corsica of course

Planning our next trip abroad  has us returning to the Mediterranean, a place I can’t stay away from too long. Some of our best travel memories involve swimming in this wonderful, sparkly, salty sea, off the rocks in Agay, France or Monterosso, Italy. A trip most memorable was when our daughter was three months old, we were living in Italy and we took our first family vacation to the beautifully natural island of Corsica.

We (and our car) hopped a traghetto from Savona, Italy to Bastia on the island of Corsica, France.

Heart pajamas were a good choice that day, as they smoothed an unfortunate and unnecessary encounter with police at a routine traffic stop on our drive down, due to a mix up with our car maintenance papers. (Even armed Italian policemen won’t resist a cute baby.)

We loved Bastia, with its surprisingly urban city feeling on an otherwise natural island. There we got a great feel for the unique Corsican character which is sprinkled with a little Italian and a little French, due to a history involving both countries (Corsica was under Genovese rule until  1729 when the Corsicans revolted and enjoyed independence for a short 40-year period, later ceding to France in  1769 . They still have an uneasy relationship with mainland France, at least it was the case many years ago, and Bastia has been the target of bomb explosions by Corsican militants).

Ferries arrive to Bastia's port

We drove down the Eastern coast of the island to Santa Giulia. There, at the recommendation of friends, we rented a villa at Les Toits de Santa Giulia  and every morning went for a swim in the nearby bay.  The beaches there and nearby were beautiful in  September, and the sparkling water and red rock formations were breathtaking.

the bay of Santa Giulia

La plage de Palombaggia was the most unforgettable beach (and likely the coolest place I’ve nursed a baby.)

the beach and beautiful red rock formations at Palombaggia

The nearest town, Porto Vecchio, offered a delicious bakery and creperie, just in time to remind us we were in France, as it’s easy to forget with so many reminders of Italy. Porto Vecchio has always been a “remember when?” moment, when we purchased a much too expensive International Herald Tribune to satiate my english language news craving, and driving off, watched each of its pages fly off the top of the car, where I had left it. (I blamed it on new mom mushy brain).

A highlight was the drive down to Bonifacio, at the southern most point of the island.

Citadel and cliffs of Bonifacio

The reconstructed and renovated citadel was originally built in the 9th century along with the foundation of the city. Bonifacio is known for its chalk-white limestone, sculpted in unusual shapes by the ocean. Not a stroller-friendly town, baby was put in the carrier and we explored this town on foot. Standing on the cliffs, we could see Sardegna.

white limestone cliffs of bonifacio with sardegna in the distance

This year we won’t make it back to Corsica, but we are researching islands not far from it, closer to the Italian coast and in the Tuscan archipelago. Whatever the weather when we arrive, my first order of business will be to jump in and take a swim in my most favorite sea of all.

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17 responses to “corsica of course

  1. thanks for sharing. I am also desperate to get back to the Mediterranean, the places you have mentioned are not towns I am familiar with but i’ll look them up and see if we can include them in our itinerary!

  2. ohhh how beautiful!!! One more place to add to the list, thank you 😀

  3. Beautiful photos! What a wonderful adventure. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What beautiful pictures, and your baby girl is ADORABLE! I love that you’re all going back, I can’t wait to hear about your new adventures in Italy with two children in tow! They’re going to love it.

    Ah, your post has me yearning to return to Italy for a visit someday soon.

  5. Oh, I would love to go to Corsica! Thanks for sharing these photos of your wonderful trip there with your family. I love the south of France which is my only experience with the Mediterranean, and I really want to return. Happy New Year!

    • I love the south of France as well (I’d love to swap favorite places). Hope you get the opportunity to return and maybe even catch a ferry to corsica. Happy New Yr!

    • and, sunday, in case you get a chance to read this, I haven’t been able to post successfully on your blog for what seems like a technical issue! It always happens at the verification stage (it doesn;t allow me to write in the security word- the screen just goes sort of halfway blank). I hope the glitch works itself out! I’ve tried several times.

  6. This is really lovely. We were in the South of France camping last summer and we were also told to hop unto the ferry and head to Corsica. Someday…
    My husband will definitely love this place especially those rock formations and cliffs (he’s a geologist so rock exposures always interest him).

  7. I cannot wait to go. So proud of you guys for doing it as a family!

  8. We have a boy who will be 1 year old in May and are thinking of hiring a villa in May – near Porto Vecchio (in Precojo)… he will be walking by then. Any views as to whether porto vecchio and surrounds is suitable for toddlers/babies? We would hire a place with a pool and grassy area! Corsica looks amazing.

    • I only know the santa giulia area which is not far from porto vecchio (maybe 10 minutes or so, if I remember correctly) – I’m sure he will love the beaches in the area. – Especially the ones I mention in my post which are all close to porto vecchio. enjoy your trip and thanks for stopping by.

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