It’s tough to find a place in the Mediterranean that is not overrun by tourists, especially the hordes from the north who populate and destroy the character of places in Spain and Portugal.
But there are times to visit the Mediterranean and there are places during those times that remain relatively untouched by the scourge of modern tourism.
Corsica is one of them.
One hour from Paris by plane or a slow boat from Marseilles will get you to this magical island that sits just off of the coast of southern France, west of the Italian peninsula, and north of the island of Sardinia. I made the most delightful wrong turn upon arrival in the airport and what should have been a 35-minute drive to the picturesque town of Saint-Florent, turned out with my GPS to be a two-and-a-half-hour journey through the hinterland, climbing mountain tops, and going through several weather changes, on my way back to, as it turns out, the airport!
As I discovered, Google Maps has bouts of unreliability nevermore than when you need it most.
But we covered mountain passes, pig farms, delightful stone villages, and oodles of bougainvillea that acted as hedge rose.
Driving was a little dicey but with my stick shift knowledge I was able to navigate some treacherous climbs and take a few stops to grab some time to take in the scenery. The scenery in this mountainous island was spectacular. Even in June there were 8,500 foot peaks of snowcapped mountains peering down across the turquoise Mediterranean Sea.
I had been to Sardinia some 30 years ago but this landscape was altogether different.
Eventually we picked up the road that we had ought to have picked up on the drive from the airport and started all over again. As it turns out, the confusion was because the sign for Saint-Florent had been crossed out by some angry Corsican separatists which left only the sign in Corsican that looked completely different.
A combination of Corsican separatists and Google Maps had conspired to give me an incredible introduction to this magical island!