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The mining area in Iglesiente
The day finally arrived for the Abandoned Mines Stretch, an area which covers over 50 kilometres of ghost towns dating from Sardinia's long mining history; our group is more than proud to be able to incorporate this rather isolated, but at the same time outstanding area of the Island, in our agenda.
The moment we were outside of Arbus, you could actually feel the seriousness of our intentions as we rode onwards. We started off with a spectacular 7 kilometres decline down to Fluminimaggiore, on to the golden sandy beach of Portixeddu, before finally starting the way up above the sleepy little town of Buggerru.
Erica, the only smoker in the group, finally realised why she should have given up smoking: the slope we were all about to attempt was no easy game. Domenica on the other hand, as the rest of the group, plunged upwards and onwards, with no such thoughts in mind.
Finally at Cala Domestica, Martina was waiting for the troop with a fabulous surprise, the classical Sardinian picnic, Salsiccia, Pecorino and Carasau. (Pork Sausages, Sheep Cheese and Sardinian Bread), which was ravenously consumed by all, followed immediately by a god-given siesta on the beautiful white sandy beaches of Cala Domestica. Only Guido & Giovanna from Milan did not surrender to the charms of Cala Domestica, and both immediately headed off after lunch for the remaining part of the stage. Some time later, after our siesta on the beach at Cala Domestica, we joined them at the top of the hill, very happy and tired. The looming mass of the "Pan di Zucchero" cliff is the main feature of this part of the coast, and at the same time, wherever you decide to look, your eyes come across the ancient remains of old wells, tunnels, disused roads and tracks. We all marvelled over the amount of time, workforce and manpower it must have taken to construct it all. Luckily, we were not one of those workers, but some of the first tourists to visit Porto Flavia, with its ancient tunnels, which were used for the transportation of the minerals extracted from the mountains.
We reached Nebida, a superb look-out point which provided us with yet again another unforgettable vision of the "Pan di Zuccchero" and the Lamarmora washery. We then almost threw ourselves down the mountain slopes on our bikes, heading towards our final destination for the day, Fontanamare, a three kilometre long stretch of white sand.
At Fontanamare we all piled into the bus and headed straight for Calasetta, where our hotel rooms with all the necessary comforts were a more than welcoming sight.
Souvenir of Porto Flavia
Picnic at Cala Domestica