Monday, 2 August 2010

Kathryn's visit to Corsica

Up Close with Ajaccio
Kathryn the fish Campomoro holiday town Sundowners on the beach A Slam Dunk into the Rubbish Bin The Street Entertainment
Hi from Clare, Kathryn’s Visit to Corsica Saturday 31st July YOU SAY GOODBYE, I SAY HELLO After our farewell dinner with Annie and Liam (“Gone with the Wind”) and Amanda and Mark (“Balvenie”) we said goodbye to our cruising buddies and returned to Ajaccio to pick up our Aussie friend Kathryn on Tuesday morning. Kathryn flew in from her busy work environment in Manila for some peace and quiet on “Eye Candy”. Unfortunately she can only stay till Saturday so we have to make the most of our time together. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD So late Monday we washed the boat, cleaned below and prepared the aft cabin and bathroom in readiness. With the job finished Andrew and I decided to sit on the bow, enjoy a cool drink and take in a magnificent sunset silhouetting the city skyline. Close by the cars were leaving the city area to go home (Photo 1) and it struck me how much we take all this for granted. I remember a few years back we were anchored in the capital of Lesbos and we were very excited about being so close to the action. Now we are just metres away from the capital city of Corsica watching the busy world go and it is “just another anchorage”. My thoughts were focused on what I needed to buy at the supermarket. Shame on me! So after a reality check I took the time to appreciate the spectacular mountains, the city skyline, the old town and the citadel, what a wonderful sight. I’LL HAVE TO BE QUICK Tuesday morning we embarked on a quick trip to the supermarket. Well you can forget “quick”. The supermarket was huge and totally overwhelming. I stopped just inside the door and thought “Where the heck do I start” What an amazing place, it went on forever and had everything you could possibly hope for and then any amount of items never seen before. This coupled with the French labels; I realized that “quick” was not possible. The variety of pre packed and pre cooked food was staggering. Clearly, if cost wasn’