The Lemon House and Sardinia
Autumn here has brought cooler, but still warm, days (20-25°C) and fresher nights (10-15°C), and for the first time in months there are some rain showers around! The wind has swung round from Sirocco (SE) to between W and NE, meaning lower humidity and good visibility - great for being outdoors on the east coast of the island where we live. Most of
the summer tourists have gone now, the roads are quieter and we can't help feeling we have the island to ourselves once again....and you can still go and sit on the beach and the sea is still warm enough for swimming. One thing we miss in our relatively-isolated corner of Sardinia is access to "good" books, news, films and media in general, particularly in English.
Italian television is very poor, with game shows and their scantily-clad hostesses, and programmes such as Miss Italy which other countries ditched years ago; SKY is mainly football; the local cinemas show only mainstream films dubbed into Italian; and we can't get UK
TV over the Internet due to broadcasting rights restrictions. We have lots of DVDs and a widescreen TV, and get the Guardian Weekly. On a daily basis we used to enjoy listening to the World Service until
the BBC stopped short-wave broadcasts earlier this year. We made a big breakthrough by getting a Com One Wifi radio, which enables us to receive over our wireless network radio stations from all over the
world, including the World Service without the shortwave het whine.
Although the radio is a new product and had a few teething troubles, we're so fond of it that we put up with them, and sometimes
we sit at breakfast listening to the news. But keep sending us your suggestions of good books to read and DVDs to watch so we can buy them from Amazon.
Our experience in 2008 so far confirms this area's viability as an all-year-round holiday destination, with bookings from March 2008 currently going well into November 2008 and enquiries already for March 2009. We plan to go away sometime between December 2008 and January 2009, though we haven't yet decided when and where, so if you are interested in staying during this period, please let us know ASAP, since if you don't we may
not be here.
Reflecting the general economic climate, we have decided to keep 2009 prices unchanged compared to 2008. The recent fall in oil prices should help the air transport sector, and both Ryanair and Easyjet are offering 3 flights a week during the winter from Stansted and
Luton to Alghero and Cagliari respectively before reverting to the summer schedules from the end of March. New flights to Sardinia are also opening up. For instance, from April/May 2009 there are Jet2.com flights from Manchester and Edinburgh to Olbia, you can already
book them! We continue to update the pages of our web site and our photo album with new information and, for day-to-day news and photos.
People call by almost every week to buy the map guide to Ogliastra onto which we note the new routes bolted since the guide's publication in March, including those we've bolted or helped bolt at The Lemon House, Monte Scoine (easier routes) and Braccio di Ferro, as well as those bolted by other people. The main news of the summer is the development of
the Su Telargiu Oro cave on the Golgo plateau. This is at 600m, faces north and is always in the shade, so it's great for climbing throughout the summer. So far 7 routes have been bolted, from 6b and 6c for warmup through to 6c+-7b (all of which have been onsighted) to an 8a and 8a+ which are still awaiting RP ascents. The name of the cave, Su Telargiu
Oro, means "The Golden Loom" since, according to legend, fairies lived in the cave and spent their time weaving.
Giampaolo Mocci flashing "Caccia al Grottone", "Hunt for the big cave", 7a. In the photo he's on the right-hand lip of the big cave. Jan Kareš working the boulder finish to "Yorkshire Tosti" est 8a+, the first route inside the cave proper. A big thanks to Jan, Eliska and Slovak for their help in bolting this route!!
Also to note is the publication of the topo for the Lucertole al Sole ("Lizards in the sun") crag at Tancau, only 2 km from The Lemon House. This has a 5a, a 6a+, two 6b+'s, two 6c's, a 7a, a 7a+ and a 7b, with several blank lines bolted and still to be freed. Faces SW and ideal for autumn, winter and spring afternoons.
Details of all the Ogliastra crags are inserted on ukclimbing.com, including their locations on Googlemaps as well as other useful information, so you can plan your trip in advance before you buy themap guide.
Climbers planning trips in October should note the annual meeting at Rocca Doria near Alghero which'll be held again the last weekend of October (25 and 26). As for the last
2 years, this will feature a competition on the Sunday, a party on Saturday night and lots of routes to climb at what is the main new development of the last few years in the NW of the island, and
conveniently placed for climbers arriving at or leaving from Alghero.
Here the main news is the development of mountain bike routes around where we live, and more importantly their documentation, including gpx/kml files, so we can explain them to our visitors. The routes range from 45' flat valley-bottom rides all on tarmac except for 1 km on unsurfaced road, to 4-6 hour long days out with technical singletracks, such as the rides to Cala Luna or Cala Sisine.
The 8 rides we've documented so far, with many more waiting on the To Do list...
Singletrack to Cala Luna - at 900m, before the descent to the sea, looking N over the Gulf of Orosei.
The MTB race season starts the first Sunday of October, and as usual visitors are welcome to participate in these races.
The road cyclists have been asking about the Giro of Sardinia in 2009. This will be held in Alghero, and the dates are confirmed as 18 (arrival day) -25 April 2009. We expect to have the programme and prices available by mid October, and as usual we will be managing the English-speaking group. See our blog for latest updates. The Lemon House
will be closed during the period of the Giro, but, as in 2008, participants are more than welcome to come and stay with us before or after the race, and, numbers permitting, we can help with transport to/from Alghero using our van.
We continue to do new walks, even when we find they are not on the map, as Anne found when she and Susie went down from Genna Silana to the Gola su Gorroppu! Recently Peter went on his first Italian Alpine Club (CAI) walk, and was amazed to find that there we over 70 participants for the walk to Gorroppeddu (little Gorroppu) and its thousands-of-yearsold
Anne receives her medal as the Regional champion in her category, 1000m canoe.
We have continued kayaking throughout the summer, proposing the short trip from La Spiaggetta to Cala Luas to all our guests, and almost all decide to try it, and love it. We have also been north up the coast, as far as Capo Monte Santu as well as (and this was one highlight of the summer) paddling at dusk to see the full moon rising just after sunset - beautiful!
In her first-ever race, Anne became the Sardinian 1000m champion in her age group as she determinedly fought off competition from the other woman in her category. To be fair, she had a K1 racing canoe while Anne had her "usual" sea kayak. Afterwards we spent a lovely evening in Gavoi, where the old centre has been restored, eating very well in one of the local restaurants with the other members of our kayak club. All great fun.
Anne is starting going spinning again and Peter has restarted yoga after the summer break, and our guests are welcome to come along to these activities.
We look forward to seeing you all soon! Peter & Anne http://www.peteranne.it/
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