The chasm of Tiscali

Through a 70 meter long tunnel we reach a large spacious room, about a hundred meters above our heads there is a small opening where some daylight comes in. As the sun moves

Tiscali is not just a settlement

Tiscali is not just a name of the Nuragic Village as you might think, Monte Tiscali actually is the name of the mountain where the village is situated. In the same mountain there is also a chasm, in italian “Il Voragine di Tiscali”.

Ofcourse the loyal Land Rover Defender brings us close to the Canyon where the entrance is situated, and after about 30 minutes walking through a shady forest we reach the entrance.

In the right time of year, between may and september a ray of sunlight comes in through the ceiling and illumintes the wall in front of us.

This spectacular event lasts just over an hour, and as the sun moves, the beam moves over a natural bridge and eventually before the beam moves out of the cave it illuminates the stalagmites and stalagtites on the wall.

[mk_blockquote font_family=”none”]Through a 70 meter long tunnel we reach a large spacious room under Monte Tiscali, about a hundred meters above our heads there is a small opening where some daylight comes in.[/mk_blockquote][mk_blockquote style=”line-style” font_family=”none”]

About this experience:

The walk to the entrance of the cave is an easy walk and also the visit to the cave itself is all easy going. A perfect and exciting experience for the whole family. Inside the cave it’s nice and cool, and once outside there is an excellent place in the shade to enjoy lunch.[/mk_blockquote]

[mk_gallery images=”885,887,886,884,883″ image_size=”full”]

The Gorropu Canyon and Sa Giuntura

Gorropu Canyon’s even more beautiful back side 🙂
Most people only visit the low part of the Gorropu Canyon. On this hiking excursion we went to the high part and most interesting part

Today we visited Gorropu Canyon’s even more beautiful back side 🙂

Most people only visit the low part of the Gorropu Canyon. On this hiking excursion we went to the high part and most interesting part of the Gorropu. You hardly meet any people here, in the most desolate part of the Supramonte, the Supramonte of Urzulei.

[mk_gallery title=”Sa Juntura, the junction of 2 rivers” images=”440,432,431,441,434,438,442″]
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In short

  • Scenic drive with the Land Rover Defender over a high plain
  • Visit a traditional shepherds hut
  • Visit an enormous monumental Yew tree
  • Visit a Giant’s Grave from the Bronze Age
  • Walk down to Sa Juntura and the water basins behind the Gorropu Canyon

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The drive to the start of our walk over good dirt roads takes us over a high plain and thick forests of holm oak. Only a handful of shepherds use this road everyday to get to their free roaming animals.

We start walking at a unique Yew tree that must be easily a thousand years old. From high above we have a great view over the canyons of the Flumineddu river and the forests on the other side. The Flumineddu is the river that formed the Gorropu Canyon and continues to shape it during the periods of heavy rain.

A very panoramic walk over the Donkey’s Back take us down through an amazing landscape of Canyons and possibly waterfalls after the rain. After an hour we end up at Sa Juntura, where the Orbisi river meets the Flumineddu, and further down still to the pools of water that are formed at the high entrance of the Gorropu canyon.

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Details

Duration: 09.00 – 17.00

Walking time:  4 hours

Altitude difference: 300 meters

Equipment: sufficient water, fairly good condition, good shoes and lunch

Starting point: Dorgali, Cala Gonone, Orosei or Su Gologone – Oliena[/mk_blockquote]

Orosei and Irgoli Bronze age monuments in Baronia

Bronze Age temple and sacred springs.
In Orosei and Irgoli they said that there are some hidden treasures of the Bronze Age, eventually we found them! Especially Nuraghe Linnarta is well hidden,

Bronze Age temple and sacred springs.

In Orosei and Irgoli they said that there are some hidden treasures of the Bronze Age, eventually we found them! Especially Nuraghe Linnarta is well hidden, but well worth it if you’re into going for a stroll through the fields.

The two monuments are connected by small scenic roads, which make this an excellent occasion to go for an interesting short drive and discover some interesting stuff. The first sacred sprinng is situated behind the small industrial area of Orosei, and belongs to the Bronze Age settlement of Nuraghe Linnarta (Linnarta literally means high trees) you get there from the road SS125, and you have to go through a farm, the gate is always open.

