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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Clear Blue Waters and Tall White Cliffs of Bonifacio, Corsica

After hiking in central Corsica, we drove out of the mountains and down the East coast.  We arrived at our nice place in Bonifacio, on the southern tip, for a few days at the beach.  The water is so clear that the color depends on what is on the bottom: it's light green over sand, and dark blue over rock.  Most Corsican beaches are not backed by hotels, condos, and resorts.  Instead, they have rocky headlands with views of distant mountains.  There is often a cabana where you can get a cold drink and something to eat while sitting at a table under a big umbrella.

It was quite hot in the direct sun, so we bought a beach umbrella for about $20.  When we got to the beach, we discovered the top pole didn't fit into the bottom pole. The manufacturer had sent two poles with the exact same diameter.  So, without an extender pole, we had a three-foot high beach umbrella.  Good enough for lying down under.  The young Italian guy next to us came over and tried to help with the umbrella, but there was nothing to be done.  (Note: The good news is, I took it back the next day.  The manager said to pick another as soon as she saw me walk in. I think the whole shipment had been screwed up.)

The Italian guy and his girlfriend are in a four-year program in physical therapy and natural medicine at a university outside Barcelona, Spain.  Before the summer, he'd spammed the entire EU with his resume, and got a job working in the restaurant at a campground on Corsica. Camping on vacation is really popular in Europe.  There are lots of campgrounds.  He brought his old scooter with him.  His job comes with a cabin for the summer, plus what he considers pretty good pay.  The youth unemployment rate in Europe is around 25%, so he's doing great.  He'll begin study at a physical therapy school in Pennsylvania once he graduates from the four-year program in Spain.

This picture shows how Bonifacio was built on the cliffs.  The cliffs protected the part of the town facing the sea from bad guys, while massive walls protect the inland part.

On the other side, there's a harbor, where mega-yachts dock.  This one was nothing unusual. Notice the size of the cars and trucks behind it.

Photos from the walk along the top of the cliffs.  Windy and hot up there.

Seriously clear water.  

The "Grain of Sand" from above.  

From the boat ride, we could see the stairs we walked down (and up) the day before.  They call them the King's Stairs, but all they used it for was to get fresh water from a spring.  There's a walkway about 25' above the water.  You mightbe able to see a few people on it if you look closely.  It's easier in the full resolution picture.

The fallen hunk in the middle is "The Grain of Sand."  If you look closely, you can see the people on the small rock in the lower left corner.  

With a pizza from a tiny wood-fired pizzeria, and a bottle of wine, we drove up to the cliffs to watch the sunset.  It was incredibly windy.  We had the view to ourselves while we sipped our wine and huddled against the cool, blustery wind.

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