the islands travel blog

Livorno's canals did give some extra interest to an otherwise ordinary town

Saturday markets are a big deal in Livorno

Moby line ferries do a brisk business

the ferry's cafe' was doing brisk business on the way to Corsica

Pirate .... no! ....Pilot coming aboard

finally, Corsica....

.....and Bastia made it a welcoming sight

'rugged' doesn't do the coastline justice

winding round Rocky Mountains was fun

not too sure about the grey sand but otherwise very pretty

running streams and mineral springs are everywhere

rocks, rocks, beautiful rocks....

....we drove round them, over them, or through them

"don't worry about me"

"we were here first"

alpine landscapes were another feature of Corsica

never a dull moment on most drives

a little snow is always nice

the scenery was ever changing

"no, this won't do...there's no vacuum"

Corte was a great hilltop town

The short drive to Livorno went effortlessly and allowed time for coffee and pastries in the town centro. A walk around was next during which we checked out the local ancient fort and some local streets. Being a Saturday it was market day and the place was buzzing. Stalls covered numerous streets which was a little overwhelming until we came across the main attraction. A massive building incorporating even more stalls. No matter the overall size the markets were packed with shoppers so we took off.

After some minor confusion we finally found our way to the departure terminal for our ferry to Corsica and were welcomed by very helpful attendants who got us on board safely. The Moby Lines ferry was massive but again not anywhere loaded to its capacity.

Some vino, chips and chicken and we were set for the four hour cruise. Plus more coffee.

After all the years of waiting and past disappointments, if we hadn't reached Boney's birthplace this time Gilli might have been a little more than nicked off.

Our first glimpse of Corsica as we approached the dock gave us a feeling of calmness. Not really sure why, but it did. Maybe it didn't look busy, it just looked orderly.

Once off-loaded, which was a breeze, we took off to our unit near Bastia which was home for the next four days. Things did change when we joined the traffic, helter-skelter was the game.

A 50 kph speed limit ? way, they were into it....90 to 100 was more like it. What could we do but join in.

We wanted to join in again the next day but there was next to no-one on the roads. But it was a Sunday so we struggled on our own and drove up and around the northern area of the island. Very rugged, quiet and rocky. Little wonder homes were built using stone in times gone by.

Another day we drove coast to coast, from Bastia on the Ligure Sea to Calvi and Porto on the Mediterranean. This was a drive full of surprises. The landscape was amazing, changing continuously from massive rocky outcrops, wild scrub to alpine forests.

And then there was snow, beautiful snow from the night before.

If all that wasn't enough to keep us entertained we had cows meandering around.

And then, there were pigs. Pigs, pigs and more pigs rooting up the road edges and generally wandering all over the roadway.

Throw in the occasional dog laying on the centreline, we had it all.

Not one single animal showed any concern, they knew they were in control. It's drive through or around them any way you can. It was a little like mixing it with Italian scooter riders although they are much more lively.

Calvi, a small town, was not particularly outstanding except for a snippet of info Gilli came across while doing one of her favourite things, reading. It turns out that way back in 1451 a certain Christopher Columbus popped into the world and later grew up in Genoa. As Corsica and in particular the Mediterranean coast was thought of as being extremely 'rough-and-ready', his birthplace was never openly disclosed. Is Gilli a brilliant PA or what ?

Another mountain drive took us to one of the oldest and quaintest towns we've visited so far. Corte

clung to the side of a steep mountain overlooking a river and valleys and must have been a busy little place in its day.

With the top half explored we headed south toward Bonifacio to check out the bottom.

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