My Corsican Obsession

by farrah on June 7, 2017 · 0 comments

Years ago I saw a travel show about Corsica. It was before I was married, but my boyfriend (now husband) indulged me in the fantasy that someday we’d go. We went to a Barnes & Noble and I bought a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. I remember paging through it, looking a the beautiful pictures and thinking of that woman I saw in the travel show riding a horse up a rocky hill. I wanted to go there. I would go there. Not sure how or when, but it was going to happen.

Photo credit: Castellu Piattu website.

So since that was prior to our wedding in 2006, and we were engaged for two and a half years- that had to be about 2003 (at least that’s what the guide’s publishing date tells me). In the back of my mind Corsica has remained my ‘white whale‘ for over the last decade plus. When it began I was living in Michigan working in an office and going to school at night for my MA in teaching. In that office part of my duties included responsibility for shipping expat mail overseas.

Soon, I’ll be going here with my husband. While I like (love) going by myself to different places, it’s when we get to go away together that I enjoy the most. The monkey wrench though is that hardly ever happens because kids. They’ve been too little and we’ve not had relatives living nearby who could watch them- except for the once a year when my in-laws came to visit. Bless them. The in-laws I mean, of course. And this summer they’re coming and my husband finally said it’s time to go to Corsica.


The quick and dirty is this: We know that Corsica is where Napoleon was born. We know that it’s governed by the French- although Italy and its Tuscan coast is just a stone’s throw away. What isn’t common knowledge is that it’s believed humans settled in Corsica 9,000-10,000 years ago. The island has changed hands over the centuries- and at times competes with its southern neighbor Sardinia for an identity. Sadly, I learned from my trusty guide that ‘two ancient ‘foreign’ dialects are almost extinct due to the prominence of French: the Ligurian dialect of the 13th century Genoese colonists and Greek imported by refugees from the Peloponnese in the 17th and 18th centuries.’  We do know that it looks amazingly beautiful.


I’ve busted out my old DK book with its yellowing pages and don’t care if it’s updated or not. The story is still the same, as is the history. I’ve looked on youtube for that old video which sparked this Corsican lust so long ago, but alas I cannot find it. Thus I end up Googling and research from there. I usually try to refrain from researching a place to death before I go- but in this case, I want to get it right for us. I’ve read some blogs and some websites and I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to get there.

My husband found the most amazing place to stay– set in a vineyard, just 5km from the beach. It has a beautiful pool and from what I can tell is isolated and has just 5 rooms for guests. He also rented us my dream car- a tiny Fiat (it’s a dream because what I wouldn’t give to have a tiny adorable Italian car, but hello not practical) to navigate the hairpin turns and gps-less navigation.

We fly from the NL to Nice, where we’ll spend an entire day. From there I have this fantasy of popping over to Monaco and grabbing a stamp for ye olde passport- but not sure this is feasible. Anyhow- around dinnertime we find our ship and take an overnight cruise to the port of Ajaccio where we arrive in the morning. There we get the little Fiat and attempt to find our lodging. I’ve been reading how even the strongest of stomachs and the least likely of those can get car sickness due to the twisting and winding roads, so I’m already planning on how to stock up on medicine because I WILL NOT allow that to slow us down.

Once we (hopefully) find Castellu Piattu, the mission begins. In the amount of time that we have, I have grand aspirations of exploring the north- which according to some websites is still less molested by the tourist trade- and in fact the region of Balagne sounds like my ideal location:

Balagne is also called the garden of Corsica because of its fertile grounds and extended agricultural activity. The region is one of the main producer of olives and olive oil and even has its own local variey called  “niellaghja”. It is also endowed with a beautiful winding coast, sprinkled with some pristine white sand beaches and red granite rocks. The bay of Calvi is probably the jewel in this crown. To top it all, the region also offers a very rich mountain side: scenic landscapes hiking, river swimming and finally more churches that you could ever wish for.


So now we wait. I’ve started reading The Vendetta as I tap my fingers and try really really hard not to ‘wish away the days’. I’ll keep rereading this Conde Nast article from 2014 and make my copious notes from my trusty guidebook. I guess the question now is- where to next? Does one pick another white whale? What if my expectations are too high- but then again, is that even possible? All these questions. I guess I just need to wait and find out.

Ps- I don’t think I’ve mentioned lately that I realize how lucky I am. I’m grateful for every single thing I get to see on this earth and appreciate each moment. Life is a ride we take once, y’all.

Have you been to Corsica? Also- I’m curious what your ‘white whale’ might be?


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