This blog is about the adventures of a software developer from Amsterdam who is now living in Nice and working in Sophia Antipolis, on the Côte d'Azur.



Monday, May 15, 2006

Trip to Corsica

Our trip to Corsica was short but nice. I still haven't prepared any photos to put here, but I'll do that soon. We left town Saturday afternoon, on the first day that was completely cloudy since I've arrived in France. The ferry to Bastia is enormous and takes 5 hours. On board they serve Pietro, a Corsican "chestnut" beer that is quite tasty, even though "chestnut" does not seem to refer to the ingredients.

Having arrived and checked in to our hotel we went for food and drinks. The best part was excellent goat cheese with a fig compote. In a small bar we met a famous local singer whose band's music is a bit similar to slow Irish ballads; he said their music is "anti-france" and shouted, "independencia". Otherwise the town is rather quiet; O'Donnels pub has a live band, but that's about it. I remember telling my colleague Kevin, who was raised in Corsica, how I found life so slow in Nice (long queues in shops, very relaxed attendance in restaurants, ever-lasting coffee breaks at work, etc.), and he replied that he thought the opposite when he moved here from Bastia.

The next day we strolled around Bastia, which has an old citadel and there was a fleemarket. The train to Ajaccio left at 17:00, but after twenty minutes it stopped in Casamozza and everybody was transferred to a bus, due to maintenance works on the tracks (supposedly ready by the end of June). The bus route sticks as close as possible to the railtracks and passes amazing mountains, wide views and mountain villages built on steep slopes. The mountains are covered in thick forests at times, and in snow at other times. The air around here is amazingly fresh, compared to that in Nice. Via Porte Lecchia and Corte we finally arrived in Ajaccio, Napoleon's birth place. This city seems like a nice place, more lively than Bastia, although we don't get to see very much of it as we head for bed early -- the bus to Calvi leaves very early the next morning.

Sunshine having returned we spend some time in the port of Calvi, sleeping in the port surrounded by small boats. Calvi also has a citadel. This town is a tourist dump with shops selling expensive useless junk everywhere - although it is still out of season and there are not many tourists (or anyone else) on the streets. The boat back to Nice takes 3 hours from here, and we arrive after midnight. The streets are wet, it had been raining. The next time we'll take a couple of days longer to explore Corsica and probably stay in a hotel in the mountains.

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