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Bonifiacio - Haute Ville and L'Escalier du Roy d'Aragon; Pietra and Dorothy Carrington

Bright, very warm, sunny Saturday here in Bonifacio.

This morning we walked from our hotel on the marina up into the Haute Ville, the oldest part of Bonifiacio with many buildings precariously perched on the edge of the cliff. After a brief tour we descended L'Escalier du Roy d'Aragon, the Staircase of the King of Aragon, a series of 187 steps (about the same as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris) cut into the side of the cliff. We had noticed the staircase from our boat yesterday (see photo). Like much of Corsica's history, the staircase has a fair amount of myth, i.e. lies, about it. Suffice to say it has absolutely nothing to do with the King of Aragon. The walk down was more of a challenge than expected - the steps are quite deep - but at the bottom there is a walking area about a quarter of a mile along the cliff face. The walk back up was done in stages.

We paused for a pleasant lunch in a tourist restaurant in the Haute Ville, before walking back down the hill, arriving at our hotel mid-afternoon. What to do? A bit late for heading out in our car on an even-abbreviated day trip, but too early to hang around our hotel room. So we headed out, each with a book, looking for a park or public spot to read and take in the beautiful weather. We ended up sitting outside at one of the many bar/restaurants that ring the marina, ordered a beer (Pietra, a Corsican brew) and read for more than an hour.

I took along Dorothy Carrington's Granite Island, an acknowledged classic work on Corsica. The first edition of the book appeared in 1966 and is an account of her time on Corsica since shortly after World War II, along with a lot of Corsican history. I tried to read it in the months leading up to our trip, but found it a tough slog. I was especially turned off by accounts of mythical Corsican figures like the mazzeri, the signadori and the evil eye. Maybe part of Corsican folklore and of some significance in understanding Corsican culture, but pure bunkum. However, I do enjoy her book as a traveling companion, now that I'm here.

A final comment on Bonifacio. It has a stunning setting, but there not much to do here. A full day would do justice to most of it highlights.

Tomorrow, we head up the west coast to Cargese - likely no blogging for about a week.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 6, 2012 9:22 AM.

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