[mk_gallery title=”Stone henge? No! Nuragic” images=”417,416,415,414,412″]

Jana e Prunas

at the top of Monte Senes in Irgoli, is managed by the municipality of Irgoli and is easily accessible, you follow the brown signs out of town and you’ll get there eventually. There are two interesting monuments, the first is a very interesting Nuragic Megaron temple, which is located at an altitude of 800 meters from where you have a beautiful view around. A short walk brings you to the sacred spring. The picture above is of a so-called Domus de Janas, from the late Stone Age, 3000 BC, and is not far away in the hills belonging to Onifai.

Map of Baronia

[mk_blockquote font_family=”none”]The internet site for Jana e Prunas

http://www.museoirgoli.it/

Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday  10:00 – 18:00 (Monday closed)

Telephone: 0784/979074 –3402958083[/mk_blockquote]

Su Sercone Supramonte

Hiking trails in the Supramonte
The project Su Sercone Supramonte is designed for the upgrade of the Supramonte area. The municipalities involved are Dorgali, Oliena, Orgosolo and Urzulei.

Hiking trails in the Supramonte

The project Su Sercone Supramonte is designed for the upgrade of the Supramonte area. The municipalities involved are Dorgali, Oliena, Orgosolo and Urzulei.
So far there are 10s of kilometers of paths cleaned and partly re-marked, in addition there are many old shepherds huts restored or even recreated from scratch. Trail maps are unfortunately not yet available.

After the official demise of the “Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu” end of 2005, from 2013 initiatifs are taking place to shape the newly created nature reserve. This nature reserve is part of the European Natura 2000 network and is both Site of Community Importance for the great biodiversity as a Special Protection Area for birds.

 

[mk_gallery images=”366,365,364,363″]

Easter celebrations in Oliena

“S’Incontru” or “the meeting”
Easter Sunday in Oliena is one of the highlights, “S’Incontru” or “the meeting” as it’s called in Sardinian. After the resurrection of Christ, he re-unites with Mary. Two parades with

Easter and the Holy Week (“La Settimana Santa”) that precedes it is pretty much the most important festival in Sardinia, even more important than Christmas.It goes to show that the locals call Christmas “Pasqua di Natale” or “Easter of Christmas”.

“S’Incontru” or “the meeting”

Easter Sunday in Oliena is one of the highlights, “S’Incontru” or “the meeting” as it’s called in Sardinian. After the resurrection of Christ, he re-unites with Mary. Two parades with the two statues leave after Mass from two different churches. For this special occasion the people who participate wear their colourful local costume.

[mk_gallery title=”Easter – S’Incontru Oliena” images=”351,352,353,354,355,356″]

S’Incontru takes place in the town square, the parades cover the last few meters on the herbs sprinkled over the street before they stop facing each other in the middle of the crowd. The bearers of the images kneel three times and the statues, still facing eachother move up and down three times. Then Mary turns around and both of them leave in the same direction to the church of Santu Lussurgiu, patron saint of Oliena.

All this is accompanied by the deafening noise of sixty-odd shotguns and pistols that are being emptied in the air for at least 20 minutes. The gunmen are standing on balconies and rooftops surrounding the square, and shoot in the air to scare away the evil spirits that might interfere with this important event. Afterwards the bystanders collect some of the herbs to make a small bouquet to bring home.

Orchids of the Supramonte

Sardinia has a lot of different types of orchids.
They’re such amazing pieces of art created by mother nature! I rememember an article in “National Geographic” some years ago (09.2009) called “Sneaky Sexy Orchids”

Sardinia has a lot of different types of orchids.

They’re such amazing pieces of art created by mother nature! I rememember an article in “National Geographic” some years ago (09.2009) called “Sneaky Sexy Orchids” by Michael Pollan.

One of the types of Ophrys he mentiones grows in the olive grove, just below the house, the Ophrys Ciliata, which according to Pollan is a type of mirror orchid, that imitates the reflection of the blue sky on the wings of the female wasp and like that attracts male wasps. All this to favour impollination. Amazing!

