Posts Tagged ‘Corsica’

“Cherry Pie”, whoo-ah!

June 13, 2015

Arriving to Bastia is evidently happening after long night drive. With a modern vehicle this all would have been an insignificant task. Citroën 2CV, however, was much different due to old age. Yet it was just what I had ever wished since these cars really are distinctive and soulful pieces of engineering.

The road is getting somewhat crowded and I thank myself for not spending another night at any campsite. I think it’s time for small celebration and luxury at this point of traveling. The trip actually went along a lot easier than ever anticipated. The road was empty during the late hours despite of a few local drives speeding familiar routes merely like bats out of hell. The headlights helped very little and I was slowing speed even more after every road side deer warning sign. Luckily there were no encountering with animals crossing the road. I did have one break for admiring the deep blue night sky that often reminds me about Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, the co-writer of the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey movie. He was also the man to popularize Herman Potočnik‘s idea of geosynchronous satellites. These objects are located on geosynchronous orbit, also called a Clarke orbit, at altitude of approximately 35,786 km above earth sea level having an orbital period same as the Earth’s rotation period. So they practically stay in place relative to earth.

Corsica was totally magnificent and actually, just the way my doctor could have prescribed to my vagabond spirit. At night, lying under the deep blue sky of Corsica made me feel like I was visiting at the edge of the observable universe.

Entering suburbs of Bastia at early breakfast time is a relief and one of my goals on this trip. I am eager to visit the old palace of the Genoese governors, accommodating a museum of Corsican ethnography since 1952. My eyes also urge to see the fortress of Bastia and stay beside that old lighthouse just enjoying the scenery. Now being here at Bastia I probably cannot leave to Ajaccio, without taking a short side step to Cap Corse, the northernmost tip of Corsica with some exquisite palaces from 19th and 20th century. Before all that I wish to locate decent accommodation and proper serving for breakfast. Then afterwards I need to return the car. At early hours I had anticipated awarding myself with several warm cups of tea and large slices of succulent pies. Concluding the recent events of roller coaster like imagination running haywire must have been an aftermath of slight sunstroke received while hiking the hills of Solano.

I take the seaside way towards downtown. The scenery grows to be really good with calm sea and distant ships popping up among roadside palm trees. Slow cruising on streets of Bastia gives me good view of the town with varying architecture and condition. I have agreed to leave the car at the train station of Bastia and still well enough time just to drive around before Chemins de Fer de la Corse.

A single room from Hôtel Bonaparte at 45 Boulevard du Galerie Graziani should be good for two night stay. After leaving my luggage to the reception I take a drive to nearby railway station, leaving the car to my contact. I need to pay some extra for the damaged tyre and after the guy has checked everything else is in order I then pass the keys and give farewell to this ancient yet splendid companion. As I walk back to the hotel I seek for some possibility of having breakfast and there are plenty to choose from. Early in the morning it would have been just tea and some pie. Now I felt myself too hungry due it was closing to midday already and felt like being able to consume brunch as well.

While enjoying well laid brunch table servings and browsing advertisement of hikers track, Tra Mare e Monti Nord, 9 to 11 day long trail with daily distances in between waypoints varying from 8 to 20 km in length. Something quite fascinating but maybe yet not me. It takes more strength and gear than I posses. Instead of hiking I shall be anxious to go around Musée de Bastia and the Governors’ Palace before heading onboard the train from Bastia to Ponte-Leccia junction and all the way to Ajaccio.

This brunch serves cherry pie which is among the best I have ever had. Companied with green tea with honey and lemon inspires me sharing the recipe of old DIY Cherry Pie.

1 x 400g ready-made short pastry from the freezer
1 x 350g sour cherry in a glass jar
1 x 200g sour cream
1 x 50g caster sugar
2 x teaspoons of vanilla sugar
1 x fresh chicken egg

Let the oven warm up to 200 degrees Celsius. Grease the pie dish with butter and spread dough evenly all the way to the edges. Remove the juice of cherries. Combine all the rest of the ingredients separately, mix lightly. When the base is complete, add the cherries, and evenly pour over the cream mixture. Bake in the lower level of about 30-35 min.

