This morning it was even harder to wake up. When I got pushed (back) to one side, I could only mumble “breakfast” and that was it. By the time my mom was back with the breakfast I had managed to crawl a bit closer to the exit of the tent.
This time we had 2x Pain au Chocolat, 2x Croissants and also a Banette, so we could try it with some of the Marmelades, cheese and Pate we had. We also made the bread for lunch already, and despite I really didn’t want to eat the cheese, my mom told me so. It wasn’t that much different from the Tomme de Pyrenees with the black crust, only this one was from Corsica and didn’t have a black crust.
I really wanted to go to the beach, but my mom siad I had to do some different things first. We first did the washing up from last nights dinner and this mornings breakfast, and then I was ready to go. But my mom asked me if I had thought of putting lunch in a box and putting the box in the bag. And how about some water on the beach? Some salt crisps? Towels? I did have my toys together but kind of forgot about the other half. And it took quite a while to organize, but then we were on the road to the beach. It was still before 12!
And when we were there, the waves were huge! I grabbed my airmatras and was off! As it decided to take off with me in the waves as well I was back to fetch my bodyboard instead, and my mom caught me to do the usual sunscreen routine. Minutes later I was back in the sea again and my mom followed with the airmatras. She went all the way up to the pilon and was slowly flowing back on the wind and the waves. About half an hour later I caught up and we went back to the beach together. My mom said she wanted to eat something and so did I. I didn’t get all the Pate de Mousse de Canard and had to eat half of the Tomme de Corse, although I tried to sneak away with the leftover half of the Mousse de Canard.
My mom said she wanted to go back to the camping to get the card for the camera, and I went back into the sea again, this time with my beachball. I caught up with some dutch friends who were happily playing with me and the ball. My mom stayed away for a while and I was kind of worried. So by the time she entered the beach again I was already there. She said she felt kind sunburnt and also had to arrange some bits, so she took a bit of time in the shade.
Not much longer she was already in the sea with me and we played ball for a long time, in deep parts of the lagune, as only there there was no seagrass floating around in the wavy sea.
We played for almost over an hour and it was a lot of fun throwing the ball into the waves, at each other, against the wind, everything to get the ball to the other withouth throwing straight to the other. One time I went down in a wave and completely missed the ball being thrown on top of me on the wave. It was then caught by the wave and started it’s 100m journey to the beach, if it wasn’t caught by a woman who happened to see the ball going straight to her head.
After about an hour my mom she felt crispy again, even under water, and she went back to the beach. I bravely stayed in and dove in some more waves. When I came back an hour later my mom was again asleep, but she was happy I woke her up. She now was crispy on the other side as well she said and so we went back to the camping, after 6 hours of constant beach and sea.
At the camping I got my very much wanted icecream, and my mom stayed to ask for a nearby Pizzeria “Au feux du Bois”. She got told there was something near the Super-U as well as near the Bastille, but then she asked if the Pizzeria near the Aeroport was anything good. They all nodded and said “Yes, Pizza Hot”. So my mom got completely confused and asked again: “Pizza hut”? And they said “No, Not”. So my mom asked if it was the international “Pizza Hut” and frowned, then the people at the Reception frowned, laughed, and said “no, not pizzahut! Nothing International!” “Not”, like “Nuit” but then in Italian. Only then my mom understood: ‘Noche / Notte’. And they all laughed. Although it was quite a bit away, they recommended it as “the best Pizza in Calvi”.
I said I wanted to eat bread instead so I stayed at the camping and in the shower while my mom took off to fetch a fresh Pizza.
Not much later she was back and it smelled soooo good. Until she poored the spicy oil on it, then I thought I didn’t want it anymore. But she gave me a slice and it tasted sooo good, I wanted it as well. Tomorrow then. As now I’m off to the football fields again. Tomorrow is going to be a quiet day as we are going to visit a Citadelle on top of the hills behind Calvi as well as a pointy bit of hill next to it, and then walk down the streets of Calvi and the harbor.
This morning my mom woke up early and me too. But I fell asleep again, after having reorganized my pillow and myself in another angle. My mom said it had rained, and afterwards she couldn’t sleep anymore as I was in the way.
