The most intense day of the trip. In a good way or a bad way? Yes.
We took an excursion to Isola dell’Asinara, the “Island of the White Donkeys”, which is a national park. Feral white and non-white donkeys live here in peace and harmony, along with horses, goats, and sheep. The island is only accessible by ferry; and ferry reservation is only accessible with payment; and payment can only be made via Italian post office bank card, or electronic wire transfer, so during planning phase back in Vermont I had to make a special trip to the bank to make this happen (and use Fedwire, and we all know how trustworthy THAT is).
Back to Asinara. Here you see our ferry approaching. Exciting! I was feeling good about the upcoming bike ride. We had survived the one back at Oristano/Sinis; and this time we’d be without a guide, so we could go or not go wherever we wanted, however we wanted.
We picked up our bike rentals and off we went! Zoom! Up an unshaded concrete path. Which went on and on. Relentless sun beating down. No shade. HILLS out the wazoo. We kept going, kept hoping for a change of scenery, kept hoping that the highest peak was behind us. I felt like I was in the middle of the Sonora desert. It was just blazing. There was no escape. I kept forcing myself up those hills. I drank water like crazy.
We got to a point where the land narrowed a bit, which was something like a landmark, and located our approximate position on the park map (more about that map later). I had been considering turning around, because things were just getting ridiculous, but we saw that we were closer to the beach and restaurant than we were to our starting point. And we could also see with our own eyes where the beach lay below us, so it was going to be downhill. So we made it to the restaurant. I had fregola again.
And we managed to get back, because here we are.
And then, I think it was back at our apartment later that same day, we saw, on the park map that we had been handed when we got our bike rentals, literally down at the bottom in fine print, in English:
“Useful information: Given the strong sunshine and high temperatures that characterize the climate of the island, the reduced availability of water and the lack of shade, hiking and cycling are strongly discouraged in the summer months.”
This they give me AFTER renting me a goddamn bike.
I thought all along and afterwards what a good sport Xopher was being about the various fails on the trip, this in my opinion being one of the larger ones. Then just the other day, I asked if he had any superlative memories of vacation, any particular favorite, food, experience, etc. And he said, “Asinara.” Because it was intense, and we did it.