Use loud enough timer for exact baking time. Allow to cool and solidify properly. Serve with hot coffee or favorite tea and vanilla ice cream.

This chapter is an example from yet unpublished volume
currently identified as "The Fast and Slow Rays"
by Yumatzuga (2011-2015).

Cheerio

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Alien Bear Grin

February 1, 2015

Wisdom is to have dreams that are big enough not to lose sight when we pursue them! -Oscar Wilde

We leave Solaro early next morning and really force the pedal to the metal. The road continues straight as a ruler thru flat land towards north. We pass some fenced piece of land with occasional road side restaurants and hotels. The scenery is wide and restful. Mountains of inland to the left and burning sun on the right of us. Blue sky ahead is open for a sunny day. As the old beast of burden does pretty obviously not have any air conditioning we keep windows open. That is an excellent alternative since it really gives us feeling of open space and all the distinct aroma of beautiful and ever warming landscape. If our car was a normal 2CV then I could let the roof canvas down. The vehicle is, however, as previously noted, so called Fourgonnette van with hard top.

We soon leave Solaro completely behind and enter territoire de la Côtés des Nacrés by going over a bridge that crosses the dried riverbed from the mountains. This is the Travo river, a small coastal river, that takes source west of Monte Incudine, near the Bocca di Chiralba at 1743 meters above sea level and flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea between the towns of Ventiseri and Solaro. The Travo river is famous for kayaking and trekking among active tourists seeking real hand on experience on the landscape of Corsica. Village of Nacrés turns also as a delight to the eye and serves us alternative view after driving thru the countryside. The vaguely picturesque small community intrigues me and I would of course want to stop there even if for a few days. Instead we halt on the sandy open air cinema parking lot for a short overall view and then leave with a few turns around laughing while making dust. How stupid and useless but surprisingly amusing.

The National Road 198 passes the triple armor fence of air base 126 Ventiseri-Solenzara on the eastern side. Signs on the fence indicate restricted military zone with photographing prohibited. Why did they establish a high secrecy demanding airfield premises on such open area? There are two logical reasons I can imagine. The land is flat by default so building a runaway is easy. Also the service that is required in means of fuel and food and ammunition is provided by sea.

This NATO airfield runway is nearly 2650 meters in length and was established in 1960. It is currently serving as tactical training center. The garrison has about 950 persons and along them it can accommodate up to 40 fighter planes and 10 tactical transport aircrafts. Any airbase on these islands west from Italy practically reminds me of book Catch-22 and story of Captain John Yossarian serving as a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier.

Idea of visiting the airbase fascinates but then again how would we, plain tourists, be welcome without any official invitation. In addition to that we are in a rush. I cannot be without noticing the grin of an alien bear on my new co-driver’s shining green eyes. Most likely due to me being able to make those narrow 125×15 tires of old Citroën 2CV to scream occasionally. Quenza is a little green and furry teddy bear from somewhere quite far, I think. I had him picked up from the campground lost property corner since he demanded me to take him to the town of Bastia and make it fast. I did not question his reasons but without slightest hesitation grabbed him by the hand and there he is now riding shotgun as we scud thru the road of east Corsica passing roadside vineyards and all green country.

Quenza turns out to be one magnificent companion for keeping both of us in good spirits and awake on such a peaceful road trip. He is telling stories about a sound man of Grateful Death, Augustus Owsley Stanley the third, also known as Bear. I guess all extraordinary bears know each other by default. He lists the islands in the Mediterranean by heart and finally explains me the principles of Maxwell’s demon, all about violating the Second Law of Thermodynamics. When I think nothing could surprise me any more, Quenza clearly enjoys himself by describing the life of French leader of the UFO religion known as Raëlism, Claude Maurice Marcel Vorilhon. We then discuss vaguely about ancient astronauts, book of Ezekiel and end up to Greek dark ages by lunch time.

