La Vie en
16 , 2001
September 3 , 2001
The Lighthouse Of The Mediterranean
August 26 , 2001
Another Medieval Jewel
23 , 2001
Land of Lovely Desserts
August 15 , 2001
Route to North Africa
10 , 2001
August 6 , 2001
South in Sardinia
August 2 , 2001
Vie en Corsica
Sea, Seven Colors
July 24, 2001
July 23, 2001
July 21, 2001
The Mistral Blew
July 18, 2001
Spell Of Menorca
July 12, 2001
July 7, 2001
June 27 , 2001
22 , 2001
June 13, 2001
Weekend in Cartegena
30 , 2001
Time Or A Place
29 , 2001
21 , 2001
On The Hard
A Boat Again
Warp to Morocco
Still On Stilts in Malaga
August 2, 2001
Two days ago
we motored 10 miles from Sardinia across the Bonifacio Strait to Corsica,
bringing us to a new country and another world. We followed the stream
of boats to the entrance of the remarkable 1 mile Bonifacio Sound. Almost
totally hidden, the harbor is accessed by a narrow slit in limestone cliffs
wildly sculpted by the wind and the waves. This harbor (which is described
in Homer's "Oddysey") is a magnificent site with the famed Citadelle sitting
250 feet above the azure waters along a narrow promontory.
We tucked into
one of only two small calanques (coves) where anchoring is possible, dropped
an anchor, backed in and tied lines to rings in the cliffs. A brisk crosswind
did not help and it took two tries and an hour, but we were safely settled
by lunchtime, which was lucky, since by dinner there were 40 boats tucked
into this tiny cove and an unbelievable mess of crisscrossed anchor chains.
We took our
little dinghy into the busy port where huge and small motor and sailing
yachts, a luxury cruise ship and a ferry crowded the docks. French tourists
crowded the streets. The marina area at the end of the sound looked like
Block Island on the Fourth of July. It was a zoo. The old town atop the
promontory was touristy, but charming and the views were spectacular.
We were overwhelmed by the tourists, the tackiness, and the French prices.
It was a sight to see, but once was enough.
On the other
hand, yesterday spent driving around Corsica was a delicious treat, our
trusty rental car taking us far away from the crowds.. Corsica is the
most geographically diverse and mountainous of the Mediterranean islands.
There are mountains as tall as 9000 feet, covered with sweet smelling
maquis, a low, dense shrub, and deep green pines, soaring to pillars of
granite. We drove 150 miles on narrow, winding mountain roads with spectacular
views of vast uninhabited forestland, through tiny hamlets of rugged stone
homes and churches.
surged into the sky behind, beyond, above one another, ending in rows
of cones and spikes and square topped knobs like gigantic teeth. Their
lower slopes, smothered in vegetation, looked uninhabited and impenetrable."
Dorothy Carrington in "Granite Island."
Our drive included
a leisurely lunch at a mountain inn and then a swim in the fresh, cool
waters of a mountain stream with a setting so perfect, Disney could have
created it: a bit of beach in the sun, rocks off of which to leap into
deep, clear water and the forest shading the softly sculpted boulders.
Comfortably crowded with French families, the ambiance was quiet and serene.
Being in the mountains is a special treat when one is always by the sea,
and the heavy vegetation was a refreshing contrast to arid Spain.
The west coast
of Corsica has rocky coves cut out of the mountains which rise in layers
from the sea, making many lovely anchorages. Unfortunately, we will have
to explore these some other time.