Our 2019 trip around south-west Corsica was electrifying but it couldn’t make its way through the weblog until now. I admit it, I’ve been way too lazy and that’s maybe because facebook and instagram posting is much easier and quicker. But it’s also a pity not to keep a proper journal as I do on the pages of this weblog, so here it is: our precious intimate trip in one of the loveliest corners of this wonderful island.
There’s no specific reason why I’m starting with this sketch of Santa Ghjulia; we stayed in Bocca di l’Oru, just a few kilometres north of this stretch of sand which divides a salty pond from the sea, with fine pale sand to contrast the deep green and brown of the pine trees. People come here to bath while riding their horses. Many small rocks emerge from the sea and allow the sand to set down and form a wide and shallow pool where the water shimmers.
Though the climate is pretty windy and dry, surprisingly there’s a lot of green to mark the landscape and likewise the villas’ gardens show an incredible variety of green shades built around a diversity of local plants and shrubs and not around artificially implanted lawns. That’s the premise of a landscape where the eye can hardly spot the human intervention or, to be correct, where human interventions can be spotted but aren’t that bothersome as they are in similar places like the near Sardinia.
Beaches are very varied in size and nature; some, like Tamaricciu and Acciagju are narrow but long, other ones like Palombaggia are wide and surrounded by majestic pine trees; remains of the last World War can be spotted all along the coast next to sighting towers and wild promontories.
But Corsica is a two-sided island. You just have to divert from the coast and take one of the winding roads which climb the mountains nearby to immerse yourselfe in an impressive and wild mountain landscape where the rugged granite rocks are covered by 30 metre tall pine trees of the Pinus Nigra Corsicana variety; being fond of botany I collected seeds and fruits all around the Bavella forest and the Rondinara beach: pine, wild strawberries and a particularly fragrant and pungent kind of lavender which grows practically everywhere: Lavandula Stoechas.
Corsica is also very touristic. I didn’t sketch anything in the wonderful Bonifacio because there was such a mess that I almost got mad; this was maybe my third or fourth trip to Corsica (of which the best one was in 2011, riding my Vespa) and though i love Bonifacio I couldn’t stay more than a few hours; too many people, too crowded parkings and not a single spot to relax and enjoy a beer. Instead, we discovered that in Porto Vecchio, though it’s a very touristic town, the brasserie in the main square is a very cheap and easy-going place where we could enjoy our aperitif while sketching and watching people passing by.
We had a wonderful time, bathing in the Solenzara river or hiking through the pine forests, where wild pigs lazily scurry crossing the road with their piglets; enjoying solitary beaches where the wind barely allows you to keep an umbrella open and living at the slow pace of summer.
The sketchbook was bound for this trip and I managed to fill it down to the last page; it’s a pleasant challenge and I hope I’ll be able to do it again soon, maybe the next summer, if this COVID19 emergency will finally leave us alone.