Saturday, 9 July 2011

Ajaccio - Bonifacio

We would have been foolish not to say yes to an invitation from Marie and Pierre to stay for a week at Porticcio, nr Ajaccio, in a villa that belongs to some friends of theirs. Officially Pierre was going there to install an extension to a watering system that he put in a short while ago. I helped with that and it didn’t take long! I also changed three non-functioning light switches and replaced a damaged plug, which earned me the honorary title of IngĂ©nieur Chef, or was that partly because I commandeered the barbecue?  There’s still an external socket that doesn’t work on the terrace, perhaps that’s for next time!

When it's very hot and humid, as it was during our stay, I recommend rosĂ© on the rocks. I was very surprised when Pierre did this, but I soon saw the wisdom in it! It’s very refreshing and reduces the alcohol content.

Ajaccio is a busy town and nearby, all along the coast, it’s similar but near the villa there are some beautiful rocky coves and beaches.

(Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them and use the back button of your browser to return to the blog post).

The villa was right next to the sea facing west, so there were also good sunsets looking out towards Les Isles Sanguinaires. The light house, which you can just see in the picture below, is a point of reference for both ships and aeroplanes arriving at Ajaccio.

We went to the promontary near the islands one morning and inspected the “Tour Genoise” built in the 16th century. They were used as look out points to alert the island against raids by the Barbary Corsairs from North Africa. Of the 120 existing in 1730 there are 67 still standing.

Bonifacio was the most impressive place that we visited. It is on the southern coast of Corsica, from which you can see Sardinia.  The town has a spectacular setting perched on a cliff overlooking the sea.
You can zoom in or out and change your viewpoint using the pop-up buttons at the bottom of this embedded flash movie. 

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And there are superb views of the limestone cliffs.

They have their own reasons for building flying buttresses, but the Mediterranean is an earthquake zone!

Apart from having such strong natural defences Bonifacio also has a naturally sheltered harbour, which has been used as an anchorage since Roman times but these days is filled with expensive yachts.

Like other towns in Corsica it has an eerie cemetery in the Italian style.

Bonifacio used to be the base for the French Foreign Legion until 1983 and these buildings are still deserted today. Some of the old structures are impressive but dilapidated.

I think it could be made into a great luxury hotel complex. There is plenty of space, even for a Las Vegas style palace, maybe Disney would like to consider the theme of the exploits of the French Foreign Legion.  I don’t know why it has been neglected for so long but perhaps Corsica has a bad reputation amongst international investors.

I can’t imagine, however, that the even less glamorous punishment block would find a new use.

And because Pierre likes sailing yachts here is another view of Les Isles Sanguinaires.

And finally him at the wheel somewhere in the Caribbean! I like the halo all round him.  He says it's normal!


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