Two things about Corsica:
1. It's the ideal location for a James Bond movie. Everywhere you look, you find the perfect spot for an evil lair or a perfect beach for a hot Bond girl to emerge from the water in a skimpy bikini. On no fewer than three occasions, I found locations where Nazis might be lurking in massive underground lairs, training dolphins with head-lasers. Impressive.
2. During the ski trip in February, a few of us had a discussion about our ideal place to live. I said I need to be near water, preferably salt water. Others needed mountains, and I agreed that I need a mountain too. So my ideal place would be a seaside location with a mountain sticking out of it. That's Corsica.
Day 1 (Tuesday):
After a horrendous travel experience (the worst of the summer - and those of you who have been following my summer travel know that this must've been BAD) I arrived at Bertrand's house with Benjamin and found this:
Susannah was supposed to be on the flight from Paris as well but missed it not just on Tuesday but also on Wednesday due to train problems, so for the first couple of days it was just the three of us.
Day 2 (Wednesday): Hiking
Day 3 (Thursday):
Susannah arrived and brought some fancy clouds (read: crappy weather) with her from London. We went to beach anyway, but it was inundated with jellyfish floating around and beaching themselves. Did someone say Global Warming?
Proving to the jellyfish that we're not afraid of them
Due to jellyfish, Benjamin was forced to surf on a log:
Benjamin & Bertrand arguing over the best route back to the house
On the way home we visited this cool James Bond style house, which has been bombed and rebuilt three times. I thought we had trouble at my parents' house, where we have to argue with the neighbor below about cutting his hedges every year. Here you just bomb houses that block your view. Awesome!
The mountain jutting out of the sea
We finished the day with champagne, of course.
Day 4 (Friday): Scuba diving
After diving we treated ourselves to a dip in the neighbor's pool before going for a run on the beach.
After the run, I took a shower and emerged to find this:
This was obviously related to the Ibiza-style sunset, the lack of oxygen caused by running, the cheesy dance music, and the consumption of a beer immediately post-jog. Ben sang to his "fans" for a little while and then we all joined in and once we finally calmed down, we went to see a "polyphony" performance. Basically a capella singing... with very sad music. On the way home we made up our own to cheer ourselves up. Fortunately for you, this did not make it on video.
Day 5 (Saturday): Francesc arrives, attempted hiking and big dinner
Hours after Francesc arrived we decided to go hiking. Bertrand looked up at the mountain where we'd planned a 4 hour hike and said, "It looks like rain up there. Do you guys want to do the shorter walk along the sea instead?" and we all said, "NOOOOO the mountain!" And so we went. And proceeded to get dumped on by rain.
An interesting thing about Corsica is that they are adamantly opposed to Coca-Cola. So they have their own rebel brand, Corsica Cola, the packaging and taste of which is a complete ripoff of Coca-Cola. After our rain-soaked hike, we decided it was time for some Corsica Cola, since we didn't have any other choice... besides champagne.
That evening we went to Chez Edgar for the Most Filling Dinner of All Time. After five huge courses (including the smelliest cheese ever, which comes in a JAR), we had to roll ourselves out of there. Also, if you've never seen two guys play the same guitar at the same time, I'd suggest you pay a visit. It was pretty impressive.
Ben (before he passed out due to "over-heating") and Francesc
With Edgar himself
Cheese in a jar
Day 6 (Sunday): Benjamin leaves, the rest of us mope, oh and take the beach hike
George W. Bush in the rock. Scary!
With Bertrand & Francesc
With Francesc and Susannah
What else are you supposed to do at the top of a mountain besides strike a pose?
Day 7 (Monday): Drive and boat to Bonifacio
We left around 8am for the 3.5-hour drive from Bertrand's house in the northwestern part of the island down to the southern tip and arrived at Bonifacio (after some serious negotiations with locals about the price of our boat trip) just in time to have some crepes and see a bit of the town.
We then got on a boat and headed for the Lavezzi Islands, which are a nature and marine preserve and the southernmost point in Corsica. After a bit of wandering and climbing we found our own little private beach where we swam and relaxed until it was time to head back to Bonifacio.
On the boat en route to Lavezzi
I do not recommend climbing on volcanic rock in a bikini
Susannah found a wiser way to enjoy the rocks
Incredible rock formations spring up all over the island. (And that lizard-like thing on the top is me.)
Before heading back north, we stopped at another incredible beach for a rousing, action-packed round of beach paddle.
Day 8 (Tuesday): Rent a boat and head south to Porto!
Unusually rough waters and lingering jellyfish didn't stop us from enjoying a day on a rented boat, complete with water skiing, dolphin sightings, and jellyfish attacks.
This photo is in no way altered. That is the real color of the water. (And this was pre-jelly-attack on Sus.)
Dusting off the old waterski skills
Susannah on the lookout for jellyfish
Rocks and sea
Hanging on for dear life
Day 9 (Wednesday): Lounge around by the pool, stretch and complain about being sore from water skiing, play tennis, go to the top of a mountain for dinner
Hmmm we seem to have taken no pictures the whole day. I guess we needed a rest. Anyway, it was a nice relaxing day.
Day 10 (Thursday): Susannah's last day!
Before we dropped her off at the airport, we managed to buy some jam and smelly cheese at the market and take in one last mountaintop village.
Day 11 (Friday): My last day! :(
All good things must come to an end. So after a morning clean-up and house-closing session, Bertrand dropped Francesc and me off at Calvi airport. We managed one final mountaintop village visit and had a lemonade and then it was time for the long haul back to Barcelona. I left Corsica at 3:20pm and arrived at Barcelona at midnight, completely exhausted but finally refreshed and recharged enough to think about starting classes again.... on THURSDAY!!!
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the hospitality and uber-planning of our host extraordinaire, Bertrand. Thank you for an amazing vacation! (I will manage his Corsica tourism business that he doesn't yet know he will be starting next year.)