2/10: Day Fourteen
River Bella to ………..
The thunderstorm through the night was like music to my ears. My journal is still beside me when I wake. It is my grandson, Lachy’s, birthday today.
I know I have to leave today, where to…..I’m not sure. I think I might try to find a backpackers around Bonafacio? I’m pretty sure Jo and Brigitte are down that way so my plan might just be to catch up with them. We’ll see. First things first though-they were having problems with the Eftpos last night due to the storms, so I needed to get some money out from an ATM in Aliria,and I needed to send a birthday message to Lachy.
I get dressed and head down to the car. There is a tower just south of the resort that I might try to get photos of with the sun rising behind it. Of course, what seemed like an easy task turns out to be another headache……the sun rising behind the decrepit yet glorious tower would have to remain an image in my mind. I could not find the road that lead me to it, despite having seen (from afar) many vehicles parked nearby yesterday.
I gave up and continued my drive to Aliria, stopping once in a while to take photo’s. Once I had withdrawn money from the ATM I parked just out of town and made a birthday video and sent it to him. Happy 3rd birthday Lachlan Kyle!!!!
The day is a little brighter with a lot more blue showing in the sky! I go for a swim when I return to the Resort. There is even a bit of a bite to the sun today…..almost a shame to leave. I was told at reception that even after you had checked out you were welcome to stay and enjoy the facilities. I was not sure if this meant you had to check out at 11 and could then stay, or you could hang around and just check out as you left. Decided to err on the side of caution and check out before 11. I began doing my housework, cleaning my little abode as I shuffled my belonging out the door. There is a little semi-enclosed foyer type outdoor area at the front of the bungalow. I had just finished cleaning this when the non English speaking barman approached. “Bonjour Madame.”
“Bonjour,” I replied.
I indicated to my bags and looked confused. I said “I’m leaving,” and tried my best sign language that supported what I was trying to say. He asked if I wanted a massage and I figured when I’d pointed to the direction of the car he must have thought I was saying I was going to the spa. “No, I had a massage yesterday.” I don’t know what happens in your head that makes you continue to speak in English even when you know someone doesn’t understand you. I accompanied my words with the best sign and body language I could muster. His sign language however, was a lot clearer than mine…….. Now, at this point I feel I should use the good old saying……….. “What happens at band camp, stays at band camp.” What I will tell you is, there are lessons to be learnt from every situation. The lessons I learned from this scenario? 1) You don’t need to understand someones verbal language to get your message across, 2) Language barriers can be overcome without speaking, 3) I believe I am owed a massage and 4) “What happens at band camp, stays at band camp.” 😀
Every holiday needs one of ‘those’ stories. Every holiday is incomplete unless you can tell at least one story that leaves your audience gobsmacked. Well my story belongs in this spot right here…..this is my story……..
…………….. (I hope you did this spot justice!!)
The rest of my afternoon was spent casually lazing around, soaking up the sun’s rays and finishing off with a cold beer before leaving. As I stood at the bar waiting for my beer, the TV showed chaos and I wondered what in the World had happened now? There were frantic scenes but the newsreader, naturally, narrated the scene in French. The sub titles, also, were in French. As I walked out with my beer I noticed ‘Las Vegas’ flash across the screen and made a mental note to google that when I next had wi-fi.
I had a ‘semi’-plan in my head. Drive toward Bonafacio and call Jo and Brigitte to see what they’re up to….if I get waylaid along the way? So be it. Go with whatever the Universe throws my way.
I head South when I leave and stop occasionally to take photos…..oh and climb random hills to get to any of the many towers that surround this island. Each one of them stand proud and tall, and hold secrets from era’s before us. Each one worthy of time spent exploring, that I just don’t have. I scramble up a few and admire as much of the passing countryside as I can.
Porto-Vecchio turns out to be another occasion where I do an endless spiral of u-turns. I get momentarily trapped in a supermarket car park which results in a wild goose chase trying to get out, followed by me ending up on some back street. There are people milling about everywhere and I slow down to about 10km/hr to accommodate the massive crowd, many of whom are casually walking on the road and crossing ad lib. As I get closer to the heart of the crowd I see the reason for this horde. Signs everywhere advertise Rallye Tour De Corse Historique and there is a thrive of activity around the many cars displayed to my left. This is obviously a big deal here.
