Friday, November 9, 2012

Sassari, the ghost town of Sardinia

Before my arrival in Sassari, Asia, who's temporarily living in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, gave me a warning: "it's like a ghost town. There's absolutely nothing going on here." Her words couldn't express the atmosphere in the city any better. Although I barely ever experience boredom when I travel, in Sassari I really had a feeling that even my not-so-vibrant home town makes more exciting destination for a visitor and offers a bigger variety of activities. I arrived in the biggest city in northern Sardinia at midnight-ish, on 1st November. The old town was almost people-less, which made the city appear sad and forlorn. "Holiday," I thought and turned a blind eye on the sleepy image of Sassari. Later, every time we went out at nighttime with Asia and her friends, I noticed a slight improvement in the nightlife of Sardos, but I wasn't thrilled. There were tourists and locals on the streets - but still far cry from Bydgoszcz, where when the lights go out, the streets seem too narrow for the life that's crammed itself into them. I was surprised to find out that a mass of clubs or bars are open only during the summer season, especially when the Erasmus students are in the city.

The former appearance of Sardinian flag, consisting of four black heads of blindfolded Moors on a white background, separated by St George's Cross was supposed to symbolize the stupidity and ignorance of Sardos. If you compare this conviction with local people's mentality, you can easily conclude that such pattern wasn't chosen for nothing. The demeanor of Sardos definitely doesn't fit the stereotype of bubbly, loud and outgoing Italians. Most of the locals I met seemed quite grubby, narrow-minded, reluctant to accept anything that doesn't fit in their mindfield, with malevolent attitude towards visitors. It has never happened to me elsewhere that locals would react aggressively when told there's something you don't like about their city, stupidly squeak "aaaaaaaa turista!!!!!!" upon finding out I'm not from Sardinia or shout their heads off "that's a tourist in the northern Sardinia. And she's totally lost. Hello! What's your name? Comment tu t'appelle?"

Sardos from Sassari are proud of their origin, love their land that is gorgeous for its sea and nature and are deeply connected to it, but they sadly admit - there's nothing to do there. Many young people go to the mainland for education or work; they wait for an opportunity to leave the island and as soon as it presents itself, they seize it. In the summer season sandy beaches and translucent sea attract wealthy tourists from all over the world, but then the warm months are over, numerous resorts become totally deserted.

I always used to undervalue my city, but having seen Sassari, I finally started appreciating my own neck of the woods, which doesn't happen very often. The sleepy streets of this town of 130 thousand inhabitants reminded me of Bydgoszcz ten years ago, devoid of places where people go wild at nighttime or relax during the day. If you think the place you come from is boring, come to Sassari and you'll change your mind. Saying this, I can't forget about the sole exception, which is all Erasmus students I met there. What this piece of Italy lacks in iconic attractions, activities and friendly locals, it more than makes up for it with this bunch of people from all over Europe  who found themselves in this drowsy town and don't fail at making its ever-present boredom more tolerable.

Ticket booth

Please note that apart from two exceptions the schedule is convenient only for connections to continental Italy.

1 comment:

  1. The place is nice and historical. On the other hand, one can always enjoy Sardinia with the company of friendly people and a stay in some of its great Sardinia hotels.