Flowering time is usual from the beginning of March until the end of May, different species flower in different periods and also altitude above sea level plays an important role.

[mk_gallery title=”Diffferent types of Ophrys” images=”341,340,338,337,336,335″]

Anyway that’s how it usually is. This year I have been waiting for them to pop up, and finally some have come out just now. Later than usual, and surely this is due to the lack of rain we’ve been having, or rather not having, it hadn’t rained for 10 weeks between mid Januari and the beginning of April.

So I just had to have a look at my photos from 2013 and 2014 instead of seeing the real thing. Here are some of the best shots.

The ones on the photos ar Ophrys Ciliata (wasp-like), Ophrys Apifera (bee-like), Ophrys Fusca (beetle-like) and the Ophrys Morisii (mirror ophrys) named after Giuseppe Moris, an italian doctor from Turin that categorized many plants in Sardinia in the 19th century.

“Strada chiusa” : Roads around Dorgali – Oliena – Urzulei – Supramonte closed for traffic.

It’s not the first time and it will certainly not be the last time that rain and stone avalanches cause problems with the roads around the Supramonte Mountains.
Not such a big problem if it would be well indicated, but

16.06.2018 the main road sp48 between Dorgali and Oliena is still closed.

Update!!

THE SS125 BETWEEN DORGALI AND URZULEI, THE CONNECTION BETWEEN BARONIA AND OGLIASTRA HAS BEEN OPENED AGAIN. ON 06/04/2017 AT 12.00 THE ROAD WAS OPENEND AFTER MORE THAN 5 MONTHS, AND TWO DAYS LATER IT SEEMS THAT IT REMAINS OPEN. At the moment just one lane is open, but in a few weeks the other lane should be open too.

Giro d’Italia 2017

On 06/05/2017 the Giro d’Italia passes over this road, the second leg from Olbia to Tortoli.

Giro d’Italia second leg

It’s not the first time and it will certainly not be the last time that rain and stone avalanches cause problems with the roads around the Supramonte Mountains.

Not such a big problem if it would be well indicated, but the signs are only in Italian, there is no diversion indicated and the signs are more often then not placed only shortly before the blocked road.

In addition, we as inhabitants of Sardinia are used to warning signs remaining longer than the actual problem. So you naturally develop an attitude like “oh well I’ll just try it and we’ll see.” This kind of attitude often works out positive, like making an informed guess, what helps is that much of the information on the road conditions arrives by word of mouth or WhatsApp messages going around.

However, this doesn’t hold true for the foreign traveller, they don’t receive information through the local grapevine. Even though you as a traveller might not be on a tight time schedule, I bet you like to know how to drive around these problems. Ok, let’s stop the philosophical story here.

The first blocked road is the SS125 at km 194, the road on the east coast connecting Dorgali with Urzulei, Baunei and Tortoli.

This one has been closed ever since 15.10.2016 at km 194. This is between Dorgali and Urzulei, due to an avalanche of stones. The falling stones have destroyed half a lane of the 2 lanes, and there’s still danger that more will come down. It seems that nobody dares to take the responsability to open-up the left over lane, and they still have to find money for repair and to bring down the dangerous rocks higher up. The signs in this case are put even 30 km before the interruption on the SS131 at the turn-off to Dorgali, unfortunately some people ignore these signs and get themselves into trouble.

[mk_gallery title=”Closed Roads ” images=”468,469,467,466,465″ style=”style3″]

So watch out!

Shortly after the tunnel to Cala Gonone you will find the yellow sign saying “STRADA CHIUSA” – ROAD CLOSED and it’s really closed, just turn back. A navigator can be very misleading; and convince you that you can drive around through the Oddoene valley folowing the “Gola di Gorropu” signs or through the tunnel to Cala Gonone and then over the mountains. Both options will not bring you back to the SS125 and you risk damaging your car seriously. Both in the valley and over the mountain there are a lot of very bad dirtroads that you should avoid. See Example 1 of what not to do with a rental car, fortunately for them I was able to pull them out of the ditch with only minor damages.

[mk_image heading_title=”Car in the ditch” src=”https://toursardinia.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/img_20161124_120044495-1.jpg” image_size=”full”]

How to drive around it.