After tasty Pasta Norma and several glasses of cold water we are ready and eager to pick up where we left in driving and especially in conversation. We share our views of Pale Blue Dot, a picture snapped by Voyager 1 space probe, without forgetting astronomer and author Carl Sagan. We also discover and share the opinion that a voyage to planet Mars is something the human kind is nowadays anticipating with the same urge that made sailors from ancient Africa accidentally reach the shores of America and like people from South America that settled Polynesia. For them these voyages were meant to be one way only and even our bold technology keeps evolving the Martian explorers of future probably need to accept exactly same destiny still for quite long time.

We then come inspired to recite poems and I start by letting out loud one of my own.

“Further away of the sun-shade
on the yellow sand
turquoise surf waves hug and fade

Close behind the dark glasses
from the sunburnt hand
rosy dreams flow between the fingers

A candle turns weak in watch tower
with a sideswiped wand
the wind is free for a sea bird’s hover
– The victim in bed 7 is a gonner.”

Then Quenza replies improvising out of the moment.

“I hear light steps on my tomb
asking you to dance beside me
bringing joy of flowers to my day
and a blue prayer for the night”

The speed and extra strain probably affected to the next episode as we quickly learned to know how it feels to ride a 2VC with exploded front tire. Luckily it broke on shotgun side and did not force us in the oncoming lane but leaning heavily towards the wild bushes of roadside. After smoking breaks and branches striking the windshield it become very quiet for a little moment. While grasping my breath Quenza yells tears in his terrified eyes “Throttle Up! Feel that mother go!” I’m unable to comment anything more but “Now, let us pray for Shackleton.”

One flatbed truck slowed soon down ahead of us. The driver did not resemble my memory of Sir Ernest but he still offered for assistance. Feeling comfortable enough I shaked head to Quenza and he promptly replied with amazingly manly voice “Ne vous inquiétez pas, nous gérons bien. Merci!” from the shadow of our tiny vehicle. I was feeling a bit of ashamed of my lame French and felt admiration for my furry assistant. The left wheel tyre was ruined but rim looked intact. Spare wheel was in place under the bonnet and then we only needed to find suitable tools like jack and wheel nut wrench. It took us hefty fifteen minutes to change the wheel and check the car for any other damages. As we did not find any other visible problems we packed all tools and the exploded tyre back to the Citroën and accelerated back to the open road.

I really don’t know about Quenza’s sensation right after our accident but recalled that those words he yelled at halt, became known and famous from another accident of considerable devastating scale. The disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, as Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart after 73 seconds flight, leading to the deaths of its all crew members. Disintegration of the space shuttle began after an O-ring seal failing in its right side solid rocket booster. Design engineers later added a third O-ring seal to the joints between the segments due to this disaster. We came into a common conclusion with Quenza. It was easy to say but human kind and green teddy bears were evidently counting much too heavily on rubber rings of various size.

The commune of Ghisonaccia is the next step towards Aleria and Bastia. It has a population about 3000 and some of the best beaches on eastern Corsica. I cannot let myself down by missing the sea shore despite of Quenza’s urge to Bastia. We agree a quick side step to beach thru Route de la Mer. At first we think to take a left turn that would lead us to camping U Casone. It has been here since 1972 with good reputation but after discovering from the map that it is not directly on the beach, we instead continue the road ahead as that should end to the sea.

After spending good time in the sea I grab a portion of moules frites with bottle of water to go from the little beach restaurant. I notice Quenza still sleeping in the shade of Citroën. I could take a nap as well but while being hungry I first finnish my pot of Belgian national dish and suddenly realize having more things common to Belgians than just Tintin. With full stomach I lay down in the shadow of 2CV trunk actually spacious enough even for two person.

I wake up shivering at very late dinner time. The night has fallen and no matter where I look Quenza is nowhere in sight. After a while I spot a piece of paper under the windshield wiper. It’s a handwritten note from Quenza. “Did not want to wake you. I need to rush for Bastia and sorry to say, decided to hitchhike with nice family leaving right away. Thank’s for the ride and pleasant companion. Yours truly, Quenza.” Whoo-ah! That little green teddy bear really was in a hurry!

I don’t feel especially confident in driving on foreign road under pitch black night sky but after exceptionally long afternoon nap I don’t actually have too many good alternatives. What would I do here anymore? After studying the map I decide to continue at least to Moriani-Plage some 50 km north. Carrying enough fuel and water even to Bastia I still try to keep a realistic target. The headlights of this old 2CV resemble two yellow candles on sides of the hood. After a short thinking and encouraged by the engine purring like a kitten I finally collect all grit and head to the darkness.

