Zonza to the coast near Sartène

This morning when we went out to find coffee in Zonza it was cold! After coffee and croissants we checked out of our hotel and drove about 30 minutes to the archaeological site of Cucuruzzu and Capula. The loop trail was about a mile long.

Trailhead

The first people settled here during the the 8th and 7th centuries BC. A village was built at Cucuuzza in the Bronze Age about 2000 BC. This is when the ‘casteddi’ that we saw the ruins of was built.

Cuccuruzzu

At the Capula site the building ruins from the Middle Ages were the seat of power for the Biancolacci Family. But that is only the latest residents. They have found archaeological evidence of people living at the site since prehistoric times.

Capula

After our hike we drove to the coast where our hotel is tonight.

The sunset from our room

I almost never mention the bad travel experiences in this blog. We always look at them as adventures, part of the experience, and certainly not something to dwell on. You might think all our travel are totally painless.

We just got back from dinner. The restaurant, L’Aria Nova, is right next to our hotel they have a beautiful setting. You can see the outdoor tables in the picture below.

The waiter described the specials. One of them was a whole dorado for two. We decided to have that.

Our Dorado

It and the rest of the meal was good, not great. But when the bill came……. The fish alone was €100 ($110)!!! I guess we need to start asking how much before ordering. I feel ripped off. We have had some fantastic meals in France and this, our last meal in France was by far the most expensive. Oh well live and learn. Tomorrow we move on to Italy.

Corte to Zonza – Wednesday 13 October

Wifi and internet has been really good on this trip. Most places the internet has been excellent and everywhere it has been adequate. But when we checked into our hotel in Zonza they told us their internet had been out for three days and the night before that the connection in Corte was intermittent. We are now on the cost near Sartène and I am posting three days of blog posts.

On Wednesday morning we left Corte and drove to the trailhead for Cascade des Anglais.

Cascade des Anglais trailhead

The hike is along a very small part of the GR20, a long distance trail that crosses almost the entire length of Corsica. Our hiking guide book describes the GR20 as “demands physical fitness, absolute surefootedness, an excellent head for height and, above all, plenty of mountain hiking experience”. The Cascade des Anglais part of the trail that we did was fairly easy and quite beautiful.

Along the Cascades des Anglais Trail

After the hike we drove a very windy road south through the center of Corsica. We went over a couple of big passes. You can see the switchbacks in a he picture below.

The road south, D69

We stopped for lunch and a couple of hours later arrived in Zonza about 5:30. 

Lunch

For dinner we ate at an excellent bistro right across the street from our hotel, L’Eternisula. The ambiance was very welcoming. When Duke was ordering the wine the owner said “all of our wine is Corsican and it’s all good! And if you don’t like what you chose just tell us and you can chose something else. That will make us happy because then we will have to drink your wine!” The wine was good and so was the food.

Tapenade, sausage and bread.
Corsican soup
Lemon meringue
Our hotel in Zonza

L’Île-Rousse to Corte – 12 October

This is being posted on Thursday, 14 October because we haven’t had internet the last two places we stayed.

Tuesday morning we woke up to find a large ferry in the bay outside our window. It would have been fun to see it arrive I would have liked to see how they docked it in what seems like a very small space.

The view from our balcony in L’Île-Rousse

We had coffee and croissants at the restaurant right across from our hotel. Then we hiked up to La Pietra, the point with a lighthouse that we can see from our balcony. It was a perfect Fall morning.

On the way to La Pietra

Tuesday night we stayed just outside the town of Corte. Corte is in the center north of Corsica. It was a change to drive up into the mountains. Corsica has some very high mountains. Along our drive we saw cows and goats on the road.

Goats on the way to Corté

A couple of weeks ago Duke was notified by Hotels.com that the place he had booked for us to stay in Corte was closing for the season and was cancelling our booking. He found another gite just down the road.

Since we couldn’t check in until 4:30 we went to the grocery store, got stuff for a picnic lunch and drove up Restonica valley just outside town. After lunch we took a hike up the canyon.

Our picnic lunch
The beginning of our hike.

After hiking we drove to our gite and checked in.

Our gite just outside Corté

The owner of this place is really nice although she doesn’t speak any English. My French is getting better although it is still at a fairly low level. But we managed to communicate.

For dinner we drove into town and found a very nice restaurant, where we shared salad, pasta, and pizza. It really hit the spot.

Salad
Pizza

Conchiglio to L’Île-Rousse

Navigating on Corsica is much easier than navigating in mainland France. Basically we just follow the coast. Today we drove south along the west coast. We left the Cap-Corse department and are now in Haute-Corse department on Corsica. As we drove south the surrounding became less rural. The roads were a bit wider and the scenery continued to be spectacular.

Tonight we are in the Best Western Santa Maria Hotel in L’Île-Rouse. We are right on the ocean. The water is unbelievably blue and clear.

The view from our room

The hotel has both a beach and a pool. We tried them both out.

Duke swimming in the Mediterranean
Swimming in the hotel pool.

Around 7 we went for a walk to enjoy the sunset and check out restaurants.

L’Île-Rousse

We decided to eat at L’Épicure.

We started with mussels.

Then shared Pasta Del Mare and Fritto Misto di Mare. It was all fabulous, fresh and very filling.

Pasta del mare
Frito Misto di Mare

Toulouse, Aquitaine to Conchiglio, Corsica

This morning we set the alarm for 3:30 and ordered a 4:00 taxi because we had a 6:15 flight from Toulouse to Bastia, Corsica.

Arriving in Corsica at dawn

In Corsica we rented a car and drove into the town of Bastia. We parked, walked around a bit and had some breakfast at an outside table overlooking the square.

Breakfast in Bastia

If you look at a map of Corsica you will see a peninsula sticking out of the north end of the island. It’s about 25 miles long and it’s called Cap Corse. We drove almost all the way around Cap Corse on Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day and we had glorious views of the Mediterranean. The scenery reminded me of California’s highway one. The road was narrow and there often wasn’t much of a guardrail.

The coast of Cap Corse
The road along the coast of Cap Corse

We are staying at a wonderful gite in a small town overlooking the coast. The owner of Maison Batista is friendly and welcoming. She recommended a place down the road for dinner and suggested we hike down to the beach. We didn’t go all the way to the beach but we did hike about half way down.

Maison Batista where we stayed
The grape vines (with grapes) outside our window
Hiking down towards the beach

We enjoyed the sunset from the clock square outside the restaurant where we planned to eat and then went inside and had a wonderful dinner.

Sunset in Canari
Dinner at Bon Clocher