Nice, Corsica, Sardinia and Bologna 2016 travel blog

Houses teetering on the Bonifacio cliffs

King of Aragon steps, view from sea

Going down the vertiginous cliff side steps - view from inside!

White cliffs of Bonifacio

Now we know where 1 of our missing 12 Apostles has gone!

View of the marina from our hotel

Sunset gloaming on the bastion, Bonifacio

Fabulous clouds at sunset

Night lights, Bonifacio

Evening view of the citadel from our hotel, Bonifacio

Tall ship, Sea Cloud 2, anchored in Bonifacio

Sharon in colourful new Corsican dress, Porto Vecchio

Tasty ham, Roquefort and walnut crepe

Our ferry from Corsica to Sardinia


Bonifacio is utterly improbable. Think of fantasy movies or books such as 'How to train your dragon' or the Narnia books, with unusual architecture and skies filled with dragons and forests with talking creatures. Of course, we have neither dragons nor talking animals in Bonifacio. But, the first sight of the town of Bonifacio - from a small boat bobbing on the water - does arouse a sense of wonder. The houses on the edge of town are built right up to the cliff edge. No backyards or Hills Hoist clothes lines here!!! I have no idea how they paint or otherwise maintain these cliff top buildings, which are often 4 or 5 stories high. Living in one of these houses must feel like being at sea continuously, with no land in sight, and sea breezes (or gales!) making air conditioning redundant.

The photos also show the precipitous stairway called the King of Aragon steps that is carved into the limestone cliffs on the west coast of Bonifacio. (If you look carefully at the second photo, the angular cut in the cliffs is these steps). Legend says that the steps were carved in one night during the Aragonese siege of 1420. Although there are only 187 steps, they are very steep and not all the steps are cut at the same height. I found it much harder walking down, as I had to step down with each foot, in turn, onto each step. There is also overhanging cliff, so you need to be careful not to bash your head , camera or bags. In contrast, I found it much easier to climb back up these steps. However, I must admit that it took two days before I felt the strain on my thighs from this climb.

You can also see in the photos what a hard life we have had with our hotel location for our four night stay here in Bonifacio (that's a joke). Our hotel faces the marina, so we gaze out every day at numerous small yachts and cruise boats that take visitors out of the harbour, as well as very impressive superyachts. Cathy has googled at least three of the superyachts to see where they are based and where their journey is taking them next. We also see the 'high town' and the bastion/citadel of Bonifacio. Each night, the bastion is lit by a light show. Cathy has been giving me some free photography lessons (hooray) to improve my skills at taking photos at night. I was quite pleased with the outcomes of my night photos of Bonifacio.

Although the scenery is gorgeous, we have also had some seriously heavy rain. On our second day in Bonifacio, Cathy went for a walk along the cliffs edge through scrub to be caught in heavy rain and winds with a Swiss couple. She ended up crouched on the ground, with head bent towards her chest, to shelter from the rain and winds. Next minute, a minivan stopped - they were close to a road - and it was Xavier, our tour driver who had transferred us from Ajaccio to Bonifacio. He asked if Cathy - and apparently, more importantly to him, her camera - were okay! He then drove off with his full minibus to continue that day's tour. Of course, the bonus of the 'weather' has been some magnificent clouds. I particularly liked some of the sunset views from our room each evening, with pink clouds wafting over the citadel and marina.

Tomorrow we catch the Moby ferry - about a one hour trip - to Sardinia. The Straits of Bonifacio are quite rough, as we discovered today when we took our second boat trip out of the sheltered waters of the marina onto the open seas. These boat trips provide the fabulous views of the limestone cliffs, but today my feet and legs had a second shower, courtesy of the waves that came crashing over the back of our boat. I now always wear my acupressure wrist bands to prevent motion sickness and these have worked well on both the boat trips and the curvy mountain roads.

So, au revoir to France and ciao and benvenuta to Italy!



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