Casey's Travels Part 2 - SardiniaPosted by Whole Earth | 06.28.2018
Casey is a Whole Earthling from Central Texas who has worked at Whole Earth for six years. She’s currently on a six month European adventure participating in a program called Workaway. She volunteers for two weeks, working with local families, and then travels and explores the area for two more weeks, giving her an in-depth experience of the place, not just as a tourist, but from a local’s point of view. In Part 2, Casey explores Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean located to the west of the Italian peninsula and south of Corsica.
Part 2 - Sardinia
It’s a bit difficult for me to recap my visit to Sardinia from a tourist perspective, as my time was spent mainly engulfed in the Workaway volunteer aspect of my travels. My intent was to arrive in Martis, a small village of around 450 people in the northwest region of Sardinia, stay for two weeks, and then take off to explore this Italian island.
Well… the 14 days I had originally planned, happily turned in to 26 days of working with my host, Giovanni, my French travel companion, and other volunteers from Italy and Australia. The work wasn’t always easy, but it was purposeful and rewarding. Giovanni is renovating an old stone house passed down to him through the generations. He’s cultivating an organic garden so his food is fresh and sustainable. He’s also adopted and brought old, abandoned olive orchards back to life for the production of his organic olive oil, as well as assisting at local vineyards in a work-trade agreement so he has access to grapes for making wine.
There was always plenty of work to be done, and some of my Whole Earth gear was quite handy! The Patagonia Anchor Bay Sun Shirt successfully kept the UV rays off my shoulders during long days in the field. I was very impressed with the durability of my Prana Halle Roll-up pants.
From adding plaster to old stone walls, pruning grape vines, hand cutting grass around olive trees and maintaining the vegetable garden, I have gained a new appreciation for the folks of the world who make life changing decisions to live a sustainable and eco-friendly existence. Giovanni and others who have moved to Martis for those reasons are examples of living the change you want to see in the world. Their goal is to reinvigorate and repopulate this old community with new life, new jobs, and new ideas, while respecting the natural world that surrounds this place.
I can’t speak highly enough of the Martis’ locals who have called this beautiful town home for many years. All the volunteers that work with Giovanni are welcomed with big smiles and friendly calls of “Ciao!” I truly felt like a part of this happy community!
There’s a project underway to bring tourists from the coastal regions of Sardinia to the rolling hills of Martis. I was lucky enough to attend one of the first wine tours at Binzamanna Vineyards, an incredible wine producer in Martis. Delicious food, a walk through the vineyard, a tour of their bottling facility, information about the family’s history and, of course, remarkable wine made this tour a delightful experience.
I also attended a 10 mile informational trek through Martis and the surrounding countryside to learn about Sardinia’s native, medicinal and edible plant life. It was such a valuable way to experience firsthand the relationships between plants, people and place!
Luckily, the island is small and, because I came by car, I was able to get in a bit of adventure on my days off. Three of the places that most amazed me were:
Bosa – A beautiful town on the west coast with the Temo River snaking through the center. Temo translates to ‘I fear,’ and it’s the only navigable river in the region. Visit the old town area for fantastic, tiny streets that weave through brightly colored homes and businesses.
Is Arutas - Sardinia has many beautiful beaches, but the most unique has to be the Is Arutas. Located on the Gulf of Oristano, you can gaze over the turquoise colored sea with your toes in ultra thin quartz sand, similar to grains of rice. Tiny quartz pebbles of white, green and pink are soft to the touch and make a perfect campsite.
Capo Testa - On the northern most tip of Sardinia, you’ll find a magical granite coastline with inspiring rock formations, gorgeous swimming coves, and cave dwelling hippies. One of the hidden coves, Valle Della Luna or Valley of the Moon, got its name from the unusual white color of its rocks seen in the moonlight.