✽”For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.” – Sir Raymond Priestly, Antarctic Explorer and Geologist.

This chapter is an example from yet unpublished volume
currently identified as "The Fast and Slow Rays"
by Yumatzuga (2011-2015).

Cheerio

Corsica Landscape Learned (II/II)

December 27, 2014

This is Solaro, located in the department of Haute-Corse region. At the beach, next door Sole d’Or campground is a stele erected on beach in honor of the Corsican resistance against the Nazi troops until the liberation of Corsica on 4 October 1943, fifty years prior this mark was placed in year 1993.

“On this beach, in April and June 1943, Dominique Poli, Mayor of Porto-Vecchio, organized the reception of submarines from Allied mission for the general Paulin Colonna, precinct unifier of resistance Corsica.”

On the same beach and actually very near, is a small bar named Les Flots Bleus. It will be my asylum for next few hours. Sitting there, in shade of the terrace, I slowly realise how my life is now delightfully chained in geographical triangle of landscapes partially due to one mouth-watering ingredient in certain alcoholic beverages. Pimpinella anisum, the aniseed, is my weak spot when it comes to flavoring liquor. Pastis*, Sambuca and Ouzo draw a triangle in between their origins of production. No wonder I love it, this annual plant is growing native to the eastern Mediterranean.

There is a quiet TV at the bar playing a black and white film “The Corsican Brothers” featuring Douglas Fairbanks jr. I vaguely recall a trivia that among being an actor of very early age he also become a war hero during second World War. After some time, somewhere in between third and fourth glass of Pastis, I sit up and take notice that the same Italian tenor I hardly was able to hear earlier the day is played again in radio. The song is vigorously trying to make my drowsy consciousness to realize the Pastis colored milky moon slowly waking from the sea at the horizon. He sings with languorous voice Porto per poeti che non scrivonoPort for poets who do not write.

This is the place, I agree. Not necessarily one needs to write anything if the essence of existing poetry already lives everywhere so vividly it is sufficient to fulfill this hidden soul locker of poems. Then again, for some unknown reasons, maybe in order to keep their self-esteem together or to regain and keep one’s sanity, writing poems becomes a necessity for going forward. Still they may remain in one’s heart, unpublished and too fragile for the public but who can tell. The human history acknowledges many great explorers, men and women, possessing good qualities as writers and sometimes they have written poems too. Those I personally find the most attractive ones, the great writers of history, often saluted with certain envy but also with indescribable admiration.

The atmosphere is as pleasant like one can imagine after good set of aperitif in cooling evening while browsing the beef menu. I’m going to risk it all and select a tenderloin cut of beef served with sweet Corsican cheese flambéed in brandy. One would never think this is even possible to be served in such a petty place. Still it is listed and I live in hope this dinner will assure me good nights sleep with no more catastrophe nightmares.

Next morning the amazing mackerel sky is looking like painted organ solo in Light My Fire by the Doors. I’m close about to wake up despite of lethargy. The late night beef was excellent and obviously I had slept like a log until late in the morning in the shelter of Sole d’Or campground. After such fair amount of Aqua Vita on top of hefty beef I am not surprised to find the clock being over eleven. Dull headache makes me to take a day of from driving. I discover that my drinking definitely got out of hand but that is what sometimes happen. The razor edge could use a sharper blade and facing the bungalow mirror does certainly not appeal. Decent haircut and staying up less, especially with alcoholic companion would do me good, I find myself mumbling half aloud.

Instead of going north by car I decide to take a long walk up to the hills of Solaro with some picnic gear and food supplies. Solaro village is facing east on the hills about 8 kilometers from the main road junction. This is Le territoire de la Corse Orientale and I definitely want to have some bites going off the beaten path. Yesterday, while discussing few words with the local bar customers, I heard that there is little of natural park hidden along the road to the village. Nothing to do with wild meadows of good old Galehurst, I suspect but the idea of having a picnic under shelter of furry chestnut tree was “lure of little voices” to my wandering ears.