You can detour over the SS131 around Nuoro and just after Nuoro take the SS389 towards Lanusei – Tortoli, and eventually to Baunei or Urzulei. From Dorgali you have to count two hours to get to Tortoli, while on the SS125 it takes only one hour. These driving times are intended for someone who knows the way, if you dont and like to enjoy the beautiful views, you should calculate an hour extra.

The second closed road is the SP46 between Dorgali and Oliena.

A bridge over the Cedrino river has been closed, the bridge of Oloè ia supposed to have a fracture, and also in this case it’s unknown when it will reopen for traffic, Olé!

In 2013, this bridge already collapsed partially due to the violence of the river. The water in that occasion not only went under the bridge, but also over. A police car fell through a hole in the road, invisible by the water and a policeman was killed. The bridge was then repaired, but apparently not sufficiently. Now it’s blocked by a barrier.

There are two possibilities to drive around.

Over the SS129 that runs between Orosei and Nuoro, or a little further over road SS131 from Olbia to Oristano – Cagliari. The SP46, the SS129 and SS131 all run parallel to eachother in north-south direction. If you’re driving from Dorgali to Oliena or Orgosolo, pass by the turn-off to the SP46, and take the next road left, the SS129. Further on turn left on the SS129 to Oliena where “Marreri” is indicated to the right.

Walking holiday in March

March is the perfect season
For those of you that like to enjoy a quiet walking holiday in the off-season March is just perfect. The last many years the weather in March has been excellent

March is the perfect season

For those of you that like to enjoy a quiet walking holiday in the off-season March is just perfect. The last many years the weather in March has been excellent for walking, there’s hardly anybody around, many herbs and shrubs are flowering and with a bit of luck you can even take a dip in the sea on one of the sunny days.

[mk_gallery title=”Walking in March” images=”265,264,263,262,261,260,259″]

These hikes were all in the Supramonte and Baronia areas. Cala Gonone on the coast of Dorgali is an excellent place to stay as there are some walks that you can start directly from the town itself and many other walks that you can reach within an hours drive.

Allthough in this time of year many hotels, restaurants and bars are still closed, there’s still a fair choice between Cala Gonone for places to stay and eat. Good to know that supermarkets are open even on a sunday morning.

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Tips

  • Stay in Cala Gonone or Orosei
  • Do some nice walks on the coast
  • Visit some Nuragic Sites
  • Take your bathing gear, good walking shoes, sunglasses

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Goloritze walk on your own

The walk to Cala Goloritze is easy to find.
The last couple of years Cala Goloritzè has been mentioned on Tripadvisor as one of the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia. Probably they’re right, but

The walk to Cala Goloritze is easy to find.

The last couple of years Cala Goloritzè has been mentioned on Tripadvisor as one of the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia. Probably they’re right, it surely is a gorgeous beach, with a white pebbly beach and cristal clear blue water.

In the summer it looses a bit of it’s charm because it literally gets covered with towels . Therefore I advise you to go outside of the summer months, or if you have to go in the summer go early.

However! Many people are uninformed

It’s quite funny to see people in thongs walking down, people with towels around their neck, thinking the beach is around the corner, I even once met a guy pushing a baby trolley over the rocks! A lot of people think they’re in for an easy stroll to the beach, but you could hardly be further from the truth.

[mk_blockquote font_family=”none”]The track is actually steep and lousy, lacking maintenance and frequently destroyed by the autumn rain showers.[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_gallery title=”Cala Goloritzè !!” images=”277,278,279,280,276,275″ disable_title=”true”]

What you need to know about the walk to Goloritzè.

Equipment

  • Wear good shoes, the track is all stones and rock.
  • Bring enough water and lunch, there’s no bar anywhere before you get back to the top. This means that on warm days you need to bring at least 2 liters per person.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.

Costs

The beach belongs to Baunei and once you get to the beach you’ll have to pay one euro to get on. Besides that also parking your car at the guarded parking of Su Porteddu costs around €5,00 for the whole day.

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The track to Goloritzè in numbers

You need about 1,5 hours to get down and 2 hours to get back up. The altitude difference between the starting point at Su Porteddu and the beach is around 450 m. One way is just under 4 km.

About 60% of the track is in the shade, but because you’re in a valley there’s not much wind so it will be nice and warm!

The sun disappears relatively early, around 15.00 in the late summer due to the steep rock-wall behind it.[/mk_blockquote]

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Su Gologone springs and the Cedrino river

The Su Gologone spring’s highs and lows
The Su Gologone spring is a place where we often stop with groups and also privately, it’s an excellent quick stop to score some valuable points, and besides that

The Su Gologone spring’s highs and lows

The Su Gologone spring is a place where we often stop with groups and also privately, it’s an excellent quick stop to score some valuable points, and besides that a good spot for a coffee and a toilet break when you’re on the road.

Sometimes they organise events, life music, open air yoga sessions etc.

However when it rains heavily hell breaks loose!

What happens is that the river brings down water to the lake, the spring and the Sa Oche cave too, and the level of the lake can even rise a few dozen meters further down stream. In that case the whole area around the spring floods, and can rise by even more than 10 meters.

[mk_blockquote style=”line-style” font_family=”none”]Fortunately the water doesn’t come down with a lot of violence, but still, it’s strong enough to lift up and move the terrace covering of the kiosk for example as happened in 2013 and leaves a big mess in general. After the dam is opened up the water level slowly comes down again and mud and branches are left everywhere and the guys running the bar and guide service have to clean for days and put a lot of effort into getting ready again for the season.[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_gallery title=”The Cedrinio river and Su Gologone springs” images=”176,179,178,177,175,174,173,172″ style=”style1″]

Here is how it all works:

Su Gologone is a very impressive fresh water spring, where hundreds of liters of water per second come to the surface. The proven depth is 135 meters, which makes it one of the deepest pot holes filled with water in Europe. Basically the spring is the exit of a karst system, more than 3o km long and with a capacity that’s bigger than the lake it borders on. Exit, because the surrounding mountains where it gets it’s water from, and the cave system underneath them are all higher than the spring, which lies at only just over 100 meters above sea level.

[mk_blockquote style=”line-style” font_family=”none”]- karst actually means limestone, the Karst mountains are situated on the border between Slovenia and Italy, they are composed of limestone, and this was the first area where research was carried out on limestone erosion and the topography caused by it. Hence karst became synonimous for limestone and therefore it’s also used here in the Supramonte mountains.

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Parts of this intricate karst – cave – system hav been explored, by the various local caving clubs, however big parts of these caves are at least partially filled with water, and that’s where the cave divers come into play. Different hazardous expeditions have been carried out throughout the years, and the italian cave diver Alberto Cavedon ( is his name a coincidence or what?) reached the incredible depth of 135 m in 2010.

What comes after these 135 meters of depth is still a mistery, but due to tests with coloured water it is known that the springs are connected with several other caves in the Supramonte area which are up to even 20 km away in a straight line.

Therefore it is known that the surface area from which it gathers its water is around the 180 square kilometers big. So when it starts raining heavily hell breaks loose! From the surface the rain water sipples and runs down into the underground cave systems which are literally more than 30 km long and a lot of this water than ends up running out of the spring of Su Gologone. Not all of it though, some fills up the underground lakes so that also when it’s not raining the spring is active, and then a big part of the excess water runs out of the Sa Oche cave in the Lanaitto valley, about 5 km away.

Both the excess water from the spring and from the Sa Oche cave bring their water to the artificial Cedrino lake, that extends for some 7 km. The Cedrino lake springs in the Supramonte of Orgosolo at around 1200 m. a.s.l., and also big a big part of the rain water fills the river before it reaches the spring.

All in all this can cause the Cedrino lake to fill up even overnight! So in the time of year when the heavy rains can be expected the water company Abbanoa (litt. new water) has to make sure that the lake is empty. If not they have to open the dam, which causes problems in the towns further downstream. The risk in Galtelli and Orosei is that they get their feet wet and their basements full of water! And of course this has happened a few times in the last 15 years.

Which is one of the reasons that the dam in the Cedrino river was built (in the seventies) in the first place, so not just as a water reservoir, but also as a protection against flooding.