Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mediterranean Cruise Day V.

5-5-15 BONIFACIO, CORSICA, FRANCE: We were docked in the harbor, literally, at the crack of dawn. In fact a lot of us were up at 6AM for the sunrise in Bonifacio. The harbor is long and narrow and sits in a ravine with tall, chalky-white limestone cliffs on each side. The town sits on top of the western cliffs. The upper town is called the Citadel. The town walls are largely intact and dotted with round forts at regular intervals. There are also lots of shops and restaurants at the harbor level. The sun put in an appearance at about 6:20.

After breakfast, we caught a tourist ‘train’ ride up the hill for a tour of the town. It is another one with narrow, twisting streets lined by stone, stucco buildings, a bunch of churches, a military statue, many bistros and souvenir shops. None of the streets are level, everything is either up or down and some of the streets are stairs. The east side of town cliff has stairs and a road with sharp cutbacks for access, but on the west side of town cliff is precipitously steep. The town is only a few blocks wide, from cliff to cliff. There are great views in every direction of the white, limestone cliffs and the sea and Sardinia in the distance. Several massive chunks of limestone have fallen from the cliffs into the sea.

We followed our talky guide for a while before sneaking off on our own. The less settled areas of town have profuse beds of wild flowers, especially around the cemetery. Eventually we walked down the cliff on several different sets of stairs that dumped us out near the ship in time for lunch.

After lunch in the sun on the afterdeck, we had a Zodiac cruise of the cliffs and saw them from the water. There were numerous caves and grottos, very clear water, and the several huge hunks of cliff that had fallen into the water. We saw a group of teens, some of whom dove into the water to impress us from chunks of cliff a few feet above the water. We were impressed a little. Before getting back to the ship, we met a Zodiac staffed by the ship’s bartenders anchored in an inlet with a pretty beach. Strawberry margaritas were served to the thirsty.

Dinner was at a harbor-side restaurant, Di Passano, with a wine tasting and a tapas style meal. We were entertained by a six man, polyphonic a cappella group, Le Choeur de Sartène, doing traditional music.

Bonfascio, Corsica, France harbor awaiting sunrise.

Sunrise at the Citadel in Bonfascio on top of the cliff, but not down at the harbor yet.

Uphill street or downhill street, depending.

Obligatory military-triumph statue.

Downhill street

Limestone cliffs.

Limestone bedrock erodes easily making inlets with white, sandy beaches.

The citadel and walls.

Wild poppies.

Cliff divers.

Does that last house look like a good investment?

walkway on the cliff near the water.

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