From the campground mini-market I select local salami and tomme de chèvre cheese, two tomatoes, a half a dozen figs, some white bread and a bottle of light and fruity white wine. I also purchase a large bottle of water and having guilty conscience come to think how disgusting habit it generally is to use bottled water in regions where one could consume tab water. I feel little stupid thinking all such but then decide to blame the hangover just to get it over. Previously, after all the sailing, I had purchased some new batteries in Porto-Vecchio for Aiwa Walkman. I did not dare to use it at all in such a humid environment but now it is loaded with a cassette of Jean-Luc Ponty playing full Aurora album from 1975. I’m mesmerized how the goddess of dawn presented in Roman mythology is converted to ear-pleasing jazz. I recall a magnificent illusionistic ceiling painting, fresco of Aurora by Guercino, in Casino di Villa Boncompagni Ludovisi, Rome. Guercino used effects like foreshortening to create the illusion of three-dimensional space on flat base. With that view in the recesses of my mind the walk goes upwards, along the ever-narrowing road towards the west.

Eight kilometer walk under toasty sunshine makes me sweat considerably. While entering the outskirts of the village I try to spot the 17th century church of San Giovanni Baptista on the eastern edge of the village. The vague information received from campsite reception is my only guide. I need to take a minute on a bench beside the road. There are some of these laid in places where one can spend a silent moment or two for admiring the peaceful scenery. The traffic is practically non-existing, Only two cars has passed me during the whole walk. No walkers, no bikers or anyone else. Continuing the last kilometer up to the village center reveals old rundown-looking gray stone houses, some whitewashed but only a few plastered in vivid color. Plenty of gardens, few of them remaining neglected. Finally village road has some people going around. It would be fun to chat with these peasants, if I only could Corsican or even French. Actually the use of Corsican over French has been declining and only about ten percent of population are using it as a first language.

They say that one of the most regretted thing among people lying on their deathbeds is that they never studied and learned more languages. Another regrettable thing was that one did not travel enough. I sure had been given good share of traveling this summer even walking here among Corsica landscape it feels much like reading “Les Aventures de Tintin” in French while enjoying only pictures but skipping all text. To be honest, it really feels a lot better due to the stunning scent of the macchia. Tintin, by the way, being the only Belgian I have made friends so far. Pardon my saying, the Belgians have always remained as a distant mix of Celtic and Germanic people to me. Almost the same applies to my conception about Belgian like what Edward Lear wrote about Albania “To the unlearned tourist, indeed, Albania is a puzzle of the highest order.” That said, I think I actually might still do something for removing this reason from my own list of regrettable subjects. How to manage that, I can’t dare to think, since I’m just in the middle of seeking old age core and line of my future for remaining years. Then, what is that actually? I’ve been going round the Europe in the past months and ended up walking in Corsica. Part of my senses say that I should really get back home for the autumn but the other part try to appease and just make me enjoy lightly the days of summer. Am I becoming homesick or what?

I’m not yet to announce the village of Solaro as a garden of Eden but this wonderful walk certainly makes me feel like quoting Voltaire, French philosopher “Le paradis terrestre est où je suis.” Returning down from the hill along narrow and meandering road while the trees occasionally give way to the front of the landscape of Parc naturel regional de Corse. Staying and resting in the shadow of shrubs and pines with my picnic snack makes me notice how local salami and cheese with tomatoes on top of bread restores my strength and drives any remaining headache away. Slicing rest of the salami and figs with my Laguiole knife, I decide it must be best to keep on going with the plan and shortly head north to Bastia. Instead of drinking any wine I take a few good gulps of warm water and wonder if I could even try to reach Bastia early tomorrow. Despite the hiking I really feel freshened and soon hurry back downhill to the campsite with brisk pace stretching my mind with interesting mythology and debate about the insect depicted on the back of the Laguiole knife. This is a high-quality equipment I seldom leave home without. What ever the legend truly is I’m still convinced insect is representing Aubrac cow fly.

* To be exact, Pastis is flavored with Illicium verum, commonly called star aniseed.

