Back to the islands: Snow day in Provincia di Nuoro

 My fascination for sweets led us to Aritzo. This village, Tonara, and Desulo are three of the most famous places in Sardinia where traditional torrone is made.

Undeniably, it would be our first overnight on the island (after our stops in Provincia di Oristano). Little did we know that we’d arrive in the middle of St Anthony celebrations. Fires were lit around Aritzo! Marcel and I were looking at each other and couldn’t understand.

It was very cold, with a lot of ice, and we nearly hit our rental car because we needed to go down a steep slope to get to our accommodation. In the end, our host helped move our car using salt and his wife helped us find a parking place on an upper street. We were welcomed by the people as old friends; it was my favourite moment of the trip, especially when we danced together.

People walked with us, bought us beer, and gave us sweets and traditional spirits; the energy of the festivities was extraordinary!

Aritzo dressed in white, Sardinia

Our day started with the thought that we didn’t have sufficient thick clothes. J Not too many places seemed open (the torrone production was starting in May), but our hosts sent us to a place in Tonara where we were supposed to find the sweet thing year-round.

We didn’t.

The snow that we’d seen around Aritzo had (literally) taken new heights. Tonara was a genuine winter wonderland. People were cleaning the streets while we could barely function with our summer tyres. (Locals were very kind to point out the streets we’d be able to drive.) A young man instructed us to try Torronificio Marotto (just ring and wait for the lady to come down and serve us), which we did. Great torrone, by the way! ’A lot of work’ like the one making it told us.  

Tonara, Sardinia

There are times when I feel grateful to speak so many languages! I told Marcel that I’d like to speak even more because the experience is different when we communicate with the locals. Winter seemed like a great time to do that: not too many visitors, thus, undivided attention.

As we drove on, we realised that we would be lucky to make it safely down the mountain (there was so much snow!). Soon, we’d see a car caught in the snow. We naturally stopped and tried to push it for some minutes. And then, their saviour arrived: a 4x4 with a winch.

The traffic was crazy. It seemed like everybody around Nuoro had taken their warmest clothes and gone out to play in the snow. There was a lot of joy in the air.       

Only when we reached Baunei, it felt again like spring. The sun was so inviting that we decided to go ahead with our plan and trek (as much as we could because the sunset was near) to Cala Goloritzé.

Start of the route to Cala Goloritzé, Sardinia

On the way to the starting point, we saw many hunters and their dogs. We then got lost. The trick is to follow the road up, not necessarily take the arrow on the sign at face value. We managed to trek about a third during 1h5’; it seemed easy until the start of the descent to the sea. You need some sturdy shoes from here on. We will surely return someday, take our time, and swim at our destination.

1/3 of the route to Cala Goloritzé, Sardinia

As we started driving towards Olbia through the mountains, snowflakes returned in the evening air. The only soothing thought taking us back to the summery feeling by the sea was the sun setting in Baunei.

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