Just before 9 my mom came back with breakfast and I was out of the tent in time. She said she had been greeted in German by our dutch neighbours, but they had a second look at the orange ‘Holland’ Tshirt she was wearing and probably wondered. It was still early :)
We ate our Pain au Chocolat and Croissants, as well as a bit of Banette with my favorite Gelee de Myrthe. And ofcourse the pate de Chataigne, marmelade de Figues et Noix and Clementines. As desert I took the Canistrelli avec gout de Citron while observing the ants and the wasps dealing with last nights leftovers. It was pretty amazing to watch them at work, trying to get as much as possible from the chicken. One wasp even took off with a string of chicken, but then got smashed back as the string was still attached to the bone. Which was kind of funny. It then tried to chew off the other half and when another one showed up it ended up with nothing. But they kept on coming back, in between the few raindrops.
My mom had secured the tent a bit more, so there would be enough distance between outer layer and inner layer of the tent, to ensure the inner side wouldn’t become wet when it would really start to rain. But so far, not much, just a few drops.
I went a few times to the footbal fields, but there were not many kids. On my way back I saw a license plate I knew, starting with “DA” as well, and I then found out that they were from our neighbouring village. Driving 1000km and then still getting stuck next to our “neighbours” is quite funny. We also have a couple from Heppenheim standing opposite of us, they came here by motorbike. Quite a differrence as getting here dry by car I can imagine.
All the time I wanted to go to the beach, but my mom had planned different. She told me to pack my stuff to walk, and when we were ready, packed with shoes instead of flipflops, backpacks with water and something to eat, we went in the car and drove all the way up through the east side of Calvi, along the airport to the Foret de Bonifatu. The road was horrible and we had some deep bumps, but at the end we found a parking place which we then used after a bit of overthinking the costs of parking illegally but for free.
So with paying for the parking lot we also got a little map and instructions which roads we could walk. These were the big crossings from the Mare e Monti, the trails Corsica is famous for. We decided to go for a 4 hour trip, but that one was closed due to danger of bushfires. So we took the Sentier de Boucle de Candia. This was supposed to be around 3.5 hours, but it felt so much longer. And shorter as well – we’ve seen so much intersting things.
First of all it was the waterfall which reminded us of the Gorges de la Restonica, but then less cold. And then we went down to the river, there was a huge rock in the river near the waterfalls and the water was soo fresh and clear.
Then we followed a path which was wide and it was full of lizzards, so I stayed behind trying to catch a few. Until our track moved away from the river, from there on it went up steep. It was called the Boucle de Candia, and we split our roads from the Grande Randonnee not much further. We sat down for a little snack with the local saucage, saucison de Porc, and loads of water. Our track was marked with red stripes and it went pretty much up and down.
From time to time we had a great view on the valley, and all the time we heard the river underneath us. And quite often we heard birds we weren’t sure of what they were. The view on the valley was just gread and despite my mom being behind quite often, she caught up quite quick.
The road went through a nice , rare green forest into a quite rocky bit where there were lots of clifs and hollow rocks. On some places we had a great view on the lower parts and the opposite mountains, colored in green and red. And the clouds were quite low too on this rainy day. But still we got a few drops, not much else.
From the cliff-like bit we got down into a quite scary, ghostly forest, with lots of dead trees. THe road went from steep downhill to steep uphill and sometimes quite narrow and slippery. And from time to time we were going underneath huge hills, either on the valley side as well as on the mountain side which were immense while standing next to them. THey had all kinds of colours, from vague pink to dark black, white’ish as well as dark orange.
The valley underneath still revealed we were above the river, we heard it but couldn’t see it. THe opposite hills were impressive and in the far distance the clouds were above the sea and in the mountains, their bottoms below our altitude.
We even could see the parking lot below us, where we had parked. It had a red/white tape but we couldn’t see our car. So we knew we were close.
At one place further uphill the road got very narrow and we could only watch how deep it was below us.
From there on the forest became quite gray, the rocks between black and red, and it went all the way down.
In a little few gaps in the rocks, there were plants growing and even water was collected, attracting a lot of mosquitoes.
With the last bit of road it was really going downhill and we had problems going straight without sliding. Our knees were a bit weak after all that walking.
When we met the next plates, it didn’t say if we were going back to the parking lot or not. It only said Bonifatu, which was a wide description of the forest we came through. So while my mom wanted to take the red striped road going down, I went up to the orange/blue/red striped roadsigns where “Bonifatu” was marked as well as the GR’s down east.
