The Corsican MoorDwight Peck's personal website

Corsica in the Off Season, 2007

Corsica, the grudgingly-French island off the coast of Italy. We're catching the off-season rates, late November and early December 2007.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Ferry from Marseille, and Bonifacio

All aboard at Marseille port, we're on our way on the overnight ferry to Corsica, 23 November 2007, to walk about and see sights.

The ferry cabin meets our expectations. Now for dinner and then the hilarious Werner Herzog satire Incident at Loch Ness on Kristin's MacBook.

A dawn stop at Ajaccio (Napoleon's home town), and then we're onward for Propriano on the southwest coast at mid-morning, 24 November.

Part of the port of Ajaccio, with clouds

The "bridge" or control centre of the enormous Paglia Orba

The crew runs up the Corsican Moor-flag as we follow the port's pilot boat into Propriano.

Propriano in the morning

Propriano port on an overcast November day

Passengers exiting the car deck of the Paglia Orba after most of the cars and trucks have got off it in Ajaccio. Our car (the sturdy Volkswagen break called "Dieter") is sitting in a semi-formal carpark back at Marseille port (nominally 10 Euros a day, but the entrance and exit gates were broken), and we're on foot. We'd meant to take the train to Marseille and we've booked a budget hired car in Propriano, but the French rail workers were not only out on strike, they were setting fires on the TGV rail lines.

The formidable Paglia Orba of the SNCM line -- not much bad to say about this thing, in terms of price, efficiency, solidity, dinner, nice little cabin, excellent breakfast, etc.

We've picked up our cute green little Renault Kangoo in Propriano and now we're driving south to have a look at famous Bonifacio. That's a Genoese watchtower (one of 67 remaining on the Corsican coasts) out on that point -- we'll get used to seeing them in the next week, almost strewn underfoot.

Famous Bonifacio. The town is said to have been founded by Bonifacio (no surprise), Marquis of nearby Tuscany, in 828, but it was seriously "bastionized" and "citadelized" by the Genoese after they took the place in 1195 and set it up as a sort of dependent republic.

Downtown upper Bonifacio, within, or atop, the walls

Excellent medieval streets. Doubtless teeming at mid-summer, but we have the place to ourselves in November -- glorious! except that we're having trouble finding an open café that's got a WC in it.

People's stairways up from the street, much steeper than allowed in modern building codes.

The view from the seaward side eastward out along the coast

The coast just east of town. The stack just off the coast is called the Grain de Sable, or 'grain of sand'. It departed from the main cliff in the 12th century.

A city built with an extraordinary sense of confidence

Even the residential houses have buttresses

On the lookout for an open café!!

A view from the upper city walls back down into the Bonifacio port in the cove

Moments earlier we were having a coffee in that café up there on the left. Basically airborne!

A look back at the upper city from out on the point

Fairly modern gun emplacements at the end of the point

Lighthouse off the point of Bonifacio

Sightseer seeking more sights to see.
Looking like a bullfighter in the ring when the bull has failed to show up.

Out on the point, the astonishing necropolis, called the 'marine cemetery', a wonder among wonders.

A lovely quiet village (in fact, a VERY quiet village -- they're all dead)

The village square in the city of the dead. A very quiet village square.

One could do worse, in retirement, than a tidy, quiet little village like this. The names on the family tombs seem about equally represented by French- and Italian-sounding surnames.

Kristin browsing the village streets, with an eye out for a fixer-upper with a 'for sale' sign on it.

The view back down to the lower town. It's time to leave now -- we're expected elsewhere!

Taking a break on the east coast road up from Bonifacio to Arelia, heading for Corte in the interior by nightfall

Base map:

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 17 December 2007, revised 7 June 2012, 25 September 2014.

Corsica, 2007

Corsica, 2009