’22 Sep: Corsica, France

Welcome To Corsica

I met up with Ingalill and Marita at the airport in Ajaccio around noon, they from a couple days in Paris and I from Geneva. Rick and Jim were due to meet us there too but first their flight was cancelled and then the new flight was delayed. They didn’t show up until 11:30pm. Ingalill and Marita picked them up. I was asleep.

We got a car at the airport and then took the ‘scenic’ route to our wonderful home for the next week, unloaded the car, and then did a little grocery shopping. That’s Ingalill and Marita enjoying a rest beside the salt water pool, and it’s really Really nice.

Happy Hour delights. I’m pretty sure every hour is going to be happy hour around here.

The view from our lanai.

We Drove Into Ajaccio

This is a monument to Napoleon in the central Place De Gaulle. It’s all Napoleon all the time here in Ajaccio, Napoleon’s birthplace. You can even see the couch upon which he was born.

Ah, the Mediterranean Sea. Ingalill, Marita, Jim, Rick.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Ajaccio, finished in 1593 replacing the former Cathedral of Saint-Croix destroyed in 1553.

Along the side of the Cathedral.

Ajaccio is a lively tourist town with all its Napoleon-ia as evidenced by all the cars and our parking safari and…


…the PORT below.

We had a wander through the Citadelle d’Ajaccio

And everyone was entirely into windows…

…and Laundry.

Rick’s picture. We were going to check out this museum but it smelled bad, of cigarette smoke and mold, so even I, the most enthusiastic to give it a try, gladly moved on to lunch.

You don’t even have to look it up. It’s Napoleon.

We ended the day with a visit to the vegetable market, a delightful swim in the pool, and then bbq burgers and salad for dinner. Ahhhh. Lill and Marita are both still working and they both agreed, vacations are awesome, and retirement doesn’t look so bad either.

Calanques de Piana

We took the Long and Winding Road to Calanques de Piana today, 2+ hours in the car for a 1 1/2 hour Zodiac ride to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site. That’s our Zodiac in the middle of the picture. The site was quite splendid and the boat ride was an E-Ticket itself. The driver entertained himself surfing on the wake of passing power boats and enjoyed a slalom course through the rocks. He spoke entirely in French but we got some hints of what was going on from kind fellow travelers.

The entire Gulf of Porto area is protected including other sites we didn’t visit such as the Gulf of Girolata and the Scandola Reserve.


Some pictures from the ride:

Not My Picture, but an aerial to give you an idea of the overall landscape.

These were in the far distance taken from the speeding zodiac.

Maybe look up and you can get an idea of how tall the cliffs are.


In and out of caves…

…and through breaks in the cliffs.

Ah geology.

Views from the village of Porto where we began our trip:

Notice the tower on the high right, easy to miss. This is one of the Coastline Watch Towers. There are 67 of them built around the periphery of the whole island by the Genoese of the Republic of Genoa between 1530 and 1620. They were intended to spot pirates and afford refuge for the villagers in case of attack. We’ve spotted a few others, like a scavenger hunt.

On the road again:

So many gorgeous coves, beaches, and marinas.

You can see the curvy road snaking through the formations.

These guys are a threat to their own lives and to ours as they zoom through traffic on one lane roads and blind curves.

Not to mention the bike riders! At least you have to be amazed at their stamina climbing these hills in the stifling heat. This is an open turn in comparison to the hairpin turns the bikers have to navigate on one lane roads and the drivers have to do their best not to run them over.

A welcome break in Piana:

One of us spots laundry and everyone takes a shot.

Notice the building material. All the buildings, old and new seem to be made with the same stones. If you see a smooth wall you can find a chip in the plaster and lo, there it is, stones.


We had been inundated by wasps at our dining table outside and had come to just live with it until Marita got stung. Then we contacted the landlord for some recommendation on a remedy. Burn coffee grounds she said, and brought us a container, coffee, and a fire-starter. 100% when the coffee was putting out smoke the wasps stayed away. Wow. It doesn’t work for flies or mosquitoes but those wasps were g.o.n.e. gone.

SO before we got the coffee solution from the landlord we were here at this restaurant in Piana for lunch (YUM BTW) and I spotted all these dead wasps on the ground by the ham. How did this happen? I asked the man behind the bar and he demonstrated… you flick them. None of us ever got up the nerve to flick them and fortunately by the next day we could smoke them out.

