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adventures in Corsica : part three

by Kasia on July 26, 2010

The following morning we bid farewell to the fishermen of Centuri and headed for the northernmost point of Cap Corse, the tiny village of Barcaggio. Also the closest point to Monterosso, Italy. (Next time we plan to take a boat directly). Speaking with a few locals we learned that only 2 families (and many cows) inhabit the village. ‘Small town’ takes on a whole new meaning! We chose the local restaurant U Fanale for lunch and had one of the freshest and most tasty meals of our entire trip. The specialty of course, was fish! Well worth the trip to what felt like the end of the world. Or perhaps, in regards to the simplicity and pleasure of life, the beginning.

We stopped in Macinaggio which was not as impressive and lacked the charm of Barcaggio, revealing a trendy harbour with luxury yachts. A quick swim at the nearby beach and our journey continued, this time driving along the eastern coast of Cap Corse. In terms of harbour’s, we much preferred the quaint village of Erbalunga, our final stop in Corsica’s finger.

We arrived to St Florent, our home for the last three nights, just in time for the sunset, as was our habit. I had a good feeling about this St Tropez-esque resort, mostly because it was perfectly positioned close to dreamlike beaches and Patrimonio where we could indulge in the local wines. The town itself was both chic and humble and our room had a balcony with a view directly onto the harbour, by my request of course. St Florent was best seen from the boat ride to the magical Plage de Loto, a secluded beach located on the edge of the Desert des Agriates. 

I could have stayed on the wild and tranquil Plage du Loto for hours but being adventure seekers, (in other words: at the persuasion of my Italian) we decided to brave the intense heat and hike a good 45 minutes through what really did feel like the desert, to another paradise called Plage de Saleccia.

There was barely a soul when we arrived at Saleccia beach as the last boat was soon to leave. Perfect. We took a swim, revelled for a moment at the feeling of being so remote, and trekked back through the inland and returned to St Florent.

On our last full day, needing a break from the beach life, we drove up to Nonza for lunch. Located on the western coast of Cap Corse, this little hamlet is presided over by a fortified tower. We had driven by on the way to Centuri and decided to save it for a proper visit. Shrouded in mist, the views from Nonza’s advantageous cliffside position were a sight to behold. 

Our last stop before returning leaving this utopian island of wilderness and beauty was a moment of reflection at L’église San Michele de Murato. Local legend has it that this church, with it’s distinctive green and white checkerboard pattern, was built in just one night by angels. Somehow, I believe it.


adventures in Corsica : part two

by Kasia on July 23, 2010

It was late morning by the time took our ritual swim, bid farewell to Algajola and set off for lunch in the sleepy artisan village of Pigna, set high above the sea into the interior hills of La Balagne.

My Italian, being the romantic that he is, had a clear destination in mind. U Palazzu, a chambre dhôte and restaurant, converted from an old oil press, felt like stepping into the pages of history. It was here in this mansion that the Franceschini family lived in the 17th and 18th centuries, they being one of the most influential families in the Balagne region. The views were captivating and the cuisine was light and fresh much like the ambiance. The tranquility of the sea was quickly replaced by the quietude of the hills.

We made our way to another ancient village, Sant’Antonino, one of the highest villages in the Balagne, set at 550 meters above the sea. I was sure there could be no more charming and scenic vista than we had just experienced. Little did I know! Arriving at the restaurant La Voûte, we were completely taken with the 360-degree panorama. I had always preferred the sea to the mountains but now I was no longer sure. We had a drink, gazed into eternity and spoke for a while with the local who had opened the restaurant several years ago. I became carried away with thoughts of a life on top of the mountains, until the late afternoon air summoned us to continue on our journey.

We set to the road and headed for Cap Corse, final destination Centuri. Somehow we always managed to be later than planned (not that planning played a major role in our days), yet we always arrived in time for the sunset. The drive through the finger was an experience in itself. Not one for those privy to carsickness! Again we found ourselves on the edge of the world, winding through roads with vistas revealing the most natural and majestic landscapes. The sensation of time was lost.

Many hours and Genoese tower sightings later, we were nearing our destination. As we had realized on our first trip in the south, driving along the winding roads was part of the unique appeal of Corsica. I was lucky to be the passenger and admire the views, all the while with camera in hand and often an ‘Oh, we must stop here, the views are breathtaking!’. The play of light upon the hills was magical and well worth the seemingly never-ending drive along Corsica’s finger.

We arrived with a setting sun to Centuri, our home for the night. A charming fisherman’s village that at once felt welcoming and utterly remote, almost in an eerie way.  A glass of local wine and a plate of fresh fish was a perfect finale to the long and winding day.

As I do often when I travel, I spent some time reflecting on all that we had done in the space of 24 hours. Each day felt like an eternity. How filled I was with visions, sensations and tastes. I was reminded of the simple and natural high that accompanies the traveler. I fell asleep to the peaceful lull of the sea competing with the rhythm of a dance club in the distance, in eager anticipation of the adventures to follow…



adventures in Corsica : part one

July 16, 2010

TweetI 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 […]

passion for travel

May 26, 2010

TweetThere are certain passions or interests, that bond people. Whether it be friends, companions, or those you choose to share your life with. One such passion (the word ‘interest’ simply does not fit here), is my love for travel. Some of my dearest friends share this passion, leading us to have collected quite an array […]