Yes, that means I've landed on the French island of Corsica and therefore the third of my five island challenge!
Just like we hear on the television, the following post contains some flash photography but hopefully not the type that will give you a seizure. .
But first we continue our journey together following my post...
Having arrived in Santa Teresa Di Gallura, the host of my pre-booked B&B was waiting for me in her car at the bus stop. It was at this moment I learnt that Rita didn't speak much English, in fact Rita spoke NO English meaning we would have to rely on my pitiful Italian. LOL - whoever thought they'd see the day!? I certainly didn't. When we got back to her accomodation, she kindly offered me snacks to which I accepted. We then conversed for a little while using, wait for it, Google Translate on her laptop. That's another first for me - a conversation whilst physically next to someone but not using our vocal cords. #weirdly amusing.
Thinking back I was gutted I couldn't have got here any earlier as I knew there was a beach really close by. Also I didn't know when (if ever) I would return to Sardenga but sadly this wasn't meant to be. Hopefully though I will get at least one day by the sea in Corsica. Time will tell...
I woke the next morning raring to go and catch the penultimate ferry crossing. My eagerness was partly to ensure I got to the port OK and also because I knew I would have a tough few hours ahead of me for reasons I'll explain later. Before I left there was just enough time for me to take a quick snap from where I stayed the night named:
La Finestra Vista Corsica - The Window overlooking Corsica.
I wouldn't mind this view back home out of my kitchen window. Instead back home all I get to see are the neighbourhood cats constantly shitting on my lawn and looking smug whilst they're doing it!
I made it to the port in good time - partly thanks to Rita who drove me down. Soon after I was a maritime passenger along with many others on this, our decently sized vessel. My fellow passengers were made up of families, a lot of older people (probably retired), some young people and of course, tourers, including many bikers. I tell you what though there were no backpackers! This made me smile a little and I was again proud of what I was doing and where I was going.
By 10am we had set sail and so I said goodbye to Sardenga and this, my lasting image:
Where Sardegna ends and Corsica begins:
Fast forward one hour and a blustery, but calm sail later, here were my new visions of land and it was at this point I knew Corsica was going to be special.
I exited the ship and followed the other foot passengers for a while occasionally allowing myself a glimpse of the stunning scenery around me as for once, my focus not on the beautiful scenery. Instead the most important thing to me was finding accommodation (and finding affordable accommodation) in Corsica. To be clear, I had no public wifi, several heavy bags, no idea of my surrounding area and would be walking in 30 degree heat.
I gambled on a direction away from the port and within ten minutes had found a hotel. Thankfully that proved easy enough.
95 euros - he kindly wrote down for me on paper after I struggled to understand the number he responded with.
I balked at that, claimed I was a student and asked for a better price. Needless to say he didn't understand any of my pleading. Doh! There goes any attempt at bartering. Bravely, or perhaps foolishly, I chose to move on completely unaware of where the next hotel/b&b would be and whether it'd be in vain and I'd end up paying the same price.
Thankfully I didn't have to walk more than another ten minutes. This time the price was 85. Better, but still so much money for a backpacker. I chose to move on knowing that I could come back here as a last resort and then the Resteghini luck finally kicked in. (Took its time though!). Not long after I found a place for 65 euros and took this immediately with a smile knowing my day could have been a whole lot more stressful.
I dumped my bags and got back down the port eager to devote proper attention to the scenery I only semi-partially absorbed earlier. Let me mention now that if I could magically transport each of you to any destination where you wouldn't need to spend a penny to enjoy the day, I'd transport you here for the afternoon:
Enough said in just one photo? No objection with being transported here then I'm guessing :-)
I can admit this was one of my favourites photos of the day but you'll be happy to hear there are a few more sure to tempt you to this island, starting with the port area and the wonder up-high that is the Citadel:
It was time now to make my way up to the Citadel. For your information there is a 'tourist train' that will take you to the top for 5 euros. For any semi-fit person, you won't need this unless you have a burning desire to sit on the train and be transported up. If so, fair enough - especially if an ascent like this might put you off:
I made it to the top and was surprised to see up here was a city within a city so-to-speak. I'm not sure what I expected from down below but I guess a preserved area for starters. Instead there were plenty of restaurants and tourist shops. Shame really but hey, everyone needs to make a living I guess...
Once I finished up browsing in the center of the medieval citadel, there was only one place I wanted to go and that involved slowly edging towards the end of land. It was on route to this point that I took many of the following.
That was the late afternoon crossing of what I had sailed over in earlier. This was literally the last sailing of the season!
Hope you liked the photos, folks. Proof then that many good things in life really are free and as an old colleague once said to me, 'Purchased experiences don't count'.
Strangely then I'd realised that within the space of just 3 hours, my afternoon went from potentially one of the toughest to one of the most spell-binding.
Tomorrow I'll look to make my way north up the island aware that public transportation in Corsica is more difficult and less frequent that in Sardenga.