A Quiet Day And a Swim In The Sea

What a quiet day. Everyone was pretty beat by the long journey to and at Calanques on Monday. I’m writing now on Thursday and I don’t remember what we did on Tuesday until the late afternoon when we went to the beach.

Everyone was playing with this dog…

…especially Lill (who btw was stepping out on her own dog.)

That’s my chair the guys generously thought to bring along.

I announced I was not messing with that dog and immediately after making this pronouncement
the dog came right up to me and peed on my chair leading to great peals of hysterical laughter from one and all.

Another Coastal Watch Tower.

RICK’S PICTURES above, that’s me under the umbrella and Lill under the towel, Marita face down, and Jim in the distance, and since Rick’s always taking pictures of other people, here he is below. What a cutie:

Filitosa and Bonifacio

Jim, Lill, Marita, Jim, and GRANNY say Happy THIRTEENTH Birthday to Lil!

First stop, Filitosa, where archeologists date the “earliest habitation to 3300 BC. Around 1500 BC, 2-3 metre menhirs were erected. They have been carved with representations of human faces, armor and weapons.”

This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site although it doesn’t always show up, I don’t know why, but its age alone and the excellent repair of the artifacts makes it special. There’s also a small museum on site.

Jim and Rick amid a grouping of the menhir of ancient Corsica.

It was a nice walk.

Awwwwwww. I asked a woman who was also taking cat pictures how do you say ‘here kitty kitty’ in French and she thought about it for some time and then replied with a ‘psss psss psss’ sound.
We laughed in agreement, that cat didn’t speak English or French.

Leaving the main site.

Stopping for a car break and a quick snap or 50.

There’s this running joke about Lill and her mountain lion sighting so when I saw this I had to take a picture. I looked up the story and didn’t get far but it does seem this is an actual lion and not our fabled mountain lion.

Rick’s pictures from the walk everyone else took up to the Bonifacio Citadel. I took the tram. No more hikes in the beating sun for me.


This picture is from Wikipedia, a view not available to us but you can see how enchanting it is from afar.

According to someone that is the coast of Sardinia just there across the Bay of Bonifacio. There are also a couple very small islands between Corsica and Sardinia so maybe that’s what we’re seeing?

This was a longer and twistier day than our outing to Calanques mostly due to the detour for Filitosa that I was hot to do. Sorry guys! On the last day I’ll do a map of all our very cool destinations.

Let’s Go Snorkeling

Yes, Let’s!

Lill wasn’t feeling up for it but the rest of us went to a very near-by place where a good company ran snorkeling tours. We had a boat full of scuba divers too and because of all the diving gear the operators strongly warned anything on the boat would get soaked, so we didn’t bring cameras. This is our only picture of the day!

We geared up with fins, masks, and snorkel tubes and happily we all got shorty wet suits which I love. We were the only snorkelers so we got a private guide which made it especially fun. He’d dive for interesting specimens and point out good spots to hang around. Good job Tim.


This is where we eat, hang around, play games, it is our living room-dining room-den…

…and this is the view on the right when looking forward.

Corte Home Of Independent Corsica

Our highest elevation yet.

From the car, we have often passed through villages such as this one.

A view point for the Corte Citadel where prisoners from WWII were housed.
me, Marita, Rick, Jim, Lill

We have arrived in Corte and taken a bit of a wrong turn in our efforts to find the path to get up to the citadel. The others are studying the map for clues. While they are busy trying to get higher…

…I notice that a little that way is a wine bar and a sandwich shop. It’s hot and it’s sunny. I’m going to go down there and sit in the shade!

See the photo above.
Rick sent this from one of his books, I forgot to ask which.

I don’t know…

The story of the symbol of Corsican independence copied from Wikipedia: “According to the legend, it originates from the 13th century when a young Corsican woman named Diana was captured by Moorish slavers who planned to sell her to the slave market of Granada. Her fiancé Pablo managed to free her and a battle ensued between Corsicans and Moors, during which the Moorish leader Mansour Ben Ismaïl was beheaded. His severed head then became the symbol of Corsica in remembrance of the event.”

Corte is in the mountains, a different landscape from where we’ve been.

Our glorious farewell sunset, might as well get the whole thing.

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