Bonifacio and beyond; a wonderful, sunny day in Corsica...
BONIFACIO, Corsica - Another wonderful day in paradise; definitely part of France but feeling more Italian, dominated by mountains but surrounded by lovely coastline and great beaches.
I had a great tour of Bonifacio in the morning. It's a town at the far southern tip of this island in the Mediterranean, situated high above the sea on a limestone cliff. There's a harbour that looks like a fjord, an old castle/military fort on the headlands, a medieval-looking town and a lively harbour full of beautiful people - and the occasional journalist.
I've tried loading photos but it's just not working. Sorry. If you want to check some of my pics, go to twitter.com and look for jbyers11. I filed a few twitpics today. More coming up in the pages of Star Travel, of course.
Corsica definitely is one of the most scenic and interesting places I've ever been. I had, oh, about 22 hours but crammed a lot in. Still, I wish I'd had a few days to hike the cliffs and take in more apertifs on the harbour and poke my head into more shops in the haut ville.
Ajaccio was nice, but Bonifacio is truly marvellous. After an entertaining morning tour and a boat ride to view the city from the water - a definite must-do - I wandered aobut and then drove up towards Porto Vecchio. I had heard about a beach called Rondarina and couldn't resist a chance to dip my toes in the Mediterranean.
It's a stunningly beautiful beach, with water colours reminiscent of Tahiti and a broad, sweeping sand beach and lovely yachts bobbing in the distance. Lots of teens and families enjoying the day, too.
From there it was up to Porto Vecchio, playground of the stars, and then to Zonza. Wow. Can't way I enjoyed the drive - being a tad afraid of heights and all - but I went from 25 degrees and zero altitude to 1000 meters and 13 degrees in about 40 minutes. Zonza is a wonderful, small village high in the Corsican mountains near a ragged set of outcroppings called the Col de Bavella. A little scary for a chicken Canadian driver, but a truly marvellous sight.
After that it was a short, easy drive to Levie and then to my hotel, the A Pignata, just outside Levie. This place would need a GPS to find nowhere but it's a remarkable property. It gets just three -stars, possibly because the rooms are fairly basic. Still, it's nicer than the other three-star properties I've had in Corsica the last two nights, and it's a hugely impressive spot.
It's a touch hard to find; down a bumpy road for a couple km's and then up a steep, private road (I think). But there's lovely stone work and an indoor pool and nice, understated gardens and a spa and a remarkably fabulous restaurant. I had charcuterie from the local, wild pigs, then a rack of lamb that was really two large lamb bones with succulent meat literally falling onto my pleat. Amazing, flavourful stuff. Plus some lovely basked pasta and a cheese tray with local fromage supplemented by fig confiture. If you've got any Corsican cheese and fig confiture lying around the house, I highly recommend it. Three thumbs up.
Yes, I often wonder what I've done to deserve this kind of life. Corsica has been a dream of mine since I don't know how long. I only had a few days, but I've still got driving to do on Saturday and a boat ride near Propriano and hopefully a sunset from my hotel outside Ajaccio. Amazing stuff, and I'm truly thankful...