Saturday, October 11, 2008

Corsica Highlights

We’re more or less recovered from our trip to Corsica, inasmuch as the washing machine is no longer running 4 times a day. Below I’ve posted a few pictures of our holiday, there are plenty more to be found in the gallery.

We were staying in Tiuccia, a seaside town just north of the Corsican capital of Ajaccio.  The beaches nearby at La Liscia and Liamone are both good, with crystal clear water at temperatures of about 22°C. The accommodation was by no means luxurious, particularly with all family members on the sofa.

From 09 21 - Tiuccia

However the neighbours were friendly, as evidenced by this little guy on our wall. He’s a Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard, and found all over Corsica, to the great amusement of our children.

From 09 21 - Tiuccia


These lizards were not our only neighbours, our friends Wiebke, Thomas, Greta and Marta were also in the same area. They were the ones who originally persuaded us that Corsica is a fantastic venue for a holiday outdoors. Below both families pose for the requisite tourist picture looking out of a cave near the Tête Du Chien rock formation in the beautiful Calanches area.

From 09 23 - Tête Du Chien

From 09 23 - Tête Du Chien

The following day we walked the lower section of the Gorges De Spelunca, an impressive canyon going up from Ota to Evisa. We stopped at the charming Pont a Zaglia pictured below, an old Genoese bridge which marks the point beyond which 3-year-old children no longer wish to hike.

From 09 24 - Gorges de Spelunca

The next day we struck out on our own southward, looking for menhirs and other prehistoric relics. Along the way we were somewhat unnerved as we ran dangerously low on diesel along what seemed like the most forlorn and remote stretch of road in Corsica. Luckily we managed to get as far as Filitosa on the last few drops.

The menhirs at Filitosa are pretty special in terms of being elaborately carved, and the site is very well equipped with recordings explaining the various statues and dwellings.

From 09 25 - Filitosa

As it was still early, we decided to drive the extra hour (to drive anywhere in Corsica takes at least an hour) on to the menhirs at Pallaghiu. In contrast to Filitosa, there is no entry fee here, and no attempt to provide any information. However the site is just as impressive in its own way, with extensive lines of menhirs in east-west formation.

From 09 25 - Pallaghiu

After all that time in the car, the kids were in need of something closer to home, so the following day we visited the (Europe’s largest!) turtle sanctuary A Cupulatta along the road between Ajaccio and Corte. Primarily set up to showcase the native Corsican species, there were also plenty of other beasts on display here, including the Galapagos and Seychelles giant, and the rather vicious alligator turtle.

From 09 26 - U Cupulatta

The next day saw us back near Evisa, this time walking along the Chemin de Châtaignes (chestnut path) to the Piscine Naturelle (natural pool). The chestnuts turned out to be far easier to peel than the kind we get here in Germany, but as a trade-off tasted absolutely horrible. Apparently they’re mostly ground down to flour, or eaten by the many semi-wild pigs that roam the forests until they end up as some farmer’s charcuterie.

The Piscine Naturelle is where Liam imitated Dr. Foster by stepping into a puddle right up to his middle. As thoughtless parents we had insufficient dry clothes, so I packed him up in Heike’s coat and carried him home. The walk back with 25 kg of children on my back was that bit more tiring.

From 09 27 - Chemin de Châtaignes

A bit of tamer sight-seeing followed in Ajaccio, birthplace and of Napoleon. Funnily enough he’s marketed locally as Napoleon I, indicating perhaps an expectation of more emperors? In any case Liam undoubtedly horrified the citizens of La Grand Nation by clambering all over the memorial to N.B. with what looked suspiciously like disrespect.

From 09 28 - Ajaccio

The following day found Heike  suffering from Delhi Belly (or perhaps Tiuccia Tummy) so the kids and I left her resting at home and went donkey riding. More accurately, Liam and Greta had a donkey and pony respectively, the rest of us had to walk.

Soon it became clear how donkey economics works: tourists pay the donkey owner 40 Euros in order to give the beast a light workout and lead it to free food. Our donkey did nothing but eat vegetation all the way up and down the path to the delightful Lac de Creno.

From 09 29 - Lac De Creno

In search of further proof that there are no shortage of beauty spots in Corsica, we visited the Cascades des Anglais, reportedly a favoured destination for the Victorian English. It is beautiful there, but the real hit for our kids were the blackberry bushes up the hill, which are still producing sweet berries in early October!

From 10 01 - Cascades des Anglais

All in all, Corsica is a great place for a family holiday, especially for a family who traditionally have divided preferences for mountains and seaside. We’ll definitely go again.

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