Sunday, October 23, 2016

Driving Around Cap Corse, Corsica

The northern tip of Corsica is narrow and rocky with one minor road going round the point connecting the scattered small communities.

It's a fabulous seaside drive for cars and bicycles - but be forewarned, the roads are narrow and constantly curving. There were lots of cyclists out for the day when we drove the route on a Sunday.

The east coast is fairly low, while the west coast rises up into steep cliffs.

We took a very steep, narrow side road (our rule of thumb: don't take any road that is less than 1 1/2 lanes wide) down to the tiny coastal community of Barcaggio.

One restaurant was still open and doing a bustling business in leisurely Sunday lunches. We disappointed the owner by not being able to eat a full course, let alone three courses.

The rock around Barcaggio was astonishingly green. 

Bell towers are often separate from the church in Corsica.

Erbalunga, Corsica

Our first stop in Corsica was in Erbalunga, a small town just up the east coast from Bastia. And it was magical!

Erbalunga is now a tourist centre, but it was once one of Corsica’s major ports. The old town sits on a tiny peninsula jutting out from the coast and is a maze of tiny alleyways branching out from two small squares.

At the end of the peninsula is a tower, one of many erected by the Genoans to defend their territory of Corsica from the barbarians. There are hundreds of them!

The church has lost its roof and is now a balcony overlooking the sea.

There are potted plants, old walls, and pastel-coloured walls.

We were staying at Castel Brando, a lovely hotel in an old house surrounded by a garden. It was a wonderful place to stay with spacious rooms and pleasant staff. And – right across the street – was a boulangerie so that we could enjoy fresh pains au chocolat and bread for breakfast.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Travelling to Corsica

We took the ferry from Nice to Bastia, Corsica. It's normally a 6 1/2 hour trip. Ours was slightly longer for various reasons, including a large memorial ceremony in Nice which meant that our ferry left from a different dock. It had to back in around a very tight corner - a remarkable feat.

Many people headed to the top deck to enjoy the sunshine and last views of Nice.

We landed in Bastia after dark. Here's a shot of the ferry terminal taken from high up in the hills a few days later.

Nice: Sunshine and Rain

There was a massive thunderstorm on our second full day in Nice. Fortunately, the sun came out in the afternoon and we took a stroll along the Promenade du Paillon (a long, narrow park following the path of a former river), starting out at the Place Massena.

There's a wonderful children's playground based on sea creatures.

And there are tropical trees and flowers.

Our next stop was Vieux Nice with its narrow, winding alleyways.

And, of course, as soon as the sun came out, people headed to the beach.

Finally, a few shots of the European architecture, which I love.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nice, France: Tall Buildings, Balconies, Elegant Stores

It's been a rainy day in Nice but still very beautiful and we've enjoyed wandering the narrow streets. I love the wrought-iron balconies on the tall buildings.

I'm enjoying the palm trees and flowers. Below is the view from the hotel room my sister and I are sharing.

Our first stop was the market (obviously!).

There are some very elegant stores. The displays in the confiseries are a visual delight.

And there are heaps of fresh marrons glaces (one of my long-time favourites), not to mention chestnut yogurt! I'm also delighting in being able to talk French once more.

Galeries Lafayette is an elegant, expensive department store. We were very glad to be warm and dry for a change. Pierre Herme macarons are world renowned, and I loved the paintbrushes used as a wall decoration.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

En Route - Snapshots from Vancouver

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days in Steveston and Vancouver prior to flying to Europe. I love Vancouver and am always happy to spend time here. Here's why.

False Creek displays its autumn colours.

Granville Island Market is always a riot of colour.

I'm not quite sure about some of these macaron flavours. What do you think Michelle (Wild Serendipity Foods)?

I prefer elegant chocolate designs, but these ones made me chuckle.

It's such a pleasure to walk along the Fraser River in Steveston. There are birds and boats and the old canneries and shipyard to explore.

The buffalo cauliflower tacos at the Britannia Brewing Company in Steveston were an excellent blend of spicy cauliflower and fresh salad fixings. I really enjoyed their Rye IPA, which had a refreshing grassy flavour.

If you're in Steveston, be sure to visit Sinfully the Best.

You'll have a hard time deciding which chocolates to buy, but there are generous samples to keep you occupied while you ponder this difficult decision.

I'm Going Back: Penny's European Adventure