On Saturday morning we left our lovely holiday house in Calvi, to head a bit further south to the coastal village of Porto. I’d read that the roads are extremely winding, and it takes almost 2 hours to cover 70 km. I’d been warned by a Corsican friend of mine to take the ‘sick bag’.
But I was also told it was a place ‘not to be missed’ and ‘the most beautiful part of the island’.
And so we headed south. Liam was armed with his acupuncture wristbands and homeopathic granules to ward off the motion sickness (and he had a very light breakfast of cheese… that boy just loves cheese. All cheese.)
The first half hour of the trip was pretty standard ‘driving in the mountains’ winding roads, but once we hit the coast again, it turned absolutely spectacular. The road hugged the mountainside for the next 45 minutes with amazing views of the Scandola natural reserve, the Calanques of Piana, and the deep bays between them. The rocks were raging red, down to the deep blue and teal sea, accented by the dark green of the coastal shrubs and trees. We took loads of photos… none of them do any justice. So you’ll just have to take our word for it: we’ve seen a lot of beautiful places in the world, and this was truly breathtaking. It’s off the beaten path, as most tourists driving the island take the central ‘main’ highway from north to south as it’s more direct, and less winding. But then you miss gems like this!!
Liam was in fine form (mostly looking for BMW’s to count, or for quad bikes to shoot with his pretend tank), and we made it down to the tiny village of Porto just in time for a nice lunch.
I wanted to take us out on a boat trip to see the cliffs and coastline close-up, and there are three options: a 1.5 hour tour of the Calanques of Piana down to Cap Rosso at the end, or the 3 hour tour of the Scandola Nature Reserve, or a 5 hour combo trip. We thought it best to take the shorter trip, for Liam’s sake, and my Corsican friend (Remy) said that the Calanques of Piana were not to be missed.
We had time for a quick lunch in the village before our 2pm boat set off, and we were suprised at what a great lunch it was!! The Corsican platter had an amazing variety of corsican charcuterie (interesting to note that the translation of head cheese in french is exactly the same… and I still wouldn’t eat it — meat and gelatin just don’t belong together. Adam was happy to nom-nom-nom it!). Adam had roast beef and chips, and Liam had a gorgeous filet of rouget (a small red rockfish) with julienne vegetables. We had low expectations, but were pleasantly surprised!!
The boat ride was great (despite the ridiculous old british woman who for some reason thought it was perfectly acceptable to come and STAND directly in front of us, blocking our view, every time there was a perfect photo moment — of which there were many). It was good we took the short tour, as Liam was fading fast, and not really a fan — although he did say afterwards that he really liked it. Mostly he flopped onto me, head in my lap.
After the boat tour we checked into our hotel for the night… hung out at the pool for a bit, and then wandered into town for our last dinner in Corsica. Tonight, I’m springing for freshly caught lobster!
Porto is a funny little town. It’s very new. And it seems to only exist to sell boat tickets to see the coastline. And boat tickets for scuba divers. There is nothing else here… and I imagine that if you were to spend more than 48 hours you would go squirrely.
We woke up early Sunday morning, checked out, and packed the car to head back to Calvi to catch the afternoon ferry back to Nice. We arrived in Calvi with a few hours to spare, wandered the town a bit more, bought another couple of loaves of that amazing Herbs de Maquis bread, and enjoyed a light lunch down at the Marina.
After all that, I think we’re done with Corsica for now.
We were home by 9:30pm, and lights out by 11:30. It’s going to be a tough week catching up with all of the work that’s been piling up, but the holiday was well timed, and much needed.
All in all…. we liked Corsica. It’s not all that different from the south of France. A bit drier. A bit more rustic. Very charming. Great food. And not as swarmed with toursists… at least not in the end of June.
Next time… south island! And perhaps Sardinia?
Liam's last run in the garden!
Liam has his 'sick bucket' at the ready in case of car sickness!
A goat stops traffic....
Mumma, there's a goat in our car!
Down at the docks to go out on the 'rainbow boat'
A secret-squirrel beach!
Getting out to the Calanques... Cap Rosso to the right.
Wandering the tiny little town before dinner.
A view across the bay
Caves, tunnels and hidey-holes in Cap Rosso
Wandering the tiny little town before dinner.
Mumma and Liam, looking for treasures.
A sunset play on the beach... the beach in Porto is very pebbly!
The ferguson family.
Liam charms the restaurant... two servers ask for kisses, and the other patrons wave him off good night.