April 30, 2011


I underestimated Corsica's size.

I set off, starting at at Porticcio, where my hotel is, pretty near Ajaccio (recommended by a long-time Corsica go-er and now I would re-recommend it as well, a lot of charm here. Note: you don't want to be too near Ajaccio, that is for sure. A lot of cement and ugly buildings). From Porticcio, I drove the most serpentine road I had ever driven in all of my life - through mountains, along the coast. The advancing blue dot on the screen of the ipad (navigating in the seat next to me) kept turning round on itself, just like the roads. Since the thing was not locked, the screen kept flipping from a horizontal to vertical view with loops in the roads. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I felt really solitary too since the weather has been sort of on and off the whole weekend and I don't think the season has really yet begun. Hardly saw other cars or humans.

Corsica is this really wild and dense place. The vegetation is thick, it looks like lined-up broccoli heads all bunched together. And then other parts of the island are different, drier - arid, mountainous. It is all mountainous actually. What is surprising is how much Corsica there is with absolutely no human beings. The part where humans reside is often aesthetically sub-par. Most of the inhabited regions are concrete based and not very charming, with the exception of the little villages in the hills. The sea and the mountains are intimate comrades - they meet at every turn. This is why on every Corsican road, you are likely staring at the sea while navigating hairpin turns through the mountain and all of a sudden you can find yourself at a port.

I stopped in one mountainous village called Sartène. What would it be like to grow up in an isolated place like that? The man with his cane drew my eye, his posture, his way of life and the panorama made my nostrils and eyes splay.

Then around several bends in the mountain, I was staring at turquoise water and clearing skies. I descended and was inspired to take a random right turn toward the water. I give myself credit for discovering one of those places to which I know I'll go out of my way to come back (this is on N196 heading toward Bonifacio, the sign read "D358 Tunnara (Plage)." Plage is exact, in this case. The kind where coves of rocks create small concealed beaches all along the shore, where the flora inspires, where there are mountains in the near distance and there is still lovely sand at your feet. Just my kind. Sublime.


Maria Petrova said...

oh em! how i love how you see and describe things. one day Travel & Leisure will commission you.

PeregrineBlue said...

life at its best. you have it right and i admire you for it.

laceybediz said...

Beautiful! I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Corse and seeing it through your lens is so delightful!

Jill said...

I love your blog Em. Because of you I get to see things I would never get to see otherwise. Your photos should be postcards. So beautiful!

Be safe.

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