And then, we heard something we could not trace. I thought it was a deer but it was too loud. Then we thought it was a wild pig as it stampeded thorugh the forest. But there were no piggy sounds. So we stood still and observed the area the sounds came from. After a few minutes we saw some light brouwn bodies coming down the hills towards us. My mom then saw a huge horn and suggested it were mouflons. And then, one of them started to hit a tree repeatedly, about 25 m away from us. A second one stared at us for a while and we could see a white snout in a dark face for a while. They went up a small trac, in fron tof us, about 20m away and they continued their road uphill. We then heard a few big bangs, and it seemed they were testing their strenghts against each other. What an amazing view! My mom said it was the first time she saw these creatures down here at all and was very pleasantly surprised as well.
A few hundred meters downhill I ran into a dutch family, something which is strangely enough already visible or audible a few tenths of meters beforehand. They wanted to walk uphill and when the kids hear about the mouflons they were off, where the parents had troubles keeping up.
Not much longer after the descend we reached the parking lot and I was very pleased to give my knees some rest.
We drove back behind the bright yellow truck of the local security department and my mom said she was hapy about that, as the cars driving uphill weren’t kind of keeping their side of the road. THe roads she said were very typical, “old corsican”, with loads of bumps in it and very narrow. The bright yellow car in front of us kind of pushed the cars coming uphill into their side of the road, and we could safely continue our track downhill, past the aeroport de Calvi.
Back at the Camping we dropped the car and walked up to the Casino. We had quite a big hitlist of stuff we wanted to try, and for this evening we had the moules-a-la-calvi on the list. So after a while of walking backwards and forwards in the Casino we finally found what we were looking for. THere was a water supplies area at the very back which we weren’t aware of, and they also had the sirop de menthe and the sirop d’anis which we were looking for. As I forgot to weigh the onions we went back home with a big back of moules as well as a bagnat and some more stuff for dinner.
It took a while to get dinner ready, but then, after the violent attacks of the mosquitoes were gone and the wasps were sent to their local feast of moules which weren’t OK, we had our lovely dinner with fresh salad with local cheese, moules and as desert a lovely molten variety of chocolate mousse.
After all the fattening up I went up to the playfield again, together with a German friend who picked me up to fight against the french league. Maybe this time we could win.
This morning I woke up at 9:30 and I went out to get the breakfast. I didn’t even ask my mom, as she was still kind of sleepy. Not much later I came back with the obligational Pain au Chocolat and the Croissants. We were lucky that this time our lot was a lot closer to the Camping entrance with the shop where we could buy our fresh croissants and bread.
Then, somewhere between cleaning up and going to the beach I saw a cat hunting birds. I didn’t expect it to be friendly, but when I sat down in the swing and reached out for him, he came to me and he allowed me to touch him and stroke him. A real cuddly cat. It then disappeared underneath the tent and it inspected our boxes and bags. After it went out again it caught a little lizard, but I could distract the cat so much with a wire it let go of the lizard. The little creature ran off under a tent and I followed it. Until my mom kindly suggested it was a bit strange to strawl around the neighbouring tents..
So after the cleaning up we went to the beach, we did stop at a local shop in between. We bought some fresh fruits and little roma tomatoes for lunch, and a Banetta, a little “baguette” in the shape of a banana. When we found a spot at the beach (empty now because all the locals went out for their lunch) I threw down my towel and ran off into the sea. It was until my mom waved me back that I did get some sunscreen on, but then I disappeared in the waves again. My mom showed up a few times, swam to the yellow pilon and back and then we played ball. My mom threw almost as far as I could, and we were really far away from each other. But we both could aim the ball a few meters away from each other, so we both went into the deeper part and we still managed to throw it quite well aimed. After a while my mom said she was getting crispy and she went back to the beach. I disappeared with bodyboard and then airmatras into the waves and my mom had a little snooze.
After a while, which was much too early for me, she said we were going to the Casino to get our food for the evening and to get out of the sun. On our way to the Casino I asked my mom when she was going to buy new flipflops. But she said hers were still in 1 piece so she didn’t bother buying new ones (we were still walking barefoot there). Strangely enough, she said that that was exactly that what she was thinking of when I asked, and even worse: when she wanted to put them on as we neared the parking lot of the Casino.. they appeared to be ripped apart so she couldn’t wear them anymore. She trhew them in the nearest bin and we continued into the Casino.