I continue driving South until I see signs that indicate I am on the right path and very near to the Southernmost region of Corsica. Bonafacio is stunning!!!! I am captivated by her beauty!! The sun is low so there are already streaks of pink and purple hues dancing across the township when I arrive. I follow other cars and try to get myself a good vantage point; excited about how these photos will turn out. The backdrop is spectacular…to say the very least!!! The play of light and colours mixed with the age old setting, was a photographers dream!!! Instead, however, I drove around…and around…..and around in a seemingly endless spiral, trying to find somewhere to park so I could take a photo….or at least enjoy the view. By the time I parked and got out of my car, the best of the day, from a photographic perspective, was gone. I strolled through the market area which was thriving with activity. My nerves were still a little raw and although this was one of the towns I had planned to spend some time in, I felt a little inundated and found I was keen to escape. I think this is one of them ‘pro’s and con’s’ scenarios……where the con of driving is that by the time you calm your farm from the stress of driving….you have sometimes missed the best of what is on offer, and you’re too exhausted to appreciate the crumbs!!! I made my way back to my car and the final nail in the coffin was the decider…….I was stuck in the car park….boom gate not working….unable to read instructions…..information attendant when I pressed ‘what appeared to be the intercom’ button could not speak English…….sweating……knowing I now have no choice but to drive in the dark to look for accommodation……..ONCE AGAIN, slapping my forehead in frustration at my own stupidity! How many years would it take for me to learn to be more organised!!!!?????? GEEEEEJUSSS!!!! I think the attendant just gave up…..whatever happened, the boom gates lifted and I was gone!!!! I shot out of that car park like a woman possessed!!!! The sun has well and truly set now and upon leaving the confines of Bonafacio….it is black. Again, I start to doubt myself.
I spoke to Jo and Brigitte and they also, decided against Bonafacio and settled instead for a town called Santene.
I looked on the map and figured that might be too far to attempt tonight……as soon as I could find accommodation (hopefully backpackers), I was in!!!! I drove….and drove….and drove. The first accommodation park I tried had closed for the season….the day before! I decided to head in the general direction of Santene, when I came across a neon sign advertising bed and food!!! I whipped the car into the car park and made my way to the reception. “Parlay Vous Anglais?” I asked hopefully. The lady shook her head. I tried to use sign language and the little French I knew to ask for a bed and a feed. She understood the bed part and was telling me something about the ablutions…..I’m guessing maybe it was share toilets?? Anyway….I didn’t care, I just wanted to stop driving. I got my credit card out and asked about food…..indicating putting food into my mouth. She shook her head. I pointed to the Neon sign outside that said, ‘Restaurant’ and she shook her head, saying “non.” I thanked her and left…….my hunger was much greater than my apprehension about driving at night. Time to face another challenge and pray there were no ridiculously skinny roads down this way!! Even if I can find food….I’ve decided I can sleep in the car.
There are not a lot of towns en-route, and the few villages I pass through are dark and appear deserted. I came across a small town that also looked dead, then noticed a small sign pointing off to a road leading West. I quickly take a left because the sign promises camping AND restaurant …..the little road I follow gets darker and narrower….there’s someone up my butt so I pull over to let him pass …..while I sit there waiting for the car to pass I am having second thoughts. No reception to check maps or search Google to try to find out where the heck I am; should I go on? I continue, mainly because the alternatives don’t seem like better options…. I take a couple of dead end turns before coming to a small wharf. There are a few cars here, some yachts moored, but no sign of people. I backtrack once again and carry on heading in the same direction. It is dark and I feel like I am basically in the middle of an abyss, when out of nowhere I stumble across a hotel!! I can’t believe my luck!! I pull in and approach the reception desk. I am tired, starving and desperate………I am willing to pay any price for a room or be subjected to any conditions. I have gone past caring if this is a five star or a half star establishment…..hell I’d even stay if the rules were dining naked were mandatory!!!!!!! When I enter I am greeted warmly AND the man speaks English. Between myself and the couple behind the desk we work out that I want a room for one night for one person and the price is 99 euro. Not exactly backpackers price but given my track record, if I leave, I may end up spending the night freezing in the car. I take it and am offered a choice of double bed with no view or single bed with ocean view……after the amount of croissants, pasta, pizza, wine and beer I have consumed lately, I’m not sure I will fit the single, but opt for the Views anyway. Before paying I ask expectantly, do you have food? “Oui,” I am told, “but the restaurant closes shortly so you will need to be quick.”
I quickly have a shower as I realise I am still covered in beach sand from this mornings dip in the ocean- ‘that was this morning?’ I take a couple of seconds to reflect on my day before accepting, yep, it was. I hurry down to the restaurant before it closes. As the lift doors open at the bottom, the noise is deafening. The restaurant of this hotel I stumbled across in, seemingly, the middle of nowhere, is packed. The crowd is jovial and it is hard not to be affected by the joyous atmosphere of this room. A waitress seats me and between our limited vocabulary of each other’s language, I order.
The meal was beautiful, but the dessert?? A whole new level of superb! I would gladly have had three courses of the dessert alone. Soooo tempting to lift that plate and lick it to within an inch of its life!!! Delicious!!! It was a thin base of set milk chocolate, topped with stewed pear, then a layer of chocolate mousse, with a dollop of cream and chocolate shavings to top it off. This masterpiece was presented on a plate swept with melted dark chocolate.
After dinner the crowd made their way next door to a lounge bar. Here they all joined the MC for the night for a Music Quiz. I would have dearly loved to have joined them as they laughed and sang along…..but not a word of it was in English and I was way out of my depth. As I settled into my luxurious bed and settled my head on the cloud of a pillow, I listened to the music and laughter from below. They went well into the night and the sound of such happiness sent me easily to sleep. I think I fell asleep smiling ……….
Another big one…Night all,
Love you 40-leven