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Corse 2017/07/16 – day 1 : Cheeky Italians

After one year of missing out on our favorite break of the year, we decided to go, yet again, to Corsica.

With a hot coffee and a smile and a tear we took off to go down south, at around 9AM. We had a 800km drive to go, with two main obstacles; the border near Switzerland and the St. Gotthard tunnel.

The usual “Frauenparkplatz” was available again at the last stop before the Swiss border; Bad Bellingen, our stop to get our Autobahnvignette.

As to be expected, we indeed got stuck at the border of Switzerland, it took about half an hour to get over the border. After that we were rerouted to go to the St. Gotthardtunnel. The Swiss traffic information system suggested we would go via Zurich, Zug, Schwyz, Altdorf to Andermatt, just east of the main route. Partially this went over local roads, but despite the slow van in front of us, this was pretty quick. We also got to see some of the more beautiful sceneries of this area. Lots of lakes and boats sailing.

A 5km trafficjam was reported in front of the Gotthard Tunnel so we did take the risk to end up in the queue. It was shorter and going faster than expected, so within about 45 minutes we were in front of the traffic lights. And then we were off to go: it took us 20 minutes (due to another traffic jam in the tunnel) to get to the other side, Airolo.

From here on we had the roads free and we descended into the valley towards Italy.

Another short traffic jam just before the Italian border but from there on it was free to go.

The tollroads were not that expensive and there were no queues.
Then.. the fun started on the Italian autobahn: The 3 roads where at the left lane the Italians are pushing each other aside, and the right lane which remains completely empty. This time the roads were quite full so the left-to-right swinging drivers were more bound to keep to their lanes (unlike previous experiences)

Shortly after 18u we saw the first glimpse of the sea, this time without the Costa Concordia though. We took the road going west towards Ventimiglia, which we call “the road of 1000 curves”.

There was a forest fire on one of those hills, but once in the next valley it was invisible, due to the many tunnels we went through.

And then we saw a plate for coffee.. something I could really need by now. What I needed most though was the one made with love, something that can keep me awake for hours longer.

Well, then our navigation system decided to take us to the other Port of Savona. Instead of taking us to the one of Vado Ligure, we were directed off the high way and entered into the total mess of a busy italian town near the sea. The scooters were whizzing past left and right, no matter if there was traffic coming from the other side. We had a great giggle when the car in front of us was driving next to a scooter with a man who obviously had his daughter in front of him. While he was talking to the driver, his 4?y old decided to pull the handles so the scooter shot off , fortunately noone fell off.
While searching for the other port, we went through some more madness on that boulevard: An ambulance wanted to come past and there was not much space between the concrete right and the cars left of us. Somehow the ambulance managed his way through. A job the driver had probably done more often.
Just before 19 we rolled into the street with the striped church on the corner.It wasn’t far away from where we had to be now.
And so, just past 19h we parked at the very last line of cars with rooftop-box on top.
I asked one of the guys of Corsica Ferries if he coul recommend a take-away pizza and he suggested to go to Pizzeria Lo Scugnizzo. This was a 10-15 minute walk away from the ferry and so I went there. It was not busy but the waiting time for pizzas were almost 1 hour. So I asked for something differentt to take away and got recommended fried fish, as was shown outside on a display. This sounded OK and as I had to pay 32 euros I expected something to fill up pretty well, with salad and drinks.
How big my disappointment was when I got two small plastic boxes with maybe 300 grams of fish that looked like harbor-leftovers , no drinks, no salad, no nothing. I complained to the waitress and alls he said was “sorry”. “Bloody Italians” is what I mumbled (probably with both my hands too).. But then, there’s google to set that review online.

Shortly past 20:30 we saw people looking towards the sea and indeed, the Mega Smeralda was approaching with quite some speed. To my utter surprise, the ship went halfway into the harbor, then while floating sideways, it started to move backwards into the side where the cars could depart.

And it did so with an incredible speed.

Within a few minutes it was already nearby and just a few minutes later the doors opened and the cars and trucks were visible. One car with caravan was standing in reverse, and it didn’t seem to move. Just before 9 we were told to get ready and so we entered the ferry.

We had a good place near the side so we could at least find our car back easily. The sound of the cars entering the deck above us was scary, we saw the plates moving and the sound was deafening.

Shortly past 9 the sun set and the valley with the 2 chimneys changed colour.
We checked the place to sleep, we were very lucky this time by finding a whole couch for us, one person on the floor and one on the couch. I decided to sleep on the floor and Jr went for the couch. 15 minutes later, we heard the engines tune up and then the shades below us started to move.

Not much later I decided to get some sleep, the long trip had tired me out.
Jr went outside to watch the shore move further, and then he came back completely exited: he had seen a dolphin!

Shortly before 23u I fell asleep, only woke up once the initial announcement was made that breakfast was served. It was 06:15.

[[Corsica holidays 2017]]
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