In the casino I tried to find a place for the air matras first, as it was way too big to carry along. And then, of course, we were sent out by a woman who said we couldn’t enter the Casino without flipflops. But my mom said that they were broken just a few meters before and they were in the Poubelle just outside, and she was going to buy new ones. She then was allowed in and we went straight to the flipflop part, where it was quite difficult to find the right ones. A few rows further we found ones which were “special offer” and even didn’t have the sharp plastic edges as many of the others. She put them on, and I carried the label which was needed at the counter. We went from one row to the other one to find something for the evening, but in the end we found what we wanted both: A big crop of fresh salad, fresh roma tomatoes, a Vinaigrette with olive oil and dried tomatoes, a bottle of Orangina and my mom found some local Poulet (chickenlegs) – and then the best: Fondant au Chocolat: Crispy/soggy chocolate on the outside, just like a Chocolate muffin, and molten chocolate on the inside.
We continued our walk back to the camping in a bit higher speed, and after we both took a shower, we prepared our food. My mom did cook the chicken legs and I prepared the salad, caesar salad, with the boiled eggs. the ham and cheese we brought from home plus some of the fresh Roma tomatoes. On top of that the Vinaigrette and uhm, before it was ready and on the table I ate quite a bit of it already. I didn’t feel like eating the chicken, as I preferred pasta, but when I had the first bit of “poulet au vin” I was convinced it was very nice, and I ate it as well as the rest of the salad. It was absolutely delicious! For tomorrow my mom suggested Moules or Crevettes, and I have no clue yet which one to take. She said it was going to rain tomorrow as well, but despite that we were still going to swim. I’m not so sure about that – yet. But we’ll see. First, off to the football field and have some fun :)
6:00 and the ship set on their “wake up” music. I immediately woke up my mom who, with a sleepy voice, said the ship wouldn’t be at Bastia before 7. So she fell asleep again and I then also nodded away again.
Around 6:45 we then heard the typical music playing and my mom was awake with a shock.
Outside we could just see a glimpse of Bastia and a vague image of a ship underneath a cloud that just covered the sunset.
She quickly packed everything and so did I, and after a quick toilet break we ran off to the parking deck. Which was, of course, still closed, but within a minute we could go through.
We had to crawl to our car, they were parked away from each other with less than 30cm. But we were lucky, as we were the last ones before the turnover lid just aside the door, so we could get in without too many issues.
And, holiday starts well with the Corsica Ferries sticker on the rear windscreen.
It was when my mom looked at the radio where she said “hmm, we might have a power/battery issue”.
So when the parkdeck started to sink and the cars in front of us were out, she tried to kickstart the Audi, but that didn’t work. Despite the usual handwaving of the people working there and my mom making a “cut off” handwaving, they kept on waving. And waving even more. So when my mom opened the bonnet, they finally started to make the “stop” handwave and then 3 fat Corsica Ferries employees shoved the Audi up on the ramp and then we rolled down onto the harbor.
My mom kindly asked one of the people over there if they maybe had a powercable (why it was missing from our stuff she didn’t know), and then within minutes we got help and someone kickstarted the car. I was given some “thank you” money but both of the employees refused. Still, great service and really fast as well.
We then from the trafficjam on the roundabout and from there we took a shortcut – which exactly put us behind the car which we were in front of in the trafficjam which came off the ferry.
Once we went uphill behind Bastia we left behind almost all new arrivals. Within 10 kms we were above Bastia and we could see the lakes towards the “flat lands” down south on the east coast of Corsica. We also stopped because we saw a cat lying aside the road and my mom thought it was hit, as it looked really flat. But when I got out and approached, it ran away.
On top of this “pass” my mom explained that we were going from one side of the ‘finger’ of Corsica to the other side. As I had said I didn’t want to go over the narrow curvy roads, my mom said these roads were so much better than what she knew from 10 years ago.
After a little 2 hours of driving (stuck behind a very slow local Mini Cabrio!) and filled with landscapes partially grey, partially orange , from almost no vegetation till green oases with olive trees and wineyards we came by l’Ile Rousse. A Moby ferry was waiting there, but it wasn’t as impressive as the Mega Smeralda from last year.
