Leaving Cagliari was during the height of rush hour in a big city. A stalled delivery truck in one of the two lanes leaving town did not help matters and the traffic only seemed to get worse one the local police showed up to “assist”. Once out of the maddening traffic, we passed the ruins of the Castle of Aquafredda. The castle owes its name to the springs of water that gush from the gorges in the hill. In order to get to the castle, you have to hike up to the top of a rather large hill. I don’t hike large hills in riding gear so I didn’t visit the castle.
The route today was a mixture of a single lane waterway bridge into a fishing village, flat uninteresting roads through an agricultural area and some rather nice twisty roads along the coast and through the mountains. Sardinia has an impressive collection of mines, some in minimal operation and some fully defunct. When Sardinia mines scaled back after World War II, many residents left the area and with the complete closure of many other mines in the 1980s and ‘90s, more still have moved on to find employment opportunities elsewhere.
The town of Arborea, in the agricultural area we passed through, was first built in 1928 and called Villaggio Mussolini. It was renamed Mussolina in 1930 and took its present name in 1944 after the fall of fascism.
Our final destination for the evening was the town of Bosa, located on a river inlet to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Bosa is a unique and unspoiled town on the northwestern coast of Sardinia, about 40 km south of Alghero. Bosa has retained its ancient charm and Sardinian identity and has not suffered the over-development of many of the island’s beach destinations. It has a relaxed Mediterranean buzz and is a perfect place to go to escape from the stresses of modern life. Guidebooks call it “an undiscovered gem”. The historic centre of the town, the Sa Costa district, is an intriguing maze of medieval streets, stone staircases and terraces of tall houses painted in bright or pastel colours, nestled under the hilltop Malaspina castle. Along the river Temo are the now shuttered tanneries from the days when Bosa exported fine leather all over Europe. Approaching the town from the south, you get a magnificent vista of the castle and town below.