A quick visit south last week was my last hope for warm days before winter kicks in, so Corsica seemed like a good place to start. Although the island is closer to Italy, it’s under French governance (after various others including a bout of independence and even a self-made king — King Theodor von Neuhoff). This was handy for me, as I was able to speak to the locals, and this is where The Good comes in. Corsicans do not pull that face that so many Savoyardes pull when they hear my accent: they not only understood me when I opened my mouth, but they often chatted in further detail with me when they were under no obligation to do so. This was the first of many Goods, although this is no doubt considered normal behaviour in many parts of the world
The next Good is the views. Check out the coastline:
If you look closely, you can see buildings perched on the side of the cliff face in the distance. These are likely to fall into the sea one day when the cliff breaks off, joining the other broken bits of cliff pictured in the water. Corsica has a bit of everything: beaches, pretty walks, old bunkers, mountains, ski resorts, and Europe’s largest chestnut tree, which was kind of handy since a few days of rain meant fewer beach-side jaunts and more free time for other activities. In many places, the cows roam free on the roads, and although this could end in tears on dark and stormy nights, it was a pleasure to slow down to get around the slow-moving mooers, like the one pictured, on the mountainous roads. We had just passed this cow’s mum a few metres earlier and there was much mooing going on between the two of them.
The weather in Corsica seems to be very localised. One rain-free morning, we headed for the coast and swam at one of the first beaches we reached. It was only fifteen minutes away from where we were staying in Porto Vecchio, but it rained all day in town while the blue skies continued at the beach. Another Good.
The best Good of all was the Corsican hospitality: staying with friends is always great, but staying with Corsican friends is the best. My friend Jean-Pierre had said for years that I should “come to Corsica: zee most beautifoool island in zee world” and now I understand why. The most beautiful island lived up to its reputation, and much of it would have been missed if JP and his partner hadn’t gone out of their way to be personal tour guides.
And yes, we picked chestnuts from Europe’s largest chestnut tree, which I’ll be roasting some day soon.