember we took the train from north to south, from Sassari to Cagliari through the middle of Sardinia. It was so dry and we were so thirsty, we jumped out the train at each stop so we could run into town and fill up our canteens with water from the village nasoni (the faucet-like fountains that are all over Italy). Only the first guy would ever get a cup of water because the water in the nasoni just went ‘drip drip drip.’

“The other thing I remember is that all up and down the island were plots of land with prickly pear bushes everywhere. We took to eating the fruit from the prickly pears as a way to hydrate. But I remember this one guy–Carnicella–who was an office guy, a real primadonna, who stood back on the train with a fork and waited for the others to come back with prickly pears. Now, prickly pears are tricky–they are prickly so you have to be careful to get the meat out of them. Carnicella used his fork to dig into a prickly pear but the pricks were on his fork as he took a bite. He couldn’t eat for three days after that!”

The train chugged along through Sardinia. “It was a coal train, so by the time we reached Cagliari, we were black from the soot. I ate mussels in Cagliari that made me so sick I was in the hospital for two days. I didn’t know if I was dead or alive.”

Photo: Flickr/rainshift79

Win the 2014 DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Italy

DK Eyewitness Guide to Italy

Dorling Kindersley has asked me to help them give away a set of their 2014 Eyewitness Travel guides. Included in the 4-pack are the guides to Italy, New York City, Paris, and London.

I have been toting around DK guides since the first time I visited Rome and I think they are hands-down the best travel guides for visual learners who love art, architecture, and maps. Yes, yes–I know everyone uses fancy smartphone apps now. But there’s something comforting about thumbing through a guidebook before and during one’s travels (it also saves you from paying huge data usage fees!)

If you’d like to win the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Italy plus three more titles for your library, visit this post on my personal blog and leave a comment *there* to enter the contest. Comments left on this blog, while appreciated, will not count towards entry to the giveaway.

Surf Italiano

Chris Del Moro surfing in Italy

Chris Del Moro surfing in Italy. © Bella Vita Film

Two films about surfing in Italy have come across my inbox in the past week.

Peninsula

The first is Peninsula, a documentary about surf beginnings in Italy. On the occasion of the film’s debut in Milan this week, Corriere della Sera tells the story (in Italian) of Alessandro Dini and his friends who introduced surfing — both the sport and the lifestyle — to the Italian peninsula. The film will begin a world tour after its showing in Milan, so look for it at your local indie theater in the coming months.

PENINSULA | TRAILER from BLOCK10 on Vimeo.

Bella Vita

Bella Vita is about American surfer, artist, and environmentalist Chris del Moro who goes to Italy to reconnect with his ancestral homeland, his family, and tasty waves. This film came out in 2013 but it seems to be making the rounds now that it has received several film festival awards, such as the Official Selection for the San Sebastian Film Festival in 2013 and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2014.

BELLA VITA FILM from Bella Vita Film on Vimeo.

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