Porto Vecchio, Corsica

We spent the bulk of our time exploring (okay fine, laying out on) various beaches in Porto Vecchio.  Seeing as the beaches are all blurring together for me, and I think Janine summed them up awesomely (yes, that’s a word) on her blog, I think you should check out her posts: here, here, and here.  But I will leave you with some photographs, obviously.

Plage de Tamaricciu and Plage d’Asciaghju.  These are connected and have several beach bars/restaurants connecting the two.  I ordered a Heineken at one and received the smallest beer I’ve ever seen.

Golfe de Santa Giulia.  There was a lot of woodsy debris on the sand, leaving a small strip for the beach.  However, the water was very clear and warm.

Cala Rossa.  This was our favorite beach–we came here twice.  For one, the beach itself has more room to spread out.  Also, the water gets deep-ish relatively quickly so you can swim and there are less naked toddlers running around.  This could be a pro or a con depending on whether you have kids.

The restaurant 37.2, which is on the beach, was great–good food and amazing location.  Also, the beer is a normal size.  However, I got chased down the beach for stealing a Magnum only to explain that I paid for it.  Word to the wise, if I were to steal your ice cream, I probably would not do it in a red hat.  Just sayin’.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

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GR20, Corsica

I was thinking that we would do some hiking in Corsica other than our accidental hike in Bonifacio.  One quick search on Google* would have told me that the GR20 is not some path for sissies–it’s a 180 km trek beginning in Calenzana, which “traverses Corsica diagonally from north to south,” and ends in Conca, and is recommended as a 15-day hike.**

We decided to check it out, so we drove from Porto Vecchio to Conca in Sainte-Lucie de Port-Vecchio.  Really, this was a short drive (13 miles), but with the traffic, it probably took over an hour.  But we got to see things like this.

Once we got to Conca, we saw a sign for the GR20 and parked.  As it turns out, there were about 10 forks in the road after that sign, none of which were labeled with which direction the trail began. (Answer: Pick the path towards Radicali.)

We walked up each road to the end before finding the entrance (featured above).  In the heat, I was dying before we even found the trail.  Which by the way, was pretty awesome.  However, I can’t imagine doing the other 179 km of it, at least in that heat!

*Actually, I met two guys on the RER heading to the airport who told me this, since they had just done the trek a few days prior.  Who needs Google when there are cute strangers?

**For those who are curious, this website lays out everything you need to know about the GR20.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Ajaccio, Corsica

Based on Garance Doré’s blog, we headed to Capo di Feno on the northern tip of Ajaccio on Sunday before our flight.  Who doesn’t like boarding a plane covered in sunscreen and sea salt?  Okay, maybe me.  But our flight was so delayed, I think I was actually clean by the time we boarded.

To get to this beach from the main road, you have to drive down a narrow, rugged path (it’s two ways, I promise).  You’ll pass some horses and barbed wire.  Keep going.  At the end, you’ll see a parking lot and an amazing view.  You’ve arrived!

Since you’re in the middle of nowhere, it’s good they have a restaurant on the beach.  However, if you want prime front row seating, you have to make a reservation.  You should definitely come with an appetite as the portions are enormous.

This was one of the nicer beaches we went to.  The beach itself was very wide with tons of room to spread out.  The water was shallow for a long ways out and is perfect for swimming and/or paddle boarding.  Although you wouldn’t know from these photos, there were waves.  I swear.  Lots of people were surfing and body boarding.  The waves are fairly calm though, so don’t come expecting to catch a big swell!

We walked around Ajaccio after laying on the beach, but seeing as it was Sunday, most things were closed.  So we headed to the beach right next to the airport, where we drank beers before our flight.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Bonifacio, Corsica

Bonjour!  Nine beaches, numerous long car rides, and one-very delayed flight later, I’m back in Paris after spending an amazing week in Corsica with Janine.  With Garance Doré’s blog, French Elle’s August 2013 issue, and some recommendations guiding us, I think we did pretty well.  Although it’s hard not to have a good time in Paradise.  Corsica is a land of endless beautiful beaches, saucisson, and magnums, and where 80 percent of the people on the beach are wearing bikini bottoms and no tops (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration).

Last Monday, we flew into Ajaccio on the west coast and drove three hours to Porto Vecchio on the east coast.*  During the week, we explored Bonifacio, Ajaccio, and Porto Vecchio (where we spent most of our time).  A word to the wise, if you’re going to Corsica, download maps in advance.  My map application barely worked and the maps you can get from the tourism offices have few, if any, names of the roads (or don’t show the roads at all).  Also, there is a lot of traffic on the island (at least in August), so expect to spend a decent amount of time sitting in the car!**  We’ve become very familiar with the four songs that rotated on the radio.

Bonifacio.  We spent a day in Bonifacio, famous for its limestone cliffs, which is about 18 miles south of Porto Vecchio on the southern tip of the island.  We parked near the cemetery, and headed towards the town.

The view from the town, looking down, was not too shabby.

After walking through the town and loading up on French pastries, we decided to walk along the path towards the lighthouse.  If you look down from the lighthouse, you will see what appears to be a beach.  We were curious and decided to make it our mission to get there.

We walked for over an hour before cutting down towards the beach.

Climbing down in flip flops was probably not the easiest means of transportation, but we made it!

Finally, the reward.  There wasn’t any sand, but it was pretty secluded and the water was gorgeous.

*Turns out the airport in Figari is much closer to both Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio, but EasyJet does not fly there, and apparently Kayak thought it would be funny to hide this fact from us.  On the bright side, we got to see a lot more of the island!

**We were very grateful that our hotel found us a rental car with an automatic transmission, since there were tons of hills, turns, and traffic.  Also, I really need to learn how to drive a manual. 

© Sarah Milstein 2013