Showing posts with label Corsica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Corsica. Show all posts

Thursday 13 January 2011

How to choose between Corsica and Sardinia?

For our main summer vacation last year M. and I chose Sardinia. Since we have already been to its closest island neighbour Corsica, we expected to find similar things there. Well... things were quite a bit different but definitely not disappointing.

Since these two islands are literally right next to each other, one would naturally expect similar landscapes. With the exception of its northern part, Sardinia is not very much like its northern neighbour. Sardinia (with the highest peak of 1834 meters) is hardly a match for over 20 mountains higher then 2000 meters on Corsica. If climbing is your thing, I suggest you choose Corsica. For hikers both islands offer more then enough options.

If you are into French cuisine, Corsica is the obvious choice. On the other hand, if you have a sweet spot for many kinds of pasta and excellent pizzas, Sardinia is a better choice.

For doing a round trip on either island, one should consider island size. Corsica is 2.5 times smaller then Sardinia. I guess three weeks are just enough for easily making it around Corsica. We tried to circle Sardinia in such a period of time and it was not such a great idea. We ran out of time and we had to quickly drive through many beautiful areas, completely skipping some of them.

Both islands have many stunning beaches. Sardinia is larger and has more of them. If sandy beaches are the kind you are looking for, Sardinia has more of those to offer. This doesn't mean there aren't any on Corsica. Sandy beaches might not be all that frequent on Corsica, but if you hate getting that fine sand everywhere, you might actually like this fact.

I also got an impression there are more historical sights and museums worth checking out on Sardinia. Corsica has a few museums, lots of menhirs and Genoese towers (mostly closed for public), but all of that can hardly be a match for countless displays of history on Sardinia.

Decisions, decisions, decisions... Corsica vs. Sardinia, nature vs. history, adrenaline vs. leisure, French vs. Italian and so on and on... The choice is yours.
Which ever you choose, you will not be sorry. If you can afford it, visit both. Just remember to take enough time to enjoy the trip and try not to rush from point to point. Keep in mind that things between planned destinations can be well worth your time as well. Actually just those unexpected jewels can be most memorable points of such a trip.


Monday 23 July 2007

Never-ending sunrise

Can you imagine how it would be, if a sunrise lasted for 24 hours? I must admit that until recently I haven't thought about that.

It was a few days ago, when guys from the Apollo Team contacted me and I have decided to share this with you.

The Apollo Team have started a project for which they need people from all around the World to participate. People from different time zones are necessary to accomplish shooting sunrises in their local places.

They will try to achieve installation of 24 live webcams to display sunrises around the Earth. The Sun will keep rising from screen to screen, from bottom to top vertically. This 'never-ending sun' will last for 24 hours in a day!

If you think this is a cool idea, check out their site at and give them a hand. I am sure they will appreciate it.

The above photo was taken on a beautiful September morning somewhere north of Bastia, on Corsica, France.


Friday 8 June 2007

Sleeping at a train station

I remembered this travel story when I was writing the previous post.

When someone mentions a train station, usually people get an image of a dangerous, filthy place, with graffiti sprayed walls and a bunch of suspicious characters hanging around.

Well, that isn't so even with the Ljubljana train station. I am not saying that I'd like to spend a night on one of the benches there. Not that I wouldn't feel safe or anything (I don't think much is going on there at night), but I am pretty sure that I wouldn't sleep very well. If nothing else, those benches don't look all that comfortable.

On the photo you can see a morning train stopping at Aregno Plage train station at Corsica, France. That is our tent in the front (my girlfriend is still trying to sleep - with not much effect, unfortunately).

The night before this looked like just another camping site with lots of shade under the pine trees.
We didn't even know at the time it was a train station until the rude awakening in the morning. Even then I found it quite nice. There was a sandy beach just over the railroad track.


Saturday 10 March 2007

A healthy dose of adrenaline

It was a sunny September day on Corsica. In fact it was just a few hours before an encounter with a beautiful fox. You can check its photo a few posts back.

Me and my girlfriend were decided to check out one of the adrenaline parks nearby. Our Rough guide recommended quite a few, but the one near the village of Chisa was supposed to be the best one. It was not until we were done with it, that I have found out it is marked as 'D (Difficult) - for those accustomed to the sport'.

After a morning swim in the sea we drove a few kilometers up a winding road towards our destination. Soon after the start I have noticed a car was following us. It stayed on our tail until the end of the road.

As soon we reached our destination, I have realized that I knew the couple from the other car back from our camping site. It was a French couple of our age and they even spoke pretty good English - that's not so common with the French people we have met.

After a short chat with them we have learned that what we have found is more a 'via ferrata' than a usual adrenaline park. That is a mountain route equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders and bridges.

All that made me and my girlfriend think. We had no climbing experience whatsoever. We were already thinking about finding some more appropriate terrain for our skill level, but fortunately the couple (Marie and Julien) offered us their guidance and support. They assured us, that with their help it's going to be like 'a walk in the park'. Get the irony of that statement?

The lady that rented us the climbing equipment, had also explained the proper ways to
use it - in French of course. Did I mention that we don't speak French?
The good thing was that Julien has managed to translate most of it.

The standard procedure goes like this: after a couple of minutes of instructions and a few tips you get your climbing belt, helmet and a couple of snaplinks. After that the kind lady gives you directions to the rock wall and a 'bon voyage'. It really isn't something for a non French speaking via ferrata first-timer.

And we were on our way. The beginning was not particularly demanding. Nevertheless we have soon found ourselves in the middle of the vertical rock. I didn't have much problem with that, but my girlfriend had to try hard not to look down too often. On one or two occasions her knees were shaking, but she persisted.

