The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Riding in Corsica

I booked passage on the overnight ferry from France to Corsica. I am starting to feel like there are far too many ferries buzzing around in my life.
Once again, here is Odysseus ready to be put in the ferry corral along with a bunch of other motorcycles.
The ferry was huge. Look at this bar. Plus they had two restaurants.
Ands they had hundreds of cabins. Let's see: my choice is to sit in a lounge chair all night, trying to grab some sleep in the noise with the lights on-- or, get a cabin.  I am cheap, but the cabin was only 70 Euros (and I won't be spending 20 Euros to camp, so to my way of thinking the price is 50 Euros. I'll pay that.
I even had my own private shower and bathroom. Life is good.
Early in the morning there was a little chime: "Time to get up, y'all. We are almost in Corsica".

And here it is:
Corsica is bigger than I thought it would be. It is very mountainous. I headed right into them.
Twisty little mountain roads can tire a guy out. I stopped at an overlook to rest and take a picture.
 And this 78 year old man was there. He had ridden his bicycle up the mountain just for fun. I was very impressed.
Gotta be careful with these mountain roads in Corsica. I never once saw a guard rail. The stone "fence" that elderly bike rider is standing by in the last picture is very unusual. Mostly, they are only one stone layer high.
I think these little stone walls are there just to let the police see where a driver went through them. Here is the same place as above, but looking just past my right foot.
Even down by the sea you don't dare take your eyes off the road for a second. Not much time for enjoying the scenery.

I can hear the conversation now:
       "Honey---uh--- do you think you might be going just a little fast?"
       "Nah -- I got it under control"\
       " But honey, these roads are a little tricky"
       "Listen woman -- who's the man here?"
What do you suppose people do for a living here? There doesn't seem to be any industry, and precious little farming going on. There are a lot of restaurants though. Every little town like this one has at least two, and they are always packed with tourists, especially over the noon to 2:00 lunch hour when everything shuts down for the main meal of the day. Hey -- I could get into that habit myself.
I try to stop at a scenic place for lunch (mostly sandwiches) but I think I am going to stop doing that-- otherwise I am afraid I am going to give myself food poisoning.
They have small bottles of highly pasteurized milk in the grocery stores, and also small bottles of jams and the ever present Nutella. I enjoy them, along with some coffee and cereal for breakfast each morning. I always look forward to that, and usually roll out of my tent by 7 am.  Supper is stew, or canned meats along with ramen noodles, or something similar. I try not to eat out very often. Prices are about the same as home (12 Euros for supper) but it is the exchange rate that is a budget buster.

I usually try to get some exercise each evening. I was running night before last on a trail like this one---
I tripped, and took a face plant against a rock. What a klutz!!
Looks worse than it is, but looks better than it did with the blood streaming down my face.

They do a lot of kayaking here (and my kayaking buddies will be interested to know that they only use the Corsica kayaks like mine, or Prijons, or other larger boats. I guess the trend to small play boats that we have back home never caught on here.  They also do a lot of hiking, canyoning, and climbing. The mountains certainly look like they would be fun for any of those activities.
As I said before, the entire center of Corsica is mountains. They are really popular with motorcycle riders who come to explore the tight little roads and to ride up and over the passes.
Some of the mountains still have a little snow on them. What they don't have, though, is wildlife. I miss that, especially after my trip to Alaska last summer. Oh, they have signs warning of of deer, but I never once saw a live mammal other than some wild bikers. Here is the only wild creature I saw---
What do you think this is? I'm not real sure myself, but there were sure a lot of thank you notes to Saint Mary there. Maybe they are from people who are glad they survived the roads.
I enjoyed Corsica a lot, and I went about everywhere there was to go on the island. But now, it is time to head on south to Sardinia. No stateroom this time because it is only a one hour ferry ride.

More later from Sardinia,