I’ve tried to photograph the bales of hay in the Sardinian fields for so many years now. Every time I saw them from the car, I promised myself I would stop one day to take four …or five hundred shots. We are driving home from Olbia after spending a day jumping from one place to the other on the way back. I must say our cruising speed must have been over the legal limits since once we passed Nuoro we soon find ourselves on the road that from Guasila goes to Ortacesus. Maybe it’s also because I slept the entire time and let Enrico do the driving, but time really went by fast.
“Damn!!! The bales of hay!!!!” We just passed them on the left side of the road. “You have to go back!! I will be going back to the States tomorrow and the end I haven’t photographed them this year either”. So I find myself in the middle of a field, shooting from every angle, four, five, ten times. Enrico stood by the car waiting for me. When I am near him again, I hear him talking to somebody, not sure though who is speaking to since there is nobody close to him nor he has his phone in his hands.
Is it possible he spend too much time in the sun???
“Who are you talking to?” I ask him uncertain.
“The gentlemen across the street. He asked me to stop by before we leave”
Matter of fact there are three men in a farm at the other side of the roadway. I don’t want to seem rude and I’m also quite curious to find out what they need from us, so even if I’m little hesitant, we decide to talk to them.
“It will be five euros”
“The bales of hay. It will be five euros for each bale you shot”
“Balla!!! (now, balla here has different meanings! It’s either a bale, or “dance” but in Sardinian also mean something like WOW or GOSH). Don’t you think they are little too expensive?”
We introduced ourselves and one of the gentlemen tells me he wants to show me something.
“The pig had run away so I tied him up. You’ll see he won’t escape any longer,” he tells me with a very strong accent from the mountain area in Sardinia (Nuoro that is).
“Pictures!!” I think why I follow him in front of a fireplace where the suckling pig is going round and round on a skewer. For sure he’s not going anywhere anymore! I burst into laughter so the man decides to show me even more around his farm. The sheep inside a paddock look at me in a very puzzled way, or at least this is what I think, while they are patiently waiting to be milked.
“Come, I will show you something else”. I’m now in front of a sow with her litter of about ten little black and white pigs born just few days ago. They are so tender! (As in “lovely” and not “tender” to eat!). I really like this unexpected stop! I realize the hen have spawned their eggs in small space in the middle of the bales, and while I’m taking some pictures, here comes the offer.
“Would you like to take some home?” I can’t really refuse it and I immediately find myself with a dozen eggs in my hands. My mother is going to he happy, I think.
“Have you ever tried “fil’e ferru?”(Sardinian grappa). The question is obviously directed to Enrico, the “foreigner” since he comes from Tuscany as they think he has never drank a glass of it before. So we end up nibbling on Pecorino and Fil’e Ferru and chattering with our newly acquired acquaintances. We had to refuse the forth glass they offer us. My mother has been waiting for us for about three hours now since we had called her earlier to let her know we were on our way home and she must be worried by now.
“I won’t give you any Pecorino to take home though!!”
We say our good-byes and thank all of them for the hospitality and the guided tour, and finally we head home covering the last four kilometers to reach Senorbi. Enrico is smiling; I think is happy for the fun day and most likely a little tipsy as well. Nuoro-Guasila, about one hundred and fifty kilometers and just about a little more than one hour to get there.
Ortacesus-Senorbi, four kilometers and three hours to get home.
Ah! This is Sardinian hospitality! We really lose track of time!!