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corsican mountains at dusk

I’ve discovered many new things during my hiatus from blogging; one of those things is Corsica. I’ve had new adventures, eaten in new places, met some fascinating people and some who where less so. Over the course of the next few months I hope to share these adventures with those of you who may be interested.

My life has changed – once again – on its head. It’s taken me the better part of these last two years to get back on my feet; but here I am, now. Up and ready to go.

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Last summer was my first experience in Corsica. I was invited by a friend to spend a week at the oceanside house of a grande dame. She has become a friend now and I spent a week this summer with her too. She’s an elegant lady in the dawn of her life and she has created around her a sort of turn-of-the-century arts salon. Having had no children, she thirsts for company and I am ever so glad to be among the people she enjoys. At dinners we talk of writers and poets I’ve only sometimes heard of, and artists and sculptures I’m often ashamed to know I’ve never heard of. Of course, she knows most of them personally. Her stories are a film and I am grateful to have learned about Corsica it such a setting.

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If you like wild breathtaking rust-burnt landscapes, untouched ocean views, friendly short, simple, burnt-brown people (to foreigners, perhaps less so to the French – this was one time when I found myself thankful for my stubborn accent in French) and charcuterie, wine and warm salt kissed days, Corsica is the place for you.

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I’d heard little about the small island off the southern coast of France before I did some research once I had been invited to visit. Some of the rumors I’d heard are true. There is a mafia, although I never had any contact with them during my two summer stays on the island. That is, I might have and just didn’t know it. There was one strange postcard that came to my address from a restaurant on the water where I enjoyed delicious fresh grilled fish. Somehow they found my postal address and I have to ask myself if it wasn’t through the credit card I used to pay. Some mysteries always go unsolved.

Other rumors are just simply fallacious, like the idea that Corsican people are rude. It’s funny, I’ve heard this remark from a number of French people. I’ve never experienced it myself, not once, at least no more than when I’m in France… And I felt safe there. That’s another rumor I’d have to sweep into the false category. As with all places, and I’ve lived in some of the biggest cities in the world, you should be careful, perhaps more so at night, but I never felt in danger even with my painfully overdeveloped intuition.

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This last July, I spent two weeks up in the mountains, a 30-minute shooter ride from the northern beach town of Ile Rousse. Last summer, I was invited to a home, as I mentioned, and then went on a weeklong hike in the center of the island. There is this trek called the GR20 (Jay-R-Ven in French) that is known to be for the serious hearted hikers and climbers. I didn’t do that one. I’d like to one day, slowly, at my own pace. But last summer I took another path that is called Sea to Sea. It crosses Corsica widthwise and gave a marvelous impression of the savage beauty of this little rustic paradise.

I leave you with a slideshow of photos.

Bonne séance et à très bientôt!

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