Day 20 – Corsica, France

Today our port is Corsica, which is a territorial collective of France. The 4th largest island in the Mediterranean it is also likely to be our least physically challenging as it will be a tour up the mountain with stops along the way for photographic evidence of our outing.

A view from our balcony early this morning brings a little concern for the day. Lightning is clearly visible and the clouds also threaten rain. Our luck returns however. By the time we get outside the ship and walking down the portside pier, the clouds have all but disappeared and warmer skies are returning.

We reach our appointed meeting area along with most of the others for the tour. I say most, as 6 were missing out of the 24 that had booked. Larry was sick and Char elected to stay with him so certainly a valid excuse. The other 4 however, simply decided to not join with no prior notice given. This certainly impacts the tour company, having booked 3 8-person vans when now 2 would have been sufficient.

Although 8 AM was the time to meet with the tour company, they called and advised they would be delayed. Circumstances around getting the vans, outside of their control, changed the pickup time by about 45 minutes. Had we known how long the delay was going to be a quick trip to the Sunday market across the way could have been enjoyable.

When they did finally arrive, one of the vans seemed to have locked up somehow which then required them to push it in order to get it functional again. Makes me wonder how the rest of the day is going to go.

BTW…for those at home, gas in Corsica is €1.90 per litre…around $2.64 CDN depending on exchange rate at the time.

On our way without further incident, simply enjoying the ride. About an hour in and we come upon…pigs…in the road. Not really blocking us as this is where we planned on stopping for a bit anyway, but these guys were not part of the agenda. Cautioned that if we don’t get too close or attempt to touch them (WHY would I do that?) they won’t bother us, some people make the climb over the Corsica Steps.

Why climb over a rickety…ladder (rather generous term I think), to enter an area where there are more pigs (mom and babies!)? Well…like the sign says, it’s only 10 minutes to Voile de la Mariée (Bride’s Veil Falls). You do remember, don’t you, that the European version of 10 minutes has NO relation to North American real time? Add to that, the trip up is Not a well used and maintained trail. No…it consists primarily of random, slippery rocks used as stepping stones with only the occasional branch/root to grab on to for assistance. Eventually (so I’m told as I did not go), it does level out providing the strong of heart and limb a wonderful view of the falls. Oh yeah…once up, you do have to come down as well. Same trail, same anxiety. To her credit, Rose made it part way, but decided her stress level did not need an increase so she returned. In spite of it all she did have some success.

Back in the vans once more and on we go. Another stop at a very picturesque mountain panorama. The views all around provide even more camera cuisine. We are about 1,200 meters up looking straight at a mountain that is just over 2,300 meters tall. Halfway just doesn’t look like halfway somehow. From here it appears we’re about even. Distance may make the heart grow fonder but it sure plays tricks on the eyes as well.

Our ride along the narrow, winding roads pauses once again, this time to visit an old bridge. The walk down a gentle sloped path steers us to our goal. Built in the 1400’s, it spans a charming little stream and begs for travelers to interrupt their crossing just long enough for that memory moment.

Back up the path we go. We come across an elderly Italian gentleman who, as we pass, moves to the side of the path. He has spotted a somewhat large mushroom. A quick flick of his fingers to turn it over and he looks at us, winks, and shakes his head “No”. Pointing to his eyes, then to the ground he speaks in rapid Italian pretty much leaving us scratching our heads and hurries on ahead. When we get to the top where our vans are waiting, the gentleman is coming back down the road with a large tray…filled with his success from earlier in the day. It pays to know what you’re looking for.

Not for us but the town up ahead has a number of restaurants that are sure to relieve him of his wares. And that is where we are headed for lunch. 🙂

The town of Bastelica is our new destination. This is our lunch recess (because we’ve been working SOOOO hard). This small commune of about 600 people is about 400 years old, has 1 postal code (equivalent) and no traffic lights. Peaceful is a reasonable term to use here.

Scaldasole is one of those restaurants which greet you with a wonderful smoky BBQ aroma, immediately informing your nostrils that this is the right choice.

The table is waiting for us, replete with a very welcoming array of meats and buns just to awaken the taste buds. Perhaps a little wine? Crystal clear and light red, cherry notes in the nose and dancing on the palate. Whole sea bass with saffron rice and vegetables. Lamb shank with perfect pomme frites. Let’s finish this off with the Best Tiramisu. Period. Drop the mic.

Our travel back to the ship is uneventful except for the goats that gave no thought as to our desire to use the road. They moved at their own pace, allowing us to pass simply because they found better munchies on the other side of the road.

I say uneventful because there were no earth-shattering events or untimely weather to interrupt the spectacular eye-candy along the way.

Tomorrow is a very welcome sea day. I will make a concerted attempt to catch up with my blog. It’s difficult with slow internet, wine, picture editing, eating, wine (did I say that already?). It’s tough life but I will persevere. Posts may not happen every day, but they will appear in order. So far, so good, I think. 🙂

Stay tuned.

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