1192-1197: Last Days in Corsica

1192 – Curving Out of Corte

Tuesday 11th June 2019

We showed, emptied and filled at the campsite.  It had been a lovely haven next to the river to enjoy being back in Jez.  The only two issues with the site, were the price (EUR31 p.n.) and the noise from the river, meaning we had to repeat everything we said!

We headed across the hills from Corte.  Poor James, who elects to drive first, got the rough end of the drive … concentration for him and scenery for me (with some back seat driving thrown in … I can’t help myself!).

We encountered some wild life along the way …

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Out of nowhere, with no dog or shepherd in sight, these careered down the hill at break neck speed across the road, to stop and graze the other side.

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The car that was behind us, was impatient and we don’t know how he hasn’t a sheep head shaped imprint in his bodywork.


At our coffee stop, we were surrounded by pigs – their gate was no barrier; they went under it!  Obviously these had not yet been taught to read … the orange splodges are our paws and dog on board stickers.  CO2 were not impressed … Corrie quite scared.

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Amazing scenery …

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They were not going at our hedgehog pace, so J pulled over tho let them pass with a cheery wave.

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 The highest road mountain pass in Corsica.

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Evening snuggles.  And yes, I’ve been trying some Rose wines … but I’ll be going back to white or red, as I’m finding them a bit flavourless.

1193 – Being Still (Again)

Wednesday 12th June

We hadn’t planned to stay a second day here, but it was such a lovely campsite.  We did some more laundry and I walked CO2 in the olive groves.

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Lazy watchers on.


1194 – Tortoises

Thursday 13th June

We stopped at Europe’s largest (apparently) tortoise sanctuary … I went in and J and CO2 napped.  Apparently there are 1700 species here.  There were certainly species for all around the world and two types of giant.  A real diversity on shell shape and colours.  The way they move and clamber is really quite comic.  But it was verging on hilarious when the omnivore (water is the main habitat) were fed.  They all plopped into the pond which became a maelstrom of swirling water and headed for the pellet and fish platter.  Using only their mouths they climbed into the tray, spraying the food with slimy and water, and attempted to pull a whole fish head back to the pond.  Occasionally one would almost get stuck on the rim of the platter and have to sway back and forth and extend a really loooong leg to give a push over the side.

P1170199 Chomp Chomp Chomp.  Gently does it. 


Don’t move, i’ll go over you.


All still and calm in our world, until …


… food’s this way chaps!




One of the two Giant species.

1195 – Ajaccio by Bike, Boat and Train

Friday 14th June

Another ACSi campsite (reduced prices out of season), but a 12 km bike ride from Ajaccio.  The campsite advised us to cycle into the town, only 3 km away, and then to get the boat shuttle to Ajaccio.  Fairly cool as we set off, but every now and again, a warm wind would caress us.  It was a forerunner of the heat to come.  The boat worked fine, taking across the bay.  On arrival, J breakfasted … in the shade … it was hotting up.  As we started the walking tour i’d prepared, we spotted the Tourist Petit Train … something we should normally avoid, as surely this is for the elderly and infirm?  Having only just arrived and now wilting, we went for it … the justification being that it would take us out along the coast for a view of the Sanguinaires (islands), which was too far to walk.  we also saw the outside of the building where Napoleon was born.

We then wandered up the Fesch Museum, which if we’d had more time, we would have visited, but we had timed tickets back (2.45, or wait for the 5.45) and needed lunch … in the shade.  We both had salad.  In fact, so did everyone else in the restaurant.  Temperature was now 40C!

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Porticcio where we caught the shuttle to Ajaccio.

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Napoleon dressed as a Roman Emperor with 4 lions at the base.  Interesting that the Roman emperors had statues of themselves done in the guise of Gods …. 

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CO2 made friends with the people in front and behind us on the Petit Train.

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Just to prove we have actually been on one!

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Another Napoleon memorial just outside town.

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The Sanguinaires Islands.  This was also our ice cream stop!

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The Fesch Museum housing the best collection of Italian art on Corsica.  Fesch was obviously an interesting character… Napolean’s uncle and ecclesial and military by turn.  He accompanied Boney through Italy, working his passage as the Quartermaster, amassing art on the way,. Afterwards he re-doned his clerical robes and was apppointed as a Cardinal to Rome.  He persuaded the Pope to attend Napolean’s coronation as Emperor.  But Napoleon, who believed in self made men, took his crown from the hands of the Pope and placed it on his own head.

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The small harbour where we waited for the shuttle back.

 1196 – Filitosa

Saturday 15th June

We spent the morning at Filitosa, possibly the most important megalithic site in Corsica.  It was only discovered in 1946 and has been dated to 3300BC.  Around 1500 menhirs of 2-3 metres height were erected, but i think only about 20 remain.   Many were carved with human faces, armour and weapons.  They may have been designed to ward off the enemy, the Toreens, but were unsuccessful, as many were later used as building materials by the invaders.  The Toreens built circular stone structures which may have been used as temples.  Some of these stone structures are very well preserved.

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The boulders around the site were also amazing, the way the wind and rain had shaped them.  Many really did look like animals.

