Having spent five months of my Year Abroad in the beautiful Valencia, I was somewhat anxious as to what my experience would be when I moved to Sardinia.
Sardinia is undoubtably beautiful but in comparison to Valencia it is a lot smaller, making it quite a quaint city.
The first week of me being here was full of awkward unrest. I so desperately wanted something to do, but nothing started until the following week.
Many days were spent wandering around aimlessly or looking in a few shops (okay, maybe a lot of shops) I was undoubtably bored.
I couldn’t remember having felt so useless during my whole stay in Valencia, I had always felt comfortable and at home in the busier city. Maybe I was doing it intentionally? I had had such a good time in Valencia, maybe I didn’t like the possibility that I could have an even better time in Cagliari?
Eventually Monday came around and with it the first ‘activity’ of ESN. And I have to admit I was excited, because it meant that finally I would be doing something.
Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a non-profit international student organisation. Our mission is to represent international students, thus provide opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development under the principle of Students Helping Students.
The first activity was just a general meeting conducted by members of the University here and some of the members of ESN. Afterwards there was something like a mixer for the incoming students, a way for people to get to know each other which proved to be very effective.
The rest of this week will be spent partaking in activities that will be organised by ESN with the aim to connect people and so that they have an enjoyable time during their stay in Cagliari.
Finally, after over a week, I feel like I am starting to settle in. Slowly but surely Sardinia will become a place that I will consider home.
Another weekend gone which means another trip organised by the ESN. This time it took us about two hours away from the city of Cagliari to an archeological site called Tharros.
The city of Tharros was probably founded by the Phoenicians at the end of the 8th century or possibly in the early 7th century BC in an area already populated during the Nuragic period… During the second half of the 6th century BC, Tharros was conquered by the Carthaginians, who constructed several new buildings, including the monumental temple and the city’s defensive wall… The time between the Roman conquest of Sardinia (238 BC) and the end of the Roman Imperial age (5th century AD) was the period of greatest transformation for Tharros.
For more info please visit the official website: http://www.tharros.sardegna.it/en/
When we arrived at the site, we were split into two groups (those that wanted to listen to the tour in English and the others in Italian). I was in the first group which consisted of the americans, the germans, the polish and of course myself.
Our tour guide was very informative. He knew a lot about the old city and its inhabitants and he wanted to share all of this with us, however not everyone was as receptive to his information as the rest of us.
The one thing that can be said about the site is it’s incredible beauty and tranquility.
After we explored the now ruined city we went to have lunch on the local beach before we moved on to another beach not too far away.
The second beach of the day was something very special. I have never seen anything like it before. This beach was called Is Arutas and it is said to be one of the best beaches in Oristano (a region in Sardinia).
The sea was clear and a bright blue, but it wasn’t this that makes the beach so special. No, it’s the sand itself that stands it apart from all other beaches. The beach is known as the rice beach as it is made up of small grains of quartz, which range from pink colours to green and even white.
Walking barefoot across this beach is like exfoliating. It leaves your feet so smooth.
A few days ago (Tuesday 28th February) I went to this festival with the two American girls that I have become friends with.
The festival was called ‘Sa Sartiglia‘ and it takes place in Oristano from the 26th of February to the 28th of February.
Oristano is located in the central-western part of Sardinia and it takes roughly around an hour to get there by train.
The Sartiglia takes place on the last Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival and it’s origins go back to the medieval ages and the crusades around Europe, this is apparent in the style of costumes that are worn by the people that are officially taking part in this event.
On the morning of the tournament there is a parade that goes from the president’s house to the hall where a ‘Dressing Ceremony’ takes place. The ceremony is officially opened by trumpeters and drummers. The person that is being dressed in this ceremony becomes genderless after the end of the dressing ceremony.
After the dressing ceremony has finished, the Componidori which is what the person has become, gives his blessings and greetings to the crowds that have gathered to watch this event before another parade takes place and then comes the star joust.
The aim of the star joust is to pierce the whole that is made in this (rather) small star that is suspended in mid air with their swords. Only the riders that are honoured with a sword by the head of the joust can compete in this competition. Anyone that manages to achieve this are rewarded with a smaller version of the star as a memorabilia. The joust is closed by the Componidori riding back out, laying down on his horse.
The next section of the festival I did not manage to see, however it is worth mentioning. The next part involves acrobatics on top of horses. It is said to be very spectacular.
For anyone that happens to be in Sardinia during these days in Feburary, I would definitely advise taking a trip to Oristano to have a truly unique experience and a great day out!