Corsica IV – Bonifacio & DIY

15th-17th September 2017

Danny’s birthday Kindle had landed on the island and obligingly fit with our intentions by being delivered just before lunch – Danny was so keen he went down to the pool to wait for the little yellow La Poste van to arrive and hand over his long awaited present. He was delighted and played with his new toy until we headed off for Bonifacio.

A nice drive through the hills of south Corsica until, closer to Bonifacio, we started hugging small sandy bays and saw the results of some of summer’s many wildfires. Away from those burnt-black areas the coast was very pretty with plenty of white limestone, small curves of white sand and blue seas.

There is a campsite on the outskirts of Bonifacio but the advice everywhere was to avoid unless desperate. We weren’t so drove to a very nice site about 5km away.  We hooked up, ready to go for a drink at the pool, and our luck changed – there was no sign of the hook-up working on the control panel. We got on our knees and checked all the relevant bits in the underfloor area. Very perplexing. It was nearly 5.30pm here so we were just in time to catch Travelworld before they closed for the weekend. They suggested there wasn’t enough current coming into the van from the site’s 6A hook-up so were fairly hopeless – Friday afternoon syndrome. Eventually we gave up and went for a drink. We know our priorities,

Bonifacio was tantalisingly close but there there was no public transport there, taxi’s were impossible without a lot of advance notice, and the roads were too dangerous to cycle or walk in. We took the advice of the receptionist and drove in early next morning, finding the right car park before 9am. So glad we did – all the car-parks were full with long queues waiting by mid-morning. We’d hate to see it peak season.

The first thing we saw was a Spar – what an amazing shop. It looked tiny outside but inside was the best Spar Tardis we have ever visited (sad, aren’t we? Don’t answer that). We got the shopping out of the way then went next door to the poissonerie, selling freshly caught local fish which looked delicious, and got the fishmonger to fillet a lovely Dorade and a couple of sardines for dinner.

Shopping stowed we headed off to explore. Despite Danny pointing out every obstacle Kate quickly stubbed her nail-less toe and bled profusely leading to some emergency first aid. She recovered sitting in the sun on the harbour-side while Danny had a haircut – it was starting to look a little wild in these coastal breezes.

Bonifacio is Corsica’s most southerly point and looks straight across at it’s neighbour, Sardinia. The harbour is at the end of a long narrow inlet with steep white limestone cliffs each side and is lovely. There is a chic marina with some expensive looking boats and a ferry to Sardinia leaves several times a day. Lots of boat trips for tourists too.

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Most of the town – all the old town – is high up on the narrow peninsula of limestone on one side of the inlet. Built by the Genoese with a citadelle at the landward end and a cemetery out at the tip with excellent panoramic views. Why the dead got the best views we still don’t know.

We walked up along the inlet which gave great views of the boats as we climbed, particularly a large, luxurious sailing yacht with at least 7 crew – another world.

The views from the tip of the peninsula were great, particularly the long sweep of white cliffs to the east sparkling in the sunlight.

But lunch was now beckoning so we walked along the opposite side of the peninsula and down into the maze of narrow cobbled streets flanked by characterful tall old buildings hunting for reasonably priced Moules Mariniére which Danny had a craving for. We found a great little cafe which provided what he is convinced are the best Moules Mariniére he’s ever had and Kate had a hot goats cheese salad that was excellent as well.

Re-fuelled we had the energy to explore a bit more so went up to the citadelle where people dressed in medieval clothes were demonstrating weapons and armour then descended out of the the original gate, over the drawbridge and down the cobbled causeway into the lower part of town.

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We thoroughly enjoyed seeing Bonifacio and wished we were staying closer, but now it was time to hunt out a DIY shop. The nearest was 21 miles away up the east coast at Porto Vecchio so we drove up there, through the town’s port and found the Weldom DIY store which brought a smile to Danny’s face.

We had a couple of things requiring DIY – one of the mirrored bathroom cabinets has decided to unmoor its hinges from the wall; the big set of kitchen drawers decided to go for independence after some of the bumps that Corsican roads had inflicted; and our kitchen tap was on strike. And there was our electrics problem. Danny had a nice shop.

Next morning Kate got up at 07.45 and the battery alarm was showing. And no charge going into the batteries from the solar panel either. Danny went out and plugged in the long lead and hey presto, there was electric to the van. Felt very stupid for not thinking about a problem with the lead and wondered why Travelworld hadn’t suggested it as an option.

So a relaxed day sorting problems – or some of them – and the next adventure tomorrow. We have really enjoyed our time on the island our highlights being our first campsite & beach, the boat trip, the hair-raising drive through the mountains and Bonifacio. But what will we remember about Corsica most? The number of these we saw :

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