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And our best girl loves to roll in anything that has come out of any animals bottom, in this case cow dung!  Shampoo and set back at the motorhome!

1197- Father’s Sunday in Sartene

Sunday 16th June

We nearly skipped Sartene as there was no parking in the town.  What I had identified turned out to be a Best Western Hotel :(.  About 1.3km out fo the town was a viewpoint above the cemetery … we stopped for coffee and re-read the guide book … austere, square and stone architecture, with winding narrow alleys.  We hadn’t planned to have lunch but J is a father of 4 and it was Father’s Day!  Another salad as it was too hot for anything else.  Our last night was another ACSI outside Bonnifaccio.

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View above the cemetery.

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A bit of sausage anyone???




1188-1191: Enjoying ‘Home’

1188 – Home Again!

Friday 7th June 2019

A good night’s sleep in the hotel and I had a luxuriant BATH!  Being an old fashioned establishment, except for the incongruous piece of modern ‘art’ on the wall, the hotel had a deep and wide steel bath.  In I went for a wallow.  J was out with CO2 …. just as well as neither dog can understand my voluntarily getting wet!

We SUSPECTED that the garage was telling porkpie pies about the MH being ready today … but the pressure was on as the insurance company had rung them.  We did KNOW that it would not be ready till the afternoon … so we went for a wander around the town.  Lovely.  Narrow hilly streets leading up the the citadel with a museum.  We didn’t go in … we’re finding increasingly that unless a museum or site is unusual, we can’t be bothered to take turns when CO2 are not welcome.  A super Belvadere – which showed us the entry to a campsite the Tourist Office had recommended for our 7.55m van that took dogs … no way Jose!  A tight turn over a bridge … I later read reviews and vans of 7m had struggled.  We will only just have got Jez back .. don’t want another issue!  So Park4Night out and we routed to 4 campsites to check them out.  2 no dogs and 2 OK.  Plan for tonight … if we get Jez back!  

Corte is a gem.  Beautiful and historic.  Pascal Paoli retuned here after exile and made Corte his seat of Goverment from 1755-1769, the first Corsican printing press and the first University.  However, in 1768, France bought Corsica from the Genoese and Corte lost its status. The university was closed and only reopened in 1981.  The town has a strong sense of independence – we noticed a lot of signs in Italian … no … the Corsican language is based on Italian.  Lots of Graffiti about independece and hating the French.  The University, named the Pascal Paoli, is the driving force behind the resurrection and preservation of Corsican as a language. 

Whilst out and about, I took a call from Europcar … just checking we’d not absconded with the hire car.  Although RAC Commercial on behalf of Fiat Assist had extended, and extended several times, our keeping the car, it transpires they had not told Europcar!

A trip to the supermarche for lunch which we ate in in the car park, whilst we waited for 2.00 and the garage to open up after lunch.  No answer … no answer.  Here we go again.  do we stay or do we go?  We elected to drive back down to Bastia … at least we’d be closer if Jez were to be ready.  A call en route … yay… just finished ‘this minute!’  Interesting how the garage had told the insurance they were in regular contact with us … they’ve not rung us once!!!  Anyway … hot foot to pay and then drive around the corner to the commercial vehicle yard to get Jez.  Unloaded car into van.  Convoy to Bastia airport to drop car and back up to the hills to one of the campsites we’d inspected earlier.  A lovely shady river side spot.  We’re HOME AGAIN.

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OK… local map and that’s the recommended campsite down there … too tight a turn!

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Napoleon and his brother were born in this house, according to the sign!!!  Amazing more wasn’t made of it.

IMG 3138Whilst on a water and soft refreshments spot(!), a convoy of MGs drove through the town. Many were right hand drive but Belgium and Swiss plates.

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Home at last.  It’s only been 16 nights!


1189 –  Chill

Saturday 8th June

We chilled and did admin.  I discovered some great off lead walking up hill!


1190 – Relentless Rastonica Gorge

Sunday 9th June

We sallied forth with the bikes and the Os-car.  Flask of coffee and picnic on board.  We’d been told, by the Tourist Office, that the valley road was not suitable for motorhomes.  We would have been fine for the first 6km, as there was a campsite nestled amongst the trees and bend in the river.  Thereafter, it would have been impassable to us.  We have to think about these things again now that we are back in Jez.  What no one had told us, is how relentlessly steep and uphill all the way it was.  I was in full Pleasure Mode (full power) and 1st gear for a good chunk of it.  At one point a French car slowed to let me continue the ascent, he then gave me a clap … he’d no idea we had no intention of making it to the end or that I was using full power.

But the scenery was stunning.  I couldn’t take any pix one the way up, or I’d not have got going again!  We kept going till a cafe as J deserved a cold beer … their lunch menu was light and not extortionate, so the picnic was aborted!   We didnt make it all the way along the valley to the car park; we’d done enough with 10k uphill!  It was a super easy plain sailing all the way down.


Spot the fish head.


The pics really don’t do the scenery justice.  The guide book described it as the most attractive gorge… certainly the best we’ve seen so far.


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Hot work. 