At 9:30 and 90km further we arrived at our first stop, camping Paduella. It’s close by the beach and it’s got comfortable camping places, so we can get used to the ‘camping side’ of life slowly again.
Within an hour we had our tent and seating/relaxing area ready and the car empty. The neighbours who just left offered us a little box with their “leftovers” as they were about to go home, so we got a ‘startersset’ with olive oil, baking oil, balsamico vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and such. The best thing for me: a bottle with refreshing waterspray which I could use to cool down a bit.
All I wanted to do is go to the beach but my mom decided she wanted a bit of relaxation time: Time for a coffee and something to eat :) But then we heard the firetrucks take off and within 15 minutes three firefigher planes came circling above the bay of Calvi to fetch water for a nearby bushfire (incendie). My mom got worried and asked me to look for ash raining down, but it stayed the way it was. Although the planes kept cycling for at least an hour, it got quiet after that. Meanwhile we’d finished our food and washing the dishes was up next, something we should do together.
So I went out to the football field to see if there were kids playing, but unfortunately I recognized one of last year’s french idiots, who really, really isn’t nice to play with. Then I went back to see if we already could go to the beach. But my mom still didn’t do anything about the dishes and said she’d waited for me. So I started to read a book, waiting till something would happen. Still nothing. Some nice birds flew by and got really close. But my mom still didn’t do the washing. So after waiting a bit longer I understood and we finally did the washing together, and then we went to the beach. My mom had caught up with the local news and said there was a fire at the Balagne between Zilia and Muro, and that over a hundred people from the firedepartment were busy trying to fight the fire.
When we went to the beach, we took the track through the little forest, past the arboratrium de Calvi, which was unfortunately closed, and even the donkeys from last year were still there. The beach was crowded though, but we found a shady spot near the fence. Not much later the train drove by, on it’s way to Calvi.
We both jumped into the water and swam to the floating play-island, then I went in again with the airmatras and then my mom came in as well. We had a good splash around the yellow pilon and then returned to the beach. On the way back we saw 3 little white dots on the hills, snow from last winter. Last year there was so much more, but now only 3 little patches. Also we saw a blown over patch of thunderstorm which just left a wave of rain over the sharp, darkgrey mountains. When we got back we packed our bags to go back to the Camping.
My mom said she wanted to buy something for the evening at the Casino around the corner and first I didn’t want to go in, as it was kind of awkward walking around in swimming pants. So I put my shirt on and then we went in. I immediately remembered all the good stuff!
The Chocolate Fondant, the Creme Brulee, the Mousse de Canard, fresh fish and crevettes. And there was a lot of local Corsica stuff one could buy. And chips! And chocolate! I got so huungry! But my mom said that we had chips and we could always go back another day. We didn’t have that much hands free to carry stuff either. So with a prize winning wine, a Mousse de Canard, some lovely creme brulee desert and a local Saucisson de Porc we left the Casino.
Outside they were playing Jeux de Boules and I really wanted to watch. But my mom wanted to move on so when we were back at the camping. We both noticed that something had gone missing from the box of stuff we’ve gotten from the neighbours and that didn’t feel very well.
I went over the football field again and this time I recognized someone from last year who was really nice.
We ate the “traditional” Ravioli on the first night of camping, my mom got a can which was supposed to be “diavolo”, also extra hot. But this was the German “hot” so it tasted like sweet paprikas. And as I was very hungry I also ate the leftovers my mom left on her plate, although she said she wasn’t finished yet. And then we ate the desert, creme brulee, which didn’t taste like I expected, but still I ate 2 of them.
Then I kind of fell over, asleep, and i got my book to read and a light. At 22h I felt very sleepy, but half an hour, when my mom came into the tent I was kind of awake again, got rolled back to the location where I was supposed to sleep, reorganized my sleeping bag and fell asleep
It wasn’t as early as ‘usual’ when we took off. This time we had booked a Corsica Ferries transfer from the harbor of Savona, Italy to Bastia, Corsica. This was about 200km less driving than usual, ‘only’ 800km. We took off at 8 AM and to our not so very big surprise, an hour later we were stuck at a trafficjam at the almost ‘usual’ place. This time it was a bit shorter though.
