Traversing the body of water between the island of Sardinia and that of Corsica was one that was amazingly quick (~50 minutes), but it was the easiest part of our journey to town of Porto Vecchio on the southeastern coast of Corsica. Arriving in Bonifacio, we (in case you haven’t been following, I’m referring to my friend and I) went to the bus stop believing that there would be one coming within the hour to drive us the necessary twenty minutes to the small town. After sipping a café and waiting a tad bit, though, we soon came to realize that the schedule was separated into the regular schedule and the tourist one (beginning from June). All of which meant that we had already missed the last bus (leaving at 1PM, and we arrived at 3PM by ferry) to Porto Vecchio for the day.
After some failed attempts in hitchhiking (i.e. walking up to persons and asking for a ride, only to be politely declined) and in renting a car (apparently, the minimum age to rent a car in all of Corsica is 23), we finally got a phone number for a taxi. In Paris, if you are to wait by the taxi stand, a taxi will eventually drive by and offer you their services; in Bonifacio, though, taxis aren’t so common since many people drive, so it isn’t likely that one will drive by the stand within the hour unless you call them.
Our driver, Marc, was great; we were offered the flat rate of 55€ (if metered, it can be a little more, but we also had to stop by an ATM). Funny to note that our dear taxi driver actually had a business card with phone number and website for his services. In any case, if you’re in need of a taxi in the southern part of Corsica, he’s a great option.
After being dropped off at our hotel, Hotel Shegara, we quickly checked ourselves in before heading into town for drinks and dinner. While the hotel was clean and the staff was great, it was a tad disappointing to find that the wifi wasn’t working since I had planned to work on my essays a tad. But it didn’t quite matter since we were finally back in French territory where my unlimited internet with Orange was in perfect working order.
La Marine 20137
Given that Porto Vecchio is a small town, there are only so many places by the port for a drink or for a meal. But with that said, it’s quite easy to detect the hot spots in that case. It becomes clear from reading the menus that Corsica is definitely influenced by the Italians what with their offerings of pizza and gelato. We hit up what seemed to be Porto Vecchio’s hot spot, Café La Marine. Opting for a break from all the pizza that we’ve been eating, we ordered some sushi, which was relatively decent. I’ve never been quite a big fan of sushi, or ethnic food in general, in France (well, most specifically in Paris), but there are times in which I’ll give it a try and find it satisfying enough. The café itself seems to be the local hangout what with it being the only packed spot of the whole town by the port.
Café La Marine
Quai Pascal Paoli 20137
The following day was spent wandering amidst the streets of the old town (haute ville), which revealed a much larger part of the town. With that said, though, its one monument le bastion was closed. We were delighted, however, to stop by the pizza joint, Planet Pizza, near our hotel (rather placed in the middle of nowhere) for a great pie and their take on the Hawaiian, which they dubbed as the Exotique.
Avenue Georges Pompidou
20137 Porto Vecchio
In order to reach Bastia (which was where we would fly out of), one had to pay 22€ for a two-hour coach trip with a driver who wasn’t seemingly all there with his slurred words and bumpy driving. To add to the “entertaining” ride, one of the passengers decided to bring aboard with him a six-pack of beer, with the poor realization that alcohol passes through the system quite quickly resulting in the need for a bathroom break. He later approached the bus driver to pull over, which he did. And after the bathroom break, both shared an impromptu off-schedule smoke together.
The thing to note about Bastia, and perhaps a lot of Corsica, is that it is completely reliant on the tourist season. So it was rather funny to walk into cafés and such only to learn that food would be served “starting May 15th.” With that said, though, we did find an establishment serving food, Pub Concorde, which was where most of city could also be found. While the niçoise salad was seemingly small in portion, it in fact was quite filling, as was the pizza that my friend ordered.
Place St Nicolas
Now the comes the moment of amusement for some. We had decided that we would spend the night at the airport so as to save on hotel costs and to ensure that we would be on time for our flight. However, the airport (Bastia-Poretta BIA) actually closes in the evening. So our whole plan went out the window, and we ended up walking 2km to the nearby Hotel Poretta, which was relatively nice and cheap (70€ for the night for two persons; wi-fi included, but no breakfast). Normally the walk wouldn’t have been a bother, but it does evoke a sense of eeriness when walking alongside the wet road with no sidewalk, and few lights.
The following morning, we had to take the same trek back to the airport, but a nice gentleman saw our sad selves and offered us a ride to the airport so as to save us from having soaked feet. Everything from there on in went smoothly; check-in, security, waiting time (BIA has free wifi), and flight.
And so we conclude our Corsica trip, in which we learned that the people are in fact rather nice, that to really get around, one needs a car, and that the major cities are rather reliant on the tourist season.