Sardinia Day 3: Local Hospitality in Villacidro

On day 3 Paolo and Fede had a real adventure planned for us, and I mean Bear Grylls real. We drove what seemed like much too far up the mountain roads until finally, finally Federico heeded our advice and parked the car. I’m actually secretly thankful that he drove us so far along because it turns out the walk was pretty long anyway!

The hike was like any and probably a bit more tame than most are used to but I won’t lie there were moments that I was walking along a slick rock ledge, looking down at a shallow rocky stream bed that I was a little bit scared for my life. The end result was a view of some beautiful water falls and yet another reminder of how much I love everything about a clear, flowing stream in the middle of nature. Other than a couple of wobbly stream rock crossings that warranted the support of Fede and Paolo and a couple of brutal scratches from the thorns (as if it wasn’t hard enough!), I fared pretty well. In the end it was Lorenzo that fell into the stream, it happened too fast for any of us to catch him so when he jumped out of the water, one side of his jeans and sweatshirt completely soaked, we all just laughed at with him instead.

For the evening Paolo offered us his home for dinner. We were very thankful in the end since it turns out all the supermarkets and everything around us was closed by the afternoon.

I have to once again sing the praises of the hospitality of the Italian people. This is Paolo and his family’s home, where they live and pass every day and every dinner and they invited us in with no hesitation to join them on a Sunday evening. Not only that but cooked up some fabulous dishes, mostly specialties of Sardinia and were beyond excited the entire dinner for us to taste everything.

The second thing that I have eluded to in a previous post and loved about Sardinia is that no one thinks anything special of me. They speak to me anyway, they give me things, they look at me when they talk. It doesn’t really matter if I’m Italian and if I don’t say anything then that’s okay, they move on to the next person. I found myself understanding them better without the pressure of needing to understand them perfectly.

It turns out that Lorenzo wasn’t so lucky as me to avoid eating something that caused him to be very sick all night. I assumed it was food poisoning and as I woke up to let Paolo know that we’d be staying in Villcidro for the day, he beat me to it informing me that he seemed to have caught something and wouldn’t be going to work today. I’m pretty certain it was the anchovies on the one slice of pizza that I avoided. I had a bad anchovy experience last year. Never again.

That said, the Italians have yet again proven their hospitality! Trying to be strong and independent and do what needed to be done I was trying to explain my situation in slow and clear Italian to the women at the B&B in Cagliari, where we should have been heading. No, non ho capito niente, no. She attempted to explain something to me (I’m assuming that we would be charged anyway for the room) in both Italian and English and when I said I didn’t understand, answered with Ok, thanks. Bye bye. Urgh.

A little shaken up I was nervous to ask the receptionist at our Villacidro hostel if we could stay an extra day since I’m almost sure she doesn’t speak any English. She patiently listened to what I was trying to say in Italian, deciphered it and responded with a chorus of Certos and asking if there was anything she could do, or if we needed anything. She gave us clean towels and toilet paper and said to come down to reception if we needed anything at all.

Although I should be well-accustomed to traveling in Italy and speaking in Italian I would venture to say that I’m not at all comfortable. I’m often scared to do almost anything for myself because I still haven’t completely gotten over my ability to let people make me feel stupid for pretty much anything. It’s refreshing to be traveling in a place and be made comfortable, especially when it seems that nothing is going right.

Have you had any similar experience with foreign hospitality? What happened?