1191 – Plans Change

Monday 10th June

We’d planned to walk the Travignano Valley; footpath only.  But the forecast was low 30C … we aborted this idea as far too much like hard work in this heat and humidity.  Especially as the first 1.5 km would have been along the road with two over excited dogs.  As well as water for us, we have to carry even more for CO2, making heavy back packs.  So we did another chill down / admin day.  These seem to be a bit of a feature now it is much warmer.  We did clamber up steps to the town to find the cash point as the campsite didn’t take cards.  J had another deserved cold beer and we both had ice cream.  A couple of typically Corsican flavours are Chestnut (mountains are covered in Chestnut trees) and fig.  Fig jam is also served like quince jelly, as a side to cheese.

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Being a bridge man, J was able to inform me that his was cable stay and suspension.

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I’m a woman, what’s your super power?  But is it symbolic that it was on bin?

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1184-1187: Giving It The Finger

1184 – An Unwanted Drive

Monday 3rd June 2019

I should explain the title … Corsica is the shape of your hand with a clenched fist facing you and the index finger pointing up.  Cap Corse is the index finger.

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We’d planned to have a no driving day after the longish drive to get here.  And the log cabin with wide deck felt so relaxing.  Great views out onto greenery; we couldn’t quite see the sea, but you had to turn your head around to the right before you could see the field of motorhomes.  This was full of people of a certain vintage oozing through the day, taking siestas in the sun.  And we planned to have some of that.  

But plans, as you know, go awry.  

We’d been told by phone that the quote from the garage for the work on our MH would not arrive until Tuesday, but it pinged into my in box on late Friday.  After 5 abortive phone calls to the garage to tell them to go ahead (phone dropped in cradle, left to ring and left on hold for 20 mins etc), we gave up and drove to the garage.   At least this campsite was only an hour away.  At the garage, the receptionist found our paperwork and J duly signed off the repair.  She took my email and phone number and promised to get back with when the work would be completed … no prizes for guessing, that she did not.

By the time we’d done a big super market shop and found some half decent dog food, it was lunchtime and I’d not even had a coffee.  So we HAD to stop in a seaside village and have a light lunch … but this was then followed by dessert … so not so light after all.

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Campsite Domaine La Pietra … after one of the local beers (although it would have been the beer named after the place!).  Not cheap, but wonderfully calm setting.  Wonderful bird song.

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As the weather hadn’t yet really hotted up, we could have done without the shady afternoon deck.  We used the clothes airer and one of the sun loungers to gate CO2.

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A strawberry version of Tiramasu … with our lunchtime view.

1185 – Cruising Cap Corse

Tuesday 4th June

Picnic packed, we drove north around Cap Corse and back across the hills in the middle.  Coffee in a pretty dead village. Great views, but not as wonderful as the drive from Calvi to Porto.


Porticciolo with one place open for coffee.


Macinaggio, top right of the finger.  Pretty enough if you’d wanted a restaurant lunch or a boat ride, but nothing else here.


Moving around to the top left to the viewpoint at the Moulin Mattei, this was the lunch stop.


Master of all he surveys.

1186 – A Stiff Climb and Reward

Wednesday 5th June

Rather than be (completely) idle we trudged in the heat up to the ruin that we could see from our cabin deck.  Wonderful views, once we’d hauled ourselves up the last section by the rope provided.


About 20 stones telling you the plant names.  We just couldn’t always work out which plant they were referring to.  I recognised Rosemary!!!


And up we go gently …

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… and not so gently.

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And J making it look easy on the descent.

1187 – Thurstrating

Thursday 6th June

Car loaded (jam packed), we headed off across the Cap to continue the western side of the finger.  We’d been told we could collect the car (probably) late afternoon.  We picnicked on a beach just north of Nonza, and then about 2.30 I tried to ring the garage … eventually got hold of someone!  Zut alors!  They’d ordered the wrong part!  They would try and get hold of the correct one urgently, as we had been waiting a long time, hadn’t we?????  Er … yes! 

OK, so we are homeless and based on their work rate so far, we thought we wouldn’t get the car back until Monday … earliest.  So onto the phone to campsites for cabins at our next destination … Corte in the hills.  Finally, we phoned a site – the elderly-sounding gent said no problem … he would start to get one ready? H spoke to K alternately in German and Corsican French… after a total of 3 hours driving, wearied at 6:00 pm (dogs dinner time) – said gent said – NO DOGS – “Merde”!!!  He also blamed K for her bad French! Absolute bollocks – pardon my Irish…  Nothing daunted – we drove to the nearest town – Corte – to find a hotel – quick success – and doggy friendly with private parking.  The accommodation was 3star – a bit retro and tired but – a large comfy bed and big bathroom….  On being asked country of origin by the receptionist, K asked wasn’t it evident from her accent.  Non, madame speaks good French with an excellent accent.  K was therefore rather scathing (impolitely) about deaf and blind old men running customer facing businesses!  Food needed – so up to the square and a nice family restaurant. Then a glass of wine in our room – and lots of zsssss for all.

What will tomorrow bring? – “The return of the Jedi/Jezi”?????   We’ve had “The (Fiat) Empire Strikes Back” and “The Longest Day”.   Hope springs…..