3 hours later we rolled onto the Frauenparkplatz where we bought our Swiss Autobahn vignet.
and only half an hour later we were already at the border, near Basel. The weather was all gray and it was raining a lot.
And in the long tunnels it wasn’t raining but humid enough to fog up the windows.
This year we aimed for the St. Gotthard tunnel again, hoping the traffic jam would be less than last year, where we had to take the St. Bernadino pass. So we went into this every becoming more narrow valley, with high hills around us. And it kept on raining and being cloudy.
Just before Wassen we came to a halt on the Autobahn, but my mom took the empty road next to it, towrds Wassen. The master plan, to take the B-road, overtake the traffic jam on the Autobahn and then merge at Goessenen however failed: the Auffahrt was blocked, so we had to drive the “Ehrenrunde” back to Wassen again, take the B-road back and this time … take the St. Gotthard pass.
The first bit was rather steep and full of roadworks, and my mom moaned she got stuck behind a bus. Good thing was that the bus stopped at a busstop and we could continue our trip. All of a sudden the road wasn’t in tunnels anymore but it got flat and wide open. And not much further: the top of the pass! 2106 meters high! Four times as high as our local Melibokus (517m). That was just after 14:00, after 6 hours of driving. It was a nice 14 degrees in the rain which just didn’t stop.
After the top it went down with bridges to cover the turns, that was really scary. But, we all nicely rolled down without too much problems. My mom had to giggle because the fuel consumption of the Audi dropped and it showed at the bottom of the St. Gotthard that we could drive another 1500+ km like this.
But then, we were down at the bottom and we rolled into Italy. The temperature went up to 28 degrees! And it was sooo humid, that it was very uncomfortable. Still raining.
At 15:15 we got through the Italian border. And ofcourse we got stuck behind a ‘local’ from Heppenheim. The temperature had dropped back to 23 degrees and it was raining even more, close to the sound of hailstones. But from the low clouds it seemed that it just rolled away.
15:30 we already were at the first “peage” in Italy, and for 2,20EU we could continue our route to Milano. The traffic was doable, despite the typical Italian driving style. Always driving in the middle lane of a 3 lane Autobahn, if you want to pass you try to hit the bumper from the car in front of you. Average distance on the left lane between cars: 2 meter. Average distance of the cars on the right line: none. There are no cars driving there.
There were some roadworks and we had hoped to hear some music, but unfortunately we haven’t heard or seen anything.
Only 1.5 hours later we got to hear some ‘music’: A Ferrari overtook us in one of the many tunnels and it of course revved up big time. That was fun driving on the road from Genova to Ventimiglia, where we (already!) had to take the exit to Savona.
And, at 17:30 we were (already) at the harbor. Signs of Corsica Ferries everywhere and we saw our ferry, the Corsica Victoria ready to take on the first passengers.
We got there as #3 on the parking lot – so much for being German ;)
Unlike the nice cosy harbor of Nice, this harbor was meant for industry, so not much to “sighsee” in the surrounding of the harbor. So we played handball instead. And then we had to run, because not much later we were already let in to the harbor, to the waiting strip where the cars are sorted for their entrance.
And just before 20h we were let in the ferry, to the top deck this time. We were in front of the last cardeck’s joint, so most likely, we would be on the part that flips down after the bottom row cars have left the ship. But that’s something for tomorrow.
My mom had looked up the layout of the ship beforehand so she kind of knew where we had to go to when we left the car. 2 floors up there was a bar that unlike the Mega Smeralda was closed at night. So we continued to the restaurant which were rables and chairs only. My mom asked and the crew kindly aimed to a further strip on the ship which had nice flat ‘benches’ with flat pillows on it. We could drop off our stuff there and the only annoying thing was actually the TV above us. But my mom had already found the cabling and knew where and how to switch it off if necessary.
Then after we had ‘settled’ we played a few card games which I of course won.
And, at 10h we heard the metal cabling of the ship bouncing against the walls, so we knew we were about to take off.
My mom sent me out to watch our takeoff, and I was caught by the beauty of the moon, reflecting in the water between the other lights of the harbor.
Unlike the Mega Smeralda, where everything vibrates in the sleeping area from the Restaurant, this “small” ship has a very gentle engine sound and as it was just a bit louder than the TV. My mom was vast asleep quickly where I couldn’t sleep and read a book instead. Until I also fell asleep at about 23:15