Islands of the Western Mediterranean travel blog

Calvi bay from the citadel

The artisan village of Pinga. All houses with violet/ble shutters

The I'lle Rousse. More red granite

It was very windy at the top. Dallas Fellowes

The "desert"in the mountains

First stop today was the citadel and as with all citadels it includes living areas and other buildings, including rooms for the French Foreign Legion which has a large camp in Calvi. Most of the work of the F.F. L is peace keeping now in areas once held as French colonies.

We saw a memorial to soldiers from Calvi who had died in wars, starting with WWI and Isobel told us that in WWII Men in France who had five or more children were not called up for military service but there was no such exemption for men from the region of Corsica.

The fort has a canon ball stuck in one wall a reminder of Neilson who responded to a request to free the city from the control of Genoa - this successful but the governance of England no more acceptable. Corsica has had such a varied history of control and domination but it was the first democracy in Europe.

Our travel then took us along the coast and back into the. Mountains to a hilltop village declared a Beaux Village of France about twenty years ago. There are advantages as money then comes for infrastructure and even assistance with maintenance of individual houses. Our climb up into the village, around and down again ended with a great refreshing drink, a combination of lemon juice and grape juice.

Next stop a small town, Pinga, in which all the wi Dow shutters have been painted a lovely violet blue and where various artisans work - a maker of musical instruments, potter, jeweller, music box maker.

Lunch at L'lle Rousse, the Red Island which is no longer an island as a causeway has been built. After lunch Dallas and I walked up in a very strong breeze to the top where there is a lighthouse, passing a watchtower on the way.. quite a climb!

More travel into the mountains as we headed for St Florent with a stopmto view what is called the desert. It is an area which once was used to plant wheat but over time with wind and poor framing techniques the top soil has gone and the rocks laid bare. While up looking at this Isobel collected a number of the plants which make up the maquis - the low vegetated area in so much of Corsica. From many of these plants essential oils are produced - one successful export for Corsica.

Have been out to dinner tonight with the whole group, our last whole group meal unless breakfast counts.

A busy day planned for tomorrow and then we fly to Paris.

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