It was already time to leave Bonafacio - much to my disappointment. You saw how captivating the place was as depicted in my previous post.
Last night I researched the possible route options available to me moving north and realistically I had two choices: head north west to Ajaccio or head north east to Porto Vecchio. That's 'Porto', not 'Ponte' - as in the old bridge in Florence. Having deliberated over my two choices, it eventually boiled down to two simple factors: cost of accommodation and the travel distance involved.
Ajaccio was nearly fours hours away and accommodation was both thin on availability and looking expensive. Porto Vecchio was three hours and had multiple offerings akin to last night's pricing and so I went for the latter. In saying that I would have liked to have gone to Ajaccio for two reasons; it is considered the island's capital and happens to be the place where the French emperor Napoleon was born!
I'd also learnt that it's central Corsica which is particularly mountainous and so even if I wanted at a later point to go from Porto Vecchio to Ajaccio, it would not be a quick journey from east to west. Instead, it would be a much longer route up and down or down and up to get there. That, sadly, put an end to that scenario.
With only three journeys per day at this time of the year, I caught the last bus at 12:15pm. This was OK timing for me as it allowed me an hour in the morning to make one last small hike up the mountainous area adjacent to the citadel and therefore opposite to where I was photographing in my previous post.
If I didn't have a bus to catch you know I'd have attempted the trek to that lighthouse in the distance.
Mid afternoon I arrived in Porto Vecchio and so it was time for the same, slightly daunting process as yesterday - finding cheap-as-possible accommodation. This time round I managed to at least bookmark in advance two potential places that claimed to be 1) close to the bus drop off point, 2) supposedly priced similarly to last night. Without any difficulty I found the first bookmarked hotel which was surprisingly close to the port. Naturally I went in to enquire and that's when I had a stroke of luck....
Today was the 29th of September. According to the leaflets at reception, from the 28th onwards it was 'season 2' meaning prices were no longer 70 euros but 50! You can imagine my joy and as so I signed up there and then thankful I didn't previously reserve this room with Booking.com as they were still showing the old-season prices!
Bags dumped, time for a quick nose around the city for a couple of hours.
Here's something that surprised me though. Below you see the port and with this, you can associate the prices I speak of above and therefore the type of people that frequent such eateries.
However just one street behind the port you see this standard of accommodation!?!?
Still, the area claims to be prestigious and with high teens/early 20s for something remotely substantial to eat, I guess that confirms that. So much so that in the evening I relied on a nuttela and banana crepe to get me though.
Before I went to bed, me and my half empty stomach had to decide our next destination. Again, I found myself torn between two routes but this time they were either: the simple route or the harder route. Which do you think I went for.............?
Around here folks I'm happy to take the simpler option and so off to Bastia it was which was directly north and conveniently the port destination for how I will plan to leave the island. The alternate route was to have taken a considerably longer bus journey to Corte, then on to Calvi before eventually needing to get back over to Bastia anyway. Different time, different scenario, I'd have definitely gone for this.
See if you can make out some places on the map to give you a better idea of some of the places I've described.
As for Bastia, first and foremost it's predominantly known for its port. Infact, there are a few ports just in Bastia if my understanding is correct. Oh, they have a football team too but if you follow football, you probably already know that. Cycling fans may remember in 2013 this was the starting stage for a Tour de France.
For the third time in as many days I utilised the same system of recent times. I bookmarked two hotels close to where I had believed the bus stop would be, walked around until I found the hotel and expressed joy upon discovering they too adhered to the same 'low-season' rate also effective from two days ago. At 52 euros, I signed on up.
The weather turned a little during my afternoon here but I was OK with that because it didn't rain, just got a little overcast. It did however get super-windy which only enhanced my experience of when I ventured from the port and central area to Le Vieux Port (the old port).
Tough gig for the fishermen in these conditions!
Time to get closer I think to the following. What can I say, curiosity got the better of me...
In the morning the heavy clouds dissipated and allow another beautiful day to shine through meaning time for a little wander up high and the first time I'd seen proper green grass in ages!
Steve - hopefully these pictures have brought back some good memories for you?
By the time you read this folks, I will have said goodbye to Corsica and will have (hopefully) landed on the mainland of Italia again. If I'm correct, it'll be on that type of ship and worryingly, that brings back some old, unpleasant memories for me...
Just time for one lasting photo of Corsica: