Sunday, September 27, 2009

Images of Corsica

For the second year in a row we spent two weeks of September in Corsica. Last year we were in Tiuccia, this year about an hour further north near the town of Porto.


View Corsica in a larger map

The Marina Livia complex of bungalows provides simple but also charming accommodation just a couple of hundred metres from the beach at Bussaglia. This is a great location for our sort of “walk in the morning, beach in the afternoon” holiday.

One of our first walks was through the red granite of the Calanches. Just off the road and away from the tourist buses there’s a nice walk along the old mule path from Piana to Porto. The kids were happy to walk this, as long as the promised lollipops materialised.

From 2009-09-07 - Mule Path through the Calanches

From 2009-09-07 - Mule Path through the Calanches

From 2009-09-07 - Mule Path through the Calanches

Along the way people have built cairns as way markers. While some of these are mere piles of stones, some like the example below are veritable feats of balance and creativity.

From 2009-09-07 - Mule Path through the Calanches

The next day we drove north to the Fango Valley – a much flatter area than the mountainous area around Porto. Here the river gorge is famous for providing little pools to paddle or swim about in, which we promptly did.

From 2009-09-08 - Fango Valley

This was all very well for the humans, but Elsa and Tosca found the whole experience very exhausting, and just dozed off at the side of the river.

From 2009-09-08 - Fango Valley

The beach near our accommodation was pleasant despite being pebbly rather than sandy. One odd thing however was the establishment just up the road. We never figured out exactly what goes on there, but from the outside could be deduced that it is a business where camping and parking and dogs are forbidden. Not visible in the photo are the cows who grazed there, or the scrapped cars in the back. Answers on a postcard please.

From 2009-09-12 - Bussaglia Plage

The sea around Corsica is clean and warm, and the kids loved swimming there. Our guidebook complains about the fact that it gets deep relatively quickly, hence is not suitable for children. Our kids didn’t mind that – they found it all the more exciting that they could swim out to little islets in the bay.

From 2009-09-09 - Bussaglia Plage

From 2009-09-09 - Bussaglia Plage

The other good feature of Bussaglia beach are the sea cliffs which have been developed as Escalades. The kids and I spent a few afternoons climbing on these. Strangely these cliffs have been bolted, but all of the lower bolts have been removed. I’m not sure whether this was vandalism or well-intentioned removal of unsafe equipment, as the sea water makes the bolts rust fairly quickly.

From 2009-09-09 - Bussaglia Plage

Back in the Calanches we went for a walk which we had done last year, and photographed Rosalie in a cave she had been photographed in a year earlier. In case there's any doubt about her growth in the last 12 months, the right hand photo is from this year.

From 2009-09-11 - Chateau Fort

Another place we revisited was the Piscine Naturelle in the Forêt d'Aïtone. We were spared the hassle of last year when Liam managed to throw himself into the water, this year everyone stayed dry.

From 2009-09-12 - Piscine Naturelle

The water looks lovely from the picture but it comes from high up on the mountain and was much too cold for softies like us.

From 2009-09-12 - Piscine Naturelle

Back at sea level, and in water above the freezing point we decided to give snorkelling a go. For 5 Euros a head at the local supermarket, Liam and I were kitted out in snorkel and mask – we already had the flippers. What I hadn’t expected was the number of small fish which had clearly been swimming around our feet all week.

From 2009-09-12 - Bussaglia Plage

From 2009-09-12 - Bussaglia Plage

Because the weather was so pleasant for most of the time we often stayed at the beach until sunset. This had the advantage that we could watch a few spectacular sunsets, to which my photographic skills don’t really do justice.

From 2009-09-12 - Bussaglia Plage

The nearby town of Porto has a magnificent Genoese tower overlooking the bay, with a little museum inside. Liam was thrilled to hear that the tower had been the scene of some pirate activity, and was rather disappointed that there were no pirates in evidence as we visited.

From 2009-09-13 - Porto

The Porto beach also sports a bolted crag where Liam could try out his climbing skills again.

From 2009-09-13 - Porto

Having tried roped climbing a couple of times, both kids were insistent on dispensing with all safety equipment on the boulders along the beach. Because it was physically impossible for me to stand under both kids at all times with hands outstretched, I tried to ignore them and only pick them up after a fall. This earned me some stern looks from more safety-conscious French people, but I maintain that if I let them be silly a couple of metres off the ground, then they’ll learn not to be silly when they’re higher up. Time will tell.

From 2009-09-17 - Bussaglia Plage

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great the whole time. During the second week we saw a couple of spectacular thunderstorms, and we even managed to use some of the warm clothes we had brought with us.

From 2009-09-18 - Marina Livia

From 2009-09-18 - Marina Livia

From 2009-09-18 - Marina Livia

All in all it was a fun holiday, and despite the long and tiresome journey, Corsica remains a destination we’ll go back to in the future.

From 2009-09-19 - Homeward bound

1 comment:

Anne Marie said...

All lovely!