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Published: July 31st 2013
The citadel and the beach.
Anyone following our blog for the last 8 years knows that we seldom have negative things to say about the locations that we visit. I wish we could say the same about Corsica. The natural beauty was the best aspect of the island. We met some nice people, but in general the locals aren't too welcoming to outsiders. It is a VERY expensive island and in many ways terribly over-priced: bottles of water for $5 and gas was $8 a gallon. Traveling by car was an exercise in patience. Our 100 mile day trip to Bonifacio took 3 hours each way. The congestion of cars at the round-abouts in each village caused traffic back-ups and long delays.
On the positive side, we found a great restaurant in Ajaccio, Da Mama's, which was in a 200 year old building that was once a wild boar smoke house. The bus allowed us to ride through Ajaccio for free. That was a great help since we were staying about 2 miles outside the city center. Our train trip to the interior city of Corte, on the TGV (Train of Great Vibration), was great. The train went through the National Park with excellent views
of mountains, canyon gorges, rushing rivers, and waterfalls. Many hikers from the GR 20, a hiking trail that runs through the mountains for the length of the island, were picked up by the train as we continued on to Corte. It was a beautiful 2 hour trip.
The coastal cities of Ajaccio and Bastia were rather unattractive and shabby. Ajaccio is the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. There are numerous statues of him throughout the city. The house where he was born and lived until he was 19 was a major attraction. Bastia had a nice harbor and citadel, but the city buildings were very shabby and neglected. Corte, in the interior, was a charming medieval city in the mountains.
We were looking forward to seeing Bonifacio in the south. This medieval city, high on the cliffs overlooking the sea, was one of the reasons we decided to visit Corsica. The long, tedious trip was not the coastal drive that we expected. Once we arrived, there was NO parking and the city was unbelieveably crowded. We cruised parking lots and narrow city streets for nearly 45 minutes before heading out to the nearby cliffs for a parking place and
Main St. in Ajaccio
We think the crown is a reference to Napoleon. Ajaccio is the capital and the economic center of Corsica.
a view of the city. Unfortunately, this was as close as we got to the city.
We had great expectations for this island. It was disappointing to pay so much and to feel like we got so little in return. But, Chamonix was next and that was ALL good!!
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