If you follow the recommendations the park is quite safe. There is always a wired rope in the reach. Just before the scariest two elements of the tour there are also two exits.
But if you are new to these things and with all the adrenaline flowing, it can happen that you forget an important thing or two. I can easily imagine some novice doing just that and as a consequence flying through the air and landing a few hundred meters below. No helmet could save you head!

If the climb itself with variations of monkey bridges (a low rope to walk on and a high rope to grab with your hands) would seem a bit monotonous to someone, fear not. To avoid such 'monotony', there were also three 'tyrolian slides. Those consist of two slightly declined wired ropes. Onto the first one you put some sort of a pulley whilst the second acts as a safety and emergency break. In a horizontal position, aligned with the cables, you push of the ledge and slide to the other side of an abyss. The longest of the three is 240 meters long. It was quite a ride!

It took us almost four hours to complete the round tour.
After it was over my girlfriend told us that she would have never believed anybody telling her that one day she'll be doing this climb. We have totally enjoyed the whole thing and have decided to do something like that again as soon as possible.

Thanks to Marie and Julien once again - we wouldn't make it without you.

Buy a Globe Trekker series DVD video about Corsica


Wednesday 7 March 2007

A romantic sunset in Corsica

If I have ever seen a romantic sunset, this was the one.
Especially considering the fact that I am a total opposite to a romantic. ;)

It happened at the end of last summer on Corsica. Me and my girlfriend were driving through the region called Les Calanques. It is a place with loads of weird rock formations glowing in blood-red colors a short time before sunset.

Considering the winding road and all those rocks to look at, it was close to a miracle to spot that heart-shaped hole in one of them. And by pure luck, the timing was just right to catch the sun in a perfect position.

In the end the short stop took us more than a half an hour. It was absolutely beautiful and totaly worth it.


Tuesday 6 March 2007

Bonifacio at dusk

Since I haven't found the time to post another one of my stories from my Corsican adventure, I have decided to share a sunset photo from the same trip. I promise to write a longer one in the following days.

Until then enjoy this scene of - by my opinion the most picturesque walled city on the isle of Corsica - Bonifacio.
It is an old fortified city built on a cliff. Some of the houses are built on the very edge of the cliff and directly over the Mediterranean waves. I was told that a couple of years ago, a piece of the cliff had broken off. Unfortunately the rock fell into the sea together with an old house, killing a few inhabitants.

This photo was taken in the beginning of September 2006.


Saturday 3 March 2007

Chained and hooded men

In my previous post I have mentioned my last year’s trip to Corsica. It lasted for three weeks and my camera had time to capture quite a few interesting things.

One of those things was definitely a fact that many locals who take part in religious processions wear different hooded robes. As you can see on the above photo, they remarkably resemble those of the Ku Klux Klan (or more likely it's the other way around).

What is even more interesting is a specific procession held in a town of Sartene.
Held on Good Friday, U Catenacciu, literally meaning "chained one", is a dramatic night-time re-enactment of Christ's walk to Golgotha. The procession is lead by the Grand Penitent, dressed in a hooded red robe and chained at the ankles, who carries a heavy wooden cross through the narrow candlelit streets of la Vieille Ville.

In the past the Grand Penitent was usually an offender, who volunteered for the role. His identity was known only to a local priest. By doing this the poor guy was supposed to pay for his sins.
The whole event could get quite rough - not so much today than in the past. It could include stoning and beating the guy under the red hood. Hardly anyone made it through this without injury, but it seems like there is no record of a death incident.

In spite of those few insignificant matters the very cross and chain on the photo are already reserved until 2040.
Don't hesitate too long and make a reservation today!

Buy a Globe Trekker series DVD video about Corsica


Friday 2 March 2007

Hey there, foxy!

And for once I am talking about a four-legged, furry one. ;)

This truly wonderful encounter happened on a roadtrip around Corsica, France. We were just returning from a full of adrenaline, climbing adventure near a little village called Chisa (that's a story for another post I guess), when something jumped in front of the car and into the bushes by the narrow road.
I wasn't sure what it was, but it seemed to me like the little creature has stopped not too far from the side of the road behind some bushes.

My girlfriend was not too excited about stopping, but I decided not to listen to her ("once again", she would probably add).

So I stopped the car by the road just a few meters ahead and turned off the engine.
After a moment of hesitation I grabbed my camera, silently opened the door of our car and stepped out. From there I could finally see what it was. A young fox was observing us from a safe distance. My girlfriend decided to join me and tried to take a couple of photos of the lovely animal.
She has tried, but was not satisfied with the results. The problem was that it was too dark to take photos without the use of flash.
The fox didn't seem to appreciate the flash approach. We thought that it was going to run away, but even a couple of flashes couldn't scare the foxy away. It was obviously just too curious. After every flash it has just retreated for a few steps, but always came back after a while.

Unfortunately the photos were no good. It was too dark and the fox too far away. Hoping for a better photo opportunity, we have decided to lay low for a while.

We didn't have to wait for too long - the fox has decided to cross the road just in front of us. It jumped on a stone wall on the left side of the road and got ready for a photo-shoot. It just stood there and flirted with the camera in the late afternoon sun. If I tried to move closer than 3 meters it would get a bit nervous, but after I took a step back, it was in the relax-mode again.

It took several photos for the fox to get bored and to decide that it's time to move on with her afternoon stroll through the forest.

Only then I have realized that we have been absolutely silent for at least 15 minutes. We sat inside the car for another moment and just tried to exchange our feelings and observations.

As we drove on, we were both just so glad that we took some time to "stop and smell the roses". Nature can just be so beautiful!

And the moral of this story is (there just has to be one - there's a fox involved):

Even when with a girlfriend, it's not always a bad thing to notice a foxy walking by. Sometimes she (the girlfriend, that is) might even appreciate it!

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