This chapter is an example from yet unpublished volume
currently identified as "The Fast and Slow Rays"
by Yumatzuga (2011-2014).

Cheerio

Corsica Landscape Learned (I/II)

October 26, 2014

It is a long time since I left the Carlo Riva Marina at the southern basin of the harbor of Rapallo with Van Emst family. Magnificent moments of the glorious voyage thru Corsica coast side are recorded and forever sealed in my memory.

I sit in a cafe & snack bar enjoying Pane Carasau, that is a traditional flatbread, with La Bottarga di Cabras, the roe of the Sardinian Flathead Mullet. It makes a genius snack. Especially that coming from the pond of Cabras. I know that I’m far from there yet and therefore need to start picking up pace with my journey. Afterwards, while enjoying a glass of noon brandy and one of my very last petit corona cigars, I hear the radio playing a tune from the past, “Second Chance”, a song by American rock band 38 Special. Something that really reminds me having a second chance of my own life. “All I made was one mistake, how much more will I have to pay?”

I have been born with short fuse which I have occasionally had to pay quite a bit. This feature, as I have learned, is something one can never completely weed out but you can always develop. In general the whole path of life seems to be just one steep walk on the line in between development and purgatory. I recall a very good definition about mentality of Mediterranean people. It was said that for example an Italian being sharp and punctual is taking that as an act of slavery while driving fast is an act of liberation. This explained quite a bit to me originating from faraway north. It was, however, far from driving fast for me this time. I had managed to hire an old 2CV Fourgonnette van “Weekend” version with removable rear seating. This made it possible for me to overnight in the car if so needed. It was an amazing relic from the good old days. Exactly like I preferred.

After discovering the old beast of burden I had rejected previous plan for having base camp in Porto Vecchio and instead decided to go round the island on counterclockwise direction by first driving the 2CV eastern side up till town of Bastia on the Tyrrhenian sea, looking the Tuscan archipelago. This would be around 150 kilometer trip that I should accomplish in three to four days. Surely, the 2CV could go the whole way in a single day, but why rush if we already come so far without any real schedule. Then I would say farewell to the Citroen and go onboard a train from Bastia to Ponte-Leccia junction and continue down to Ajaccio, which is terminus and capital in southwest of Corsica. This would eventually save me time and money while still discovering plenty of the island. We were having the first days of July already and my mind was grabbed by a mixed emotions by the fact that I had been lazy and goofing around Porto-Vecchio for way too long. I needed to get myself away from Corsica well before August when the masses of european tourist will arrive. I had not planned anything after Ajaccio but it would be great to sail to Sardinia, It did not need to be any similar blow of luck I had with Van Emst family but any decent ferry would do me fine. I had decided to leave this decision to be taken until on site at the harbor and take it all forward a day by day. In any case I had a distant dream of eventually meet the beaches of Porto Pino and Pinetto Porto and that Caribbean-like turquoise sea at the very southern tip of Sardinia. After all it was concluded that my heart definitely deserved a second chance.

I left Porto-Vecchio on 6th of June heading for Pont de Fautéa camping at Conca, a small strip of beach thru the commune of Lecci. I had decided that “my home is where my car is” would be my theme for this stage and Citroen was good enough vehicle to give some privacy and shelter for sleeping and that was practically all I needed. The ride was smooth as always on 2CV. Tiny engine purring steady like a kitten. I had the windows open and kind of regretted selecting such a hard top model but after all this was the best vehicle to offer long bed for sleeping. With up to date standard car this 30 km ride would take less than an hour. Today I was traveling more like at the speed of a scooter and it took me over an hour to reach Pont de Fautéa. They advertised the restaurant with fish specialties and as it was lunch time already I headed for fresh fish or even just a soup since it was really hot day again. Don’t get me wrong here. I really love hot weather and that never makes me complain. Well, at least if it will stay below + 35 °C.

