4/10: Day Sixteen
It’s here…..my last day in Corsica.
My plans for today are many and varied. Hike to find a waterfall and river? Drive to the mountains and hike another part of the GR20? Take a boat trip? Ideally I would have loved to make my way up to the Scandola Nature Reserve. The reality is, I’m not sure my final day in Corsica will be as memorable as I had anticipated.
Last night was fraught with nausea and headaches and this morning I wake feeling washed out and lethargic. I eventually force myself to rise and head out to take some sunrise shots….I
know if I don’t I will regret it later. I am not even sure where to go to get the best vantage point, and at this point, I’m not even that bothered. I would rather be back in my room with my pounding head planted in my pillow for the day.
I find a parking area and make my way toward the rocks that line the shore. The first glimpses of light are peaking over the mountains in the distance and the pink and purple hues spread across the horizon. Even though I am not feeling well, it is impossible not to be impressed by this sight. There is definitely something about the rising and setting of the sun that is calming for the soul.
I wander along
the palm lined shore front and happily snap away as the sun makes it’s way into full view. Children are bustling around with school bags on and the traffic is becoming quite hectic. I guess it’s hard to forget that for the local’s, it’s business as usual.
I walk around the marina afterward trying to suss out out a boat trip. Any chance of getting to Scandola is gone….all day trips left first thing. I settle for a trip to the nearby Iles Sanguinaires later that afternoon. Trip booked, I head back to the hotel and have some breakfast. I collect together what I need for the day and head out once more to explore Ajaccio. By this time it is mid morning and I am feeling a little better.
Finding parking in the city centre proves to be a challenge and I eventually find an underground parking lot and park. I decide there and then, that regardless of the cost….I am staying parked here all day.
I come across a mini train and climb aboard…..the train takes myself and the other passengers on an hour tour around Ajaccio. At the furtherest point of the journey I am able to see the islands I will be visiting in a few hours. The driving skills of the train driver are phenomenal….I struggle to manoeuvre the car in and around the narrow streets. This guy trails four carriages between closely parked vehicles in busy parking lots, with ease!! I got my money’s worth just watching his skill!!!! We take in the views and listen to the commentary that provides us with an abundance of knowledge and history of the local area, in several different languages.
I notice a casino not far from where our journey ends and I walk back to have a little flutter. I only have an hour now, before my boat leaves.
I wait on the dock alongside other people eager to board, and once on settle into a seat on the top deck. The sun feels warm against my skin, but the gentle breeze ensures it isn’t too hot. A perfect day for cruising the ocean. The trip is, again, complimented by commentary sharing points of interest with passengers….well….presumably they were. Unlike the train ride, this commentary was not provided in English so I had no idea what was being said.
Upon arriving at the island, everyone scuttled ashore and made their way to either of the two tourist attractions on offer. I chose to climb to the lighthouse first and was puffed by the time I reached the top. The views were astounding and you were afforded a sweeping view back toward the mainland, including Ajaccio and North to Pointe de la Corba. I hiked next along the path up to the Genoese tower. The island looked to be a place that one could spend an entire day at without getting bored. The urge to climb down the North side of the island and swim in the glistening blue water had to be curtailed as I figured I would be on some sort of time restriction. I needed to keep the others in full view to follow their lead as I was unsure how long we were here for…..another down side of not learning the local lingo!
I decided not to take chances and headed back to the small jetty we were moored at. I noticed some of the men from our boat swimming nearby so I made my way across the slippery rocks and asked to join them. They spoke a little English and were extremely friendly. The water was divine and I wished then that I had more time to relax and enjoy it, however, the men started to get out and I knew our time must be up. I followed their lead and went back to the boat with them. The wind in my face, on the trip back, was refreshing. My skin felt tight with the salt water and I could feel the sun beginning to burn my skin. By the time we disembarked I felt I had a glow about me. Not sure if that was from the sunburn, or just an internal glow of contentment.
Back at the hotel I showered and laid down for a bit. I was exhausted. I decided on a cocktail at the bar before heading to the dining room. Unfortunately, that decision meant later, when I was ready to eat, the dining room was full. There was a function on. Not willing to wait another 45 minutes before ordering I retrieved my car keys from the room and went for a drive in search of something quick for dinner. Mindful of the fact I had to be at the airport before 4:30am, I wanted an early night. It was already 9pm by the time I found a Burger King. The queue for the drive-through was about 20 cars long!! I opted, instead, to walk in. It turns out that was just as bad and as I waited patiently in line I began to wonder if I might have already eaten had I stayed at the hotel and waited!
It seemed like forever, but I was eventually tucked up in bed with my bag semi-packed, car fueled, alarm set and hotel bill paid.
My last night in Corsica! I felt a little sad. It has been an adventure of a lifetime and I have enjoyed every minute of it……okay, so there were actually a few moments that I did not enjoy at the time, but am so very grateful that I had the opportunity to experience them. Glad that I was able to face challenges that pushed me beyond my comfort zone and reinforced my belief in myself. This journey has been not only a journey exploring an unfamiliar country, but a journey exploring myself……an invaluable experience.
I will leave Corsica hungry for more!!!