3rd October: Day Fifteen
Pianottoli to Ajaccio
The smile was still with me when I woke to the unbelievable view from my window! The sun had still not quite poked its head over the mountains when I made my way to the seaside and out onto the jetty. Certainly far from what I could have hoped to wake to!! In my despair to accept any bed I was offered last night, it felt like I had stumbled across an oasis.
After snapping a hundred odd photos down at the beach and around the hotel, I sat down to a breakfast for champions.
People milled about everywhere, basking in the sun and the scenery. This place offered everything from a kiddy playground to an adults leisure paradise. If you couldn’t find something here to entertain you…..you probably should just never leave home. I did another seaside stroll before leaving …..and of course took another hundred or so photo’s. I made my way around a bend on the shoreline and had a dip before making my way back toward the hotel. I stopped along the way to stand back and breathe in the magnificence of this place. While I was standing there a lady approached and smiled. “Bonjour,” I greeted and smiled back.
“Bonjour Madame,” she replied and continued speaking in French as she swept her hand to incorporate the glorious views.
I put my hand up to stop her and asked, “Parlay Vous Anglais?” She shook her head.
You know when you meet someone, and you just know? You just know you are going to get on. You just feel their warmth and see the friendliness in their eyes? It was like that. She was an amazing lady and we ‘conversed’ for ages using my translation book, (which turns out had barely any of the words we wanted), sign language and the one or two words we A) knew of each others’ language, or B) sounded similar enough we were able to deduce what we were trying to say. Our mutual interest in learning about each other, was our common bond. I was amazed at how long we ‘spoke’ for and Fernande insisted on introducing me to her husband before we parted. The whole encounter a little surreal since none of us could speak the others’ language…….something that did not escape her husband as he looked at us both as if we’d lost our marbles!! I bidded Au Revoir to them both and made my way up to pack my bag and check out.
I hit the road again with my sights set on Santene. As usual, the trip took forever….not, this time, because of the roads, but because I kept stopping to admire the scenery and take hundreds of photo’s.
It was at one of these stops I noticed an amazing beach at the base of the mountain and decided on the spot I was going to find my way down for a swim. After driving back and forth for a bit I finally found the track that lead down. The beach, it turned out, was called ‘Plage de Roccapina’. The track down was pretty decent, a lot of forks in the road but I basically stayed to the left. I seemed, I found out later, they all lead to the same place. I locked the car and walked toward the glimpses of ocean I could see between the trees. When the foliage gave way to the open I was in awe of the beauty! A beach of soft white sand greeted me and the glistening blue water beckoned me. I hurried toward the far end of the beach to get away from the majority of the crowd. I stripped off (just to my bikini-nothing over the top :D), and went straight in. The water is crystal clear and so invigorating. I swam out quite a way and spoke to fellow swimmers that I happened across. One young lady was from Germany and we chatted for quite some time. A man rowed his dinghy up alongside us remarking casually, “You ordered a Taxi, Madame?”
She laughed and explained, “this is my husband.” To him, she said, “paddle away, I’ll call you when I’m ready.” They both laughed at their shared joke and I couldn’t help but smile at their casual intimacy. I reckon the value of having a sense of humour is Global, being able to have fun is so important in keeping relationships interesting.
I swam out to a yacht anchored a little way out just to take a selfie. Trying to explain that to the occupants in broken French was interesting!!!! After I got back to shore I decided I would tackle the hike up to the tower nearby. I started in my bikini’s because it was hot, then added a singlet for good measure. The hike up was wonderful and looking back down on the bay as I walked higher was breathtaking. It looked like a vision straight from a postcard. Stunning!! At one of the (many) forks, I decided on the left when I shouldve taken the right…..gotta love hindsight!! I came across a couple who looked decked out to the max. They had their hiking gear on, hiking boots, water, walking poles…..they looked bloody schmicko!!! “Parlay Vous Anglais?” I asked them. Head shake and zero smiles. They went to continue on the walk and I thought I’d give my trusty old sign language/broken French a crack. I attempted to ask if they had just come from the tower. They looked slightly agitated. I tried again….us Aussies are persistent buggers!!! “Is.. this… the… way…. to…. the….. tower?” I don’t know if it helps, but when I can’t get my point across I start talking to someone like they’re two…..like that will help!! Ha! what do you know? It worked!! They responded, “We’re lost.” They again turned to walk away. Sure I knew where I’d gone wrong AND not to be brushed off, I had another go.”It’s….this..way.. follow….me” and began to lead the way. I turned my head back and they stood there looking at me with bewildered looks on their faces. They were looking me up and down and shaking their heads……I could almost hear the cogs ticking over in their brain thinking……..”You’re hiking in your bikini, a singlet and those flimsy white ‘shoe-things’ and you want us to trust you? No thanks!!” With that, they turned and walked away in the opposite direction. Well, I trusted me, so I backtracked to my last turn and was at the top within five minutes. I scoured the bushland below for the lost ‘professional’ hikers so I could direct them out, but the foliage was just too thick!
For this reason, I took detailed notes on how to get to the tower WITHOUT getting lost!!! I will post them in a separate blog and link it here when I’m done. WELL WORTH THE WALK!!!
Back on the beach I saw a group of friends taking it in turns to photograph the rest. “I asked if they wanted me to take a photo of the whole group and they were over the moon! They looked like a fun bunch so I said, “On the count of three I want you all to jump in the air as high as you can.” They looked a little confused. Before they could ask questions or argue I started counting, ” one….two…three.” They all jumped and I snapped. The photo looked amazing!! They all crowded around to look and were delighted. I now made them go back for a couple of serious shots. They were very thankful as I left and I could still here them laughing and teasing each other while they gathered around the camera to have a better look. I smiled…….I love the sound of laughter.
Back in the car and on the road. i only made a couple more short stops before getting to Santene. I had been in contact with Jo and Brigitte but had nearly given up finding them after about three frustrating bog laps of the town. I ended up in a supermarket and used the translator on my phone to converse with the security guard there. She was amazing and gave me very clear directions on how to get to where Jo and Brigitte were waiting.
I found them easily and we whiled away the afternoon doing touristy things and having smoothies. Eventually I knew I had to say my final goodbyes to these two. I would be hitting Ajaccio just on dark as it was….knowing my luck, something could easily turned that into a midnight arrival!!!! They walked me to my car and we kissed and hugged. I love these two!! They really have been me shining lights!! So easy to get on with….just love them to pieces. I love their sense of humour too. After laughing about how I always have my mouth open in photos, they mimicked me as I took one last pick of the pair of them…..bloody ferals!!!! ❤ ❤ xxxxxx
The drive to Ajaccio was event free and I arrived to see the last of the sun as it fell behind the hills to the West. It took several laps to get the turn off to the hotel, but when I did, I was pleasantly surprised!! The hotel decor is magnificent. It oozed elegance. I waited for a while to get checked in and then made my way to the elevator. I spoke easily to the couple who got in behind me. They were from New York and this was their final night in Ajaccio. They were lovely to speak to and as they exited they invited me to join them for dinner. I agreed, but went to have a shower first. I feel I still had some sand samples in my bathers from Plage de Roccapina.”
Dinner was relaxed and pleasant. What a wonderful couple. I’m sure we could have spoken for longer but Ruth was not feeling the best and they had an early start. Arnold and I chatted for a bit longer, before he too, was ready to retire for the night. I felt priveleged to spend their last night with them and loved their company. I left at the same time Arnold did as I wanted to get an early start. Arnold refused to let me pay for my meal!! I was taken aback by the selfless gesture of two people I had just met!! I firmly believe that doing good deeds comes back tenfold (sometimes you may have to wait a while…..but I believe it happens), and for this I wish Arnold and Ruth an abundance of love and joy. They are a great couple that I am so very glad I met. xxx
My bed could not come up to meet me quick enough! I fell into the luscious softness of the mattress and drifted off to sleep on my cloud. I woke through the night, violently ill and did not sleep much past midnight. I hoped that I felt better in the morning but I decided against my early, early start to chase sunrise photo’s, and turned my alarm off.
Sweet dreams my lovelies…..
love you 40-leven