The fish soup was actually very good with all the trimmings like stale bread, garlic and mayonnaise. Camping site itself was pretty modest. It seemed that some camping sites are like ten square meter supermarkets. Only the name reveals that they are actually for camping. Otherwise the traveller would not notice this when the difference to real camping facilities is such huge. I ended up far from complaining. The weather was like a dream and with filled stomach I had a bit of a snooze in the shadow of the restaurant terrace looking to very pleasant view towards the sea. While the moderately slow traffic passed by camping site, with some caravans and recreational vehicles, I had a somewhat ugly nightmare about the deadliest accident in aviation history at Tenerife airport. After waking up, I decided, it is going to be for some time before I shall have fish soup again. I also decided completely discard all TV content from now on. Especially any aviation documentary. This is something I have well used to since we have not had any television set at home for long since. After some refreshing gulps of freshly squeezed lemon drink I was slowly recalling a snippet of a poem and let myself back to the road and next camping site.

“The sea was sapphire coloured, and the sky
Burned like a heated opal through the air;
We hoisted sail; the wind was blowing fair
For the blue lands that to the eastward lie.”

I managed to select a radio station that played my favorites from the seventies. This was pretty odd but extremely amusing because these stations tend to play all modern tunes only. Today bands like 10cc, Journey and Thin Lizzy had their time in the air. It was around 30 km to beach side camping site Sole d’Or for the night and I really wanted to reach that during daytime. Nothing wrong with the nights though but I just did not wish to end up chasing this perch in the dark with these dull yellow headlights. Of course it is not impossible to overnight in the bush either but today I felt like having a shower and decent meal that would make my day. While driving the sunny coastline with old tunes from the past I started to think that if, as it’s been said, when perfection is no coincidence then were the hell all the young dolly birds? My wife had spent her time in southern France for some half a year already while it was originally supposed to be only a short vacation. She probably started wondering if there is coming back at all. Myself, I had been traveling here and there and starting to wonder exactly the same. Well, maybe longer separation would eventually clear the outcome of our relation. I tried to get rid of thinking the unpleasant issue of personal relationships and instead stay enjoying slow road and great scenery. The radio sound did suffer from little 2CV engine roar. Well, this, less than 400 cc, engine did not actually roar but was more like vaguely screaming in pain as we climbed some low hills. Luna by Alessandro Safina, however, vanished completely under the noise and become a part of the cacophony.

In 1909 Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton wrote in his book The Heart of The
Antarctic, “Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons. Some are actuated simply by a love of adventure, some have the keen thirst for scientific knowledge, and others again are drawn away from the trodden paths by the “lure of little voices”, the mysterious fascination of the unknown.” I’m pretty convinced that the last definition is true in my case. Leaving for this completely unplanned voyage just happened. Like the most of the things in my life. Very little future was planned and even if so then these might still not have happened at all. Still I would not wish to determine me being at a loose end since even unplanned there has always been this “lure of little voices”.

Starting from Porto-Vecchio the Corsican east side views are no different to any other southern landscape of today. At July the scenery is still moderately green all over. Mountains stay port side inlands and paint the horizon with occasional white tops. The road is good quality even not among the widest ever seen. The speed limit varies from 70km/h downwards and occasionally there are warning signs of deer danger. Also multiple sighs scattered for commercial accommodation, villas, beach bars and restaurants. Practically the left side of the road is for private houses and right side for these services and grazing land. There are occasional bridges over rivers running from the mountains. These rivers are, of course, at mid-summer time more or less dry furrows. At places a power line pylons follow the road direction. The island has, in addition to traditional fuel power plants, various interesting energy projects of utilizing wind, sun and hydrogen power.

I was guided by a crumpled tourist map that I had grabbed somewhere in Porto-Vecchio. It showed that by boat shop Isula Marine Solenzara at junction of Solaro, I should turn right and drive Marine de Solaro up till the beach. At the junction there was a luring sing informing about Le Crocodile Bar and I could almost smell the Pastis. The road becomes narrow and follows the side of boat shops fenced storage area. There are some private houses on right side of road now straight as an arrow and eventually ending at parking lot right next to sea. I have reached camping Sole d’Or Les Flots Bleus, the blue waves that is and what an excellent place it all turns out to be. Before anything else I decide to park the vehicle and head towards Pastis at the beach bar in near distance.

This chapter is an example from yet unpublished volume
currently identified as "The Fast and Slow Rays"
by Yumatzuga (2011-2014).

Cheerio