Travels with Penelope

Travel, Food, Wine, Spirituality and Everything Else

July 11, 2014 Ethereal Roots near Alghero, Sardegna

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To the It who set my life in motion, to the That who continues to spur the dynamic behind it, I tell you, this nomadic journey around the planet is a great ride. I am grateful.

To sky-gaze from the top of Machu Picchu while a playful llama tries to take advantage of my cheek, to drum solo in the center of the King’s chamber of the great pyramid surrounded by the whispers of a thousand pharaohs singing incantations into a single sarcophagus, to sit under the Bodhi tree with a multitude of orange and maroon robed monks chanting the sacred mantra of the Mother of All Buddhas, “om tare tutare ture soha”, to chant in Sanskrit at an ashram in India with 10,000 devotees—such has been my karmic fate.

For a while I traveled mainly to what are known as “sacred sites.” Some were natural such as the Ganges in India, and the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona; others were man-made as the stone circles in Ireland, the temples of the Yucatan and the cathedrals of Europe built in honor of a spiritual tradition. I believed that like the vortexes in Sedona they held special energies capable of evoking playful, but serious flip-flops with one’s destiny. Not to deny this, but eventually I came to realize what I heard Atarangi, the Maori healer put so simply. “All sites are sacred.”

As a rule attachments to places far and wide do not get in my way, but on a rare occasion when I feel roots trying to germinate from the soles of my feet seeking to anchor my soul in a specific patch of land I know I have arrived at a spot where I could remain forever.

That is what happened two weeks back when we arrived at the wine resort on the Estate Leda d’Ittiri a few miles above the Catalonian city of Alghero near Fertilia. We left Cabras early in the day in order to get to the resort before dinner, taking the country road that led along the coast. Could not get enough of those turquoise waters!

 

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About half way along we stopped in the city of Bosa known for its colorful houses and canals and after a great veggie pannino continued on to the Wine Resort.

 

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 Set in a green countryside the resort lies near a rugged part of the west coast bordering the Porto Conte National Park and not far from the Riviera del Corallo. After a three-hour drive from Cabras on two lane roads light with traffic we rolled into an estate of hilly vineyards and several hectares of olive orchards. Just beyond, I could see a wavy line of low-lying mountains shielding us from the sea.    

 

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Driving up the narrow gravelly road through the large iron-gate my soul soared. I felt the ethereal roots beginning to sprout. The grounds and the estate we were approaching all felt so familiar. Momentarily, I remembered a recent dream in which I had visited the estate of a nobleman.

As we got out of the car and walked toward the entrance to the main house a few people were happily lollygagging in the swimming pool to the far side of the front lawn. Near the front door I noticed a chalkboard inscribed with a dinner menu. As we entered the high ceilinged room furnished in Spanish antiques, a woman working at a dark wooden desk in the corner looked up. Smiling, she beckoned us over and warmly welcomed us as though we were family coming home to visit.

While Annamaria is the one who greets guests both she and her mother Antonella are the heart of the resort. When I found out that Antonella is the descendant of a Sardinian noble I understood my feelings as we drove up the driveway. Rather than a resort, I felt we had arrived at the private estate of some rather special people.

A picture of Annamaria and her mother found among the literature at the estate

 

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Once we settled into the haven of quiet I did not want to leave. Fortunately, as luck would have it, that would not be necessary. Annamaria informed us that the menu I had noted near the front door would be provided as a dinner for the guests that evening.   Those who chose to dine in joined together on the patio as we had been told, at 8:00 sharp. A couple from England and another from Bologna were to be our dining partners. Like an evening back home with close friends we were blessed with laughter and great conversation. As is the pattern on Sardegna, the dinner hour runs quite late, but by now I had adjusted. With only six guest rooms, dinners at the resort are rather intimate.

 

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A simple meal: the ubiquitous pecorino and salumni, aubergine and tomatoes, a local flan.

 

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Accompanied by Leda d’Ittiri wines

 

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The following morning Annamarie gave us the full wine tasting of the Leda d’Ittiri wines produced by the estate. From grapes grown on the estate the wine production is done in the slow, traditional, by hand method. With such intensive work needed, the size of the production is limited. Wines are mainly served to guests and on occasion in the local vicinity. Sorry they are not available in the US.

On the 6.5 hectars, vermentino, cagnulari, locals varietals and some French merlot, cabernet franc and sangiovese are produced. We tasted all of them!

 

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 In the four days that followed, roots holding steady we rarely left the resort. One evening when dinner was not offered we drove in to old town Alghero to sample the traditional local food of a renowned chef Benito Carbonella at Al Tuguri restaurant. More on that later.   On a second outing we drove along the edge of the nature reserve to Capo Caccia a cape that juts out into the Mediterranean. When we reached the end of the road we could see the dramatic cliffs that make sheer drop into the azure waters. At the foot of the cliffs a famous stalactite cave known as Neptune’s Grotto was waiting–at the end of 654 stairs. We were about to head down but with the sun setting we changed our minds.  

 

I wanted to stay on at the resort where I could walk through the vineyards and olive orchards in the morning, write on the terrace overlooking the vineyards during the day, swim in the pool with singing frogs at night, but there was a plan set in place and it called. On the fourth day I pulled up my ethereal roots and we drove out. If it is my fate to return to Sardegna, I will head straight for the Wine Resort.    

 

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3 Comments

  1. The photo of Annamarie and her mother are ethereal and really not a photo at all but pulled from somewhere else. Indeed a magical trip unburdened by time or a schedule. Well done.

  2. Maureen Jenkins

    July 13, 2014 at 12:24 am

    I can see why this place called to your soul to set down roots! What an impressive spot to be able to spend several days and feel your soul! I can almost imagine being right there, taking it all in!

  3. Divine! What extrodinary moments and the feelings ancient to the marrow of your bones also touch mine. I have missed you my dear friend and deeply grateful for shared events that find my soul also. Blessings and light to dance in, Hugs, Sharon

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