adventures in Corsica : part one

I had often dreamed of exploring Corsica, what always seemed to me a mysterious island, possessing a unique and varied history as it passed from Italian hands to French. I even came close during my year of travel but opted instead to carouse the south of France. My Italian grew up facing this island from his perch in Monterosso, yet he too had never reached it’s shores. It was not yet our time.

Last spring we fell in love. And there was no better place. Corsica became our island.  It is here that we spent our first holiday together, exploring the south, becoming deeply enchanted by this island of untamed beauty. Long and winding roads providing the sensation of driving along the edge of the world. Or a very steep cliff. Seemingly never-ending dirt paths leading to uninhabited golden beaches. Off in the distance the setting sun illuminating a crystal blue sea. Very simply, heaven.

We made a vow to return. Forever. Or until we had crossed every inch of the island. On this, our second adventure in Corsica, we headed north.

Rather than explore the large cities, (besides the fact that Bonifacio had already captured my heart), we decided to spend our time becoming intimately acquainted with the small villages, both coastal and interior, and stopping to enjoy the view as often as our timeless days allowed. Immediately upon arriving to Bastia we located our 4 wheel companion and hit the tangle of roads. Onwards to our first stop Algajola, a little paradise nestled on the coast between Ile Rousse and Calvi.

With a population of no more than 225, this tiny village lies on a sandy strip of beach, hidden from the world. From our well appointed room, the turquoise sea and sky sea melted together, calling us ever so subtly to enter its calm. Dinner consisted of a barefoot walk to a simple seaside restaurant (still one of my favorites) for a plate of St Pierre beneath a setting sun. In case of boredom (does such a word exist in Corsica?) there’s a coastline train to transport you to Ile Rousse or Calvi for a little more action. Though we were perfectly happy to remain hidden.

By day three city life was a distant memory. Paris who? We were hyper-relaxed and ready once again to explore the island. On a sudden whim we changed our plans and hit the road for a long and winding drive above the sea, direction: ‘phantasmagorical rock formations’ known as Les Calanques.

Many hours spent in awe at the irregularly shaped boulders rising into the sky, some more than 400m above the sea. We stopped in the quaint village of Piana for lunch, (this time I tried fish soup, a Corsican specialty). Our plans changed as a local directed us to a surreptitious beach, just in time for our daily swim. A long drive and a short walk…and there was Marine de Ficajola. One of the most splendid secrets for the senses to behold! Once again, paradise found, beneath the boulders.

We would have stayed for days, living off the land, reveling in the paradisiac landscape, but night was falling and we had a long drive back to our home in Algajola, with a stop in Calvi for dinner. The following day the adventures continued in Cap Corse (part two)…

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9 Comments

  1. Lindsey July 16, 2010

    Looks like we were both enchanted by Corsica! We’ll have to go back as a couple!! Which reminds me, we should double date, I’d love to meet the man that swept you off your feeet 🙂

    Reply
    • Kasia July 19, 2010

      Yes, Corsica is unlike any place in the world (and I have seen many!) Let’s definitely plan a night out on the town soon!

      Reply
  2. Cailins July 16, 2010

    Great Photos Kasia!

    Reply
    • Kasia July 19, 2010

      Thanks! I took MANY more!

      Reply
  3. Andi July 16, 2010

    Corsica is on my list of must-do’s. My hubby and I kick ourselves all the time for not going when we were living in France. But I will get there one day! Beautiful photos!

    Reply
    • Kasia July 19, 2010

      You and your hubby really must experience this wild island, it’s stunning! And a quick flight from Paris next time you are here 🙂

      Reply
  4. PigletinFrance August 3, 2010

    What lovely photos you took! How did you go about planning your trip before you left?

    I’ve just returned from a week in Calvi and whilst we went to many places none of these figured on our list… I guess a week was just too short especially when you’re lazy, beach bum like me 🙁

    Great photos!

    Reply
    • Kasia August 4, 2010

      Thanks, I took SO many photos, took a while to edit them!

      We mostly planned where we would sleep as it was nearing high season (via lonely planet: both English and French versions) and didn’t want to stay too long in the larger cities but rather explore the hidden villages (there are many!). In the end we followed our feelings (as my Italian says) more than a set plan. Spent the first few days tucked away in Algajola, I too love the beach 🙂

      Reply
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