1168-1173: Corsica Initial Impressions and FIAT

1168 – Bastia

Saturday 18th May 2019

Having showered on board, it was a relief to get off the boat, and an hour early at 7.00 a.m..  Corrie had refused to poop on the poop deck, so must’ve been desperate.  Nice boat though, relatively new.

A 5 min drive to a back street where we parked up for most of the day.  A poop opportunity for CO2 (finally) and then we all retired for a few hours sleep.  Downhill into Bastia, a citadel, old town and old port.  All slightly decaying concrete but pleasant.

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J’s first Frenc Pain au Chocolat, with Corrie ever hopeful.

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Bastia Old Port

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Whilst at a cafe, I had a online chat with Fiat … there is a Fiat Professional garage near Calvi … so we drove over to the other side of the island … a tenderly nursed engine, with cars piling up behind especially on hills.  The first campsite we went to was shut, a reverse down a sandy track and up a steep slope.  The second was full with a rally of Dutch … they are everywhere in Corsica from what we’ve seen.  The third had spaces, but EUR29 per night!!!! One dog was free, but the second incurred a fee of EUR5 per night.  Which dog shall we dispose of?!?

Being tired, we ate in the campsite restaurant.  Reasonably priced, pizza for J and chicken skewer for me washed down with a pichet of red.  Actually we asked for a litre pichet and she brought two half litres … old soaks!  Funny how you can instantly dislike some folk.  There was an English couple where the wife asked the staff if the burger had been goat … no beef, they answered with a puzzled expression.  had she thought it was really rat / cat??  She was having a loud one sided conversation with a German gent … apparently she has published a book about her life on Amazon so her children can read all about her life!  175 pages of it … no mention of how large the print.

 

1169 – Calvi

Sunday 19th May

A slow start day, especially for me!  J feels guilty about CO2 poop opportunity and dogs’ breakfast about 9.00, so nobly sorts them out.  A little bit of a wiggle on, when we realised that the TIC shut at 12.30.  But a lovely walk along the beach to get to the town.   The prices here are staggering compared to what we’re used to, but J read that it is a rich yachty destination.  Two coffees £5.30 and ice creams £7.95 (we have been paying £3-5).  So we weren’t tempted to have lunch out … although the menus did look good.  Hopefully it is just this touristy town which is over priced.  

We bumped into the same English couple, from last night’s restaurant, in the Citadel … she didn’t improve with conversation for me either.  J is far more tolerant than I.  Not seen them since :).

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View of Calvi and Citadel from our beach walk into town.

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Christopher Columbus was born here.  Apparently Lord Nelson blew up the house and lost an eye in the process.  There is a plaque but we didnt’ bother looking for it.  

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Views from the Citadel – craggy mountain hinterland.

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1170 – 1173:  Fiat Fun and Frolics!

 

Monday 20th – Thursday May

Fiat … Fix It Again Tomorrow!  Thanks Dan for reminding us, we should have got a Merc or Iveco engine! We coaxed Jez the 5 km to Fiat Calvi… and waited for the expert mechanic. Monsieur after having a look opined that he didn’t know what the problem was – and anyway they couldn’t look in detail for 2 weeks!  Sitting on the Fiat forecourt and on the ‘dog and bone’ to Fiat/RAC Euro rescue…..this started a chain of events…we quickly realised that there was not one person to deal with – UK had to talk to folks in France who didn’t answer phones or emails – and one lady was on hols with no replacement for a day!  We were promised a low loader – decamped to a parking near Calvi airport…..waiting and waiting….cleaned the van – and waited….  finally a low loader arrived, after 6 hours – rather a short loader – far too short.  Mechanic said it was safe to drive and we should take it Bastia tomorrow.  Limped back to cheaper campsite (and nicer).  Morning, we started the engine – into gear – and no movement whatsoever! More Euro phrolic calls – no suitable low loader available – they hope to rent one tomorrow!  Euro 1500 required for the job! We should start our own low loader business…..Not so much a “Comedy of Errors” as “Love’s labour Found – at Euro 1500”   Insurance provided a hire car and chalet accommodation on site – bijou…. K transferee our essentials by car to the chalet.  The Fiat Assistance would have arranged a hotel – B&B per night at EUR100 pp …sounds like 5* to us.  But with the dogs and eating out prices, we’ve opted to pay and claim back on a chalet on the campsite so we can cook ourselves and have a little more room (and deck) for CO2.

Next a.m., as no progress, we drove out for a tourist day….15 mins later – phone call – low loader en route!  U-turn and back to camp.  This was a regular loader…. we pushed Jez out and into position with help from happy campers… tow pin screwed in at the front and tow started as exit from site too low for the combined load. Then – snap, crackle and pop! (who remembers that breakfast cereal?) – tow bolt in Jez sheared off…..and damaged grill and fairing. Fortunately, we have photographic evidence. Now a veritable army of campers arrived and pushed Jez 500 metres (some uphill) out past the site entrance! amazing people, all – mercy beaucoup!  We followed M’sieu Le Tow 2.5 hours to Basti HGV garage – unloaded – and he asked K to sign his paper that all was well. Correctly, K refused unless the grill damage was noted! M’sieu Le Tug threw his toys out of the pram- and exited stage left in a Corsican huff!  Next – the garage cannot do anything until paperwork arrives from Fiat Italy – by pigeon post?  Meanwhile, we googled – and it’s likely the clutch is not covered by the warranty – verified by phone call – it seems the clutch is the problem – verified by ‘paperless’ garage.  Who remembers the concept of the ‘paperless office? In my office, we took multiple photocopies of emails and created more paper…ultimately recycled to provide – more paper…

Left the garage and found a riverside walk so C02 could uncross their legs – they’re so patient, our children pooches.  Back to Camping La Pinede – and site restaurant supper……zzzzzs. 

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Gotta love helpful campers, even if some of the summer shorts a tad tight!

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Damage.  The facia is one long piece, which will, no doubt, cost a fortune and take a year to arrive.

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Combined height.  I was convinced that we would loose the roof on a low bridge, or at least the awning on the other side.

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Being released off the low loader at the commercial vehicle garage.



4 thoughts on “1168-1173: Corsica Initial Impressions and FIAT

  1. Yes, the most important thing is that you are safe and ok. We had to have our clutch replaced on our previous van but we were at home at the time. x

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  2. Thank you. But we are OK and that is all that matters. You’ve had you MH troubles too – a Portuguese hole in one comes to mind! Friends that are travelling have also had to have a new clutch and another lights.

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