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Published: August 3rd 2019
Today we decide to visit the small town of Bosa which is about 30 kms south of Alghero. The views from the road along the rocky mountainous coastline are spectacular. There’s very little in way of habitation along the route; no villages, just steep shrub covered mountains, with few if any trees.
I read up a bit about the history of Sardinia. It’s the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, and like most places in this region, everyone who's anyone from around the Mediterranean seems to have had a go at attacking and occupying it over the journey. The Sardinians seem to have been good at banding together to try to repel external invaders, but they then seem to have spent most of the intervening periods fighting each other. This doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, unless of course you just like fighting, in which case you probably wouldn’t really care who it was against. The Romans ruled here for nearly 700 years, and referred to the island’s mountainous interior as Barbaria (ie inhabited by Barbarians) as they didn’t have lot of success trying to disrupt the ancient Nuragic civilisations that still existed there. The island
was under Spanish rule for nearly 400 years until 1708, and as a result a Sardinian version of Catalan is still apparently spoken by a small minority of the residents of Alghero. It finally became part of Italy when Italian Unification was completed in 1871.
Bosa sits on the banks of the Temo River a kilometre or so upstream of its mouth. We’re told that the Temo is Sardinia’s only navigable waterway. As we approach Bosa we get great views of the brightly coloured houses for which it is apparently famous. The most colourful buildings seem to be some of the newer ones which sit higher on the hill, yet their architecture blends seamlessly with the older buildings closer to the river.
There’s only one single lane road bridge across the river, and traffic lights control the flow of traffic from each side. As I go to cross the road across the bridge I narrowly avoid getting mown down by an elderly lady driver. She must have fallen asleep at the lights, and when the car behind her honked its horn to wake her up she was so startled that she floored the accelerator and screeched around the
corner across the bridge just as I was strolling across the road. Being a pedestrian in Sardinia seems to be a hazardous occupation. We’ve noticed the locals seem to use one of two alternative approaches when navigating pedestrian crossings. The “Eye Contact Approach”, as the name suggests, involves making eye contact with the motorist who is about to mow you down. He will then know that you’ve seen him, assume that you’re not stupid enough to walk in front of him, and plough on through without slowing down. Under the alternative “Look Away Approach”, the idea seems to be to keep looking straight ahead without ever being tempted to glance sideways at any approaching cars, and stroll nonchalantly across the road without breaking stride. The theory here seems to be that the motorists will assume that you haven’t seen them and will therefore screech to a halt to avoid hitting you. This seems to be the more successful of the two approaches, if the measure of success is the percentage of times you get across the road without breaking stride, and without being mown down. The only problem is that the odds are that you will eventually get mown down,
and when you do you probably won’t then care too much about all your previous successful attempts. There is a third possible approach that doesn’t seem to be used too much by locals, and that is just to wait until there isn’t any traffic. We‘ve decided to adopt this approach. Issy calls it the “Give In Approach”.
We stroll through the very attractive narrow cobbled streets of the old part of Bosa then climb up through pedestrian alleyways to the 12th century Castle of Serravalle which sits on the hill above the town. Only the walls and the castle’s small chapel remain. The 14th century frescoes on the chapel walls are very impressive, and were apparently uncovered only relatively recently, almost by accident. The views from the castle walls over Bosa, the river and the surrounding countryside right through to the coast are excellent.
Back in Alghero I employ the “Give In Approach” to cross the road to the busy beach for a quick dip. It’s very pleasant in; the water’s not too cold, and the gently sloping bottom is all fine sand.
There’s a rock concert in progress on the beach directly opposite our room, and
our walls are vibrating, so we escape to the old town where we dine in the shadows of the remains of the near thousand year old town walls.
Now to the second instalment in the series on themes from the Starry Sky Charming House, and today’s theme is false and misleading advertising. When you Google “Starry Sky Charming House”, the first thing that hits you in the eye is the words “4-star hotel”. This seems a bit odd, as a lot of their abusive responses to guests who had the temerity to post critical reviews of them were quick to point out that they aren’t a hotel, they’re a guest house. They can’t have it both ways. The logo on all their publicity and on the signage out the front has five stars on it, and they’re exactly the same style of stars that real hotels use to declare their star ratings. I’m sure the Starry Sky owners would claim that they’re entitled to put stars on their logo, as the word “Starry” is in their name, but why five stars, and why exactly the same sorts of stars that real hotels use to advertise their star rating. I
know I’m not feeling all that well disposed to Starry Sky at the moment, but there seems little doubt in my mind that this is a very thinly veiled attempt to fool prospective guests into thinking that they’re a five star establishment.
If, as Mr Google seems to think, they really are a 4 star hotel, then from what little I’ve been able to find out about Italian hotel regulations, they would need to have met some minimum requirements. I could go into chapter and verse about how Starry Sky doesn’t meet most of these and I’d then feel much better, but this would be the final gong for anyone who’d managed to read this far without falling asleep, so I think that’s probably enough ranting for today.
Issy has now read yesterday’s blog post. She tells me that she can‘t believe that I used Starry Sky Charming House’s real name. She says she‘s now sure that we’re going to get evicted, and I suspect she’s imagining even worse things could happen given the owners have keys to our room. I’m not sure she’s realised yet that only two people on the planet subscribe to our blog, and
only a handful more ever read anything we post, so the odds of the Starry Sky people discovering it in the next five days while we’re still here wouldn’t seem to be all that high. She says I should change the post to use a false name for Starry Sky, and then change it back when we’re safely out of the country. Maybe she’s right. I think I can feel a sleepless night coming on, although I suspect this is going to be more due to the rock concert which is still vibrating our walls at 1am as I try in vain to slip into dreamland.
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