Corsica - Beautiful, but difficult


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July 31st 2013
Published: July 31st 2013
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Ajaccio, CorsicaAjaccio, CorsicaAjaccio, Corsica

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 AjaccioMain St. in AjaccioMain 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!!

RPM


Additional photos below
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Napoleon's MemorialNapoleon's Memorial
Napoleon's Memorial

Napoleon's achievements and conquests are listed on the marble between the stairs leading to the statue.
Da Mama's RestaurantDa Mama's Restaurant
Da Mama's Restaurant

This 200 year old building was once a smoke house for wild boar.
Corte - the CitadelCorte - the Citadel
Corte - the Citadel

The interior city of Corte was once Corsica's capital.
Genoese WatchtowerGenoese Watchtower
Genoese Watchtower

Numerous watchtowers were built along the coast of Corsica when the Genoese ruled the island. The citadels in the various cities were also built by the Genoese.


31st July 2013

The Corsican Tyrant
Don't return with a Nepoleon Complex, please! I read something recently saying that Nepoleon was NOT the little short guy we have all heard, but rather of average height for his day and age. Any insights on that one? Beautiful scenery. The traffic problems, lack of parking, and some rudeness made me think you were in Buenos Aires. I am so glad I now walk to work!
2nd August 2013

Corsica
We enjoyed your blog, & the pic's.... Sorry you were disappointed, but you have been really lucky to have seen sooo many tourist/friendly other area's...
3rd August 2013

Wow
Fantastic, Pam. So gorgeous. Stay safe with the new travel warnings..... Valerie

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