Donostia / San Sebastián, Spain to Bordeaux, France

We are in France! This morning we walked to the train station in Donostia / San Sebastián. We caught a local train to just over the French Spanish border. It took about 45 minutes.

Local train to the French Spanish border

In Hendaye, France we had coffee and croissants. And I got to use my rusty French. I love croissants!

French breakfast

From the border we got on an intercity TGV train to Bordeaux. That ride took 2 1/2 hours.

TGV train to Bordeaux

We were in Bordeaux last Fall. I really like Bordeaux. We walked to our hotel. There were a lot of people n the streets.

This is Porte Cailhau. We passed on the walk to our hotel.
The streets were full of people

For dinner we went back to a restaurant we ate at last time we were in Bordeaux. Bistro Réno was as wonderful this time as it was last time. The ambiance is so French, the people are so friendly and the food was divine. I think it was one of the best meal of our trip.

At Bistro Réno
We started with Foie Gras.
Then I had beef fillet
And Duke had Beef Parmentier which is sort of a beef hash topped with mashed potatoes
For desert we shared this cake and ice cream

Sartène, Corisca, France to Golfo Aranci, Sardinia, Italy

It’s been a long day but we made it to a beautiful beachfront hotel on the northeastern coast of Sardina.

We took the ferry from Corsica to Sardina

We left our hotel at 7 am this morning and drove about an hour to the Figari South Corsica airport where we returned our rental car. Figari is a tiny airport and there weren’t any taxis because the next flight wasn’t scheduled for about 3 hours.

Our ferry wasn’t going to leave nearby Bonifacio until 1 so we decided to just hang around the airport for a while. Eventually a taxi showed up and we went into Bonifacio. It’s a gorgeous little town named after Bonifacio II of Tuscany who captured Corsica from the Satacens in 828. His citadel overlooks the town.

We found a restaurant and had some breakfast while we enjoyed the sun.

Breakfast in Bonifacio
Walking around Bonifacio
The Bonifacio Citadel

We walked around the town for a bit before eventually getting on the ferry. The ride from Corsica to Sardina only took an hour.

Duke adn I on the Ferry

The taxi ride from the ferry terminal to Olivia airport where we were going to rent our next car took about another hour. Luckily we were able to share the ride with one other lady so we were able to split the €90 fare three ways. Our new rental car is distinctive, cute, and small. Duke says the car has a lot of zip for a 1.2 liter engine.

Our Sardinia rental car.

We drove about thirty minutes from Olivia airport to the beach where we are tonight.

For dinner we had a wonderful Italian meal with a very entertaining waiter. He thought Duke was French! And he even taught us some Italian.

Baby octopus in a crust the waiter opened at the table.
Home made pasta with mussels
Cannelloni
Tiramisu
La Taverna del Lupo di Mare where we ate.

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.

Corsican Coastal road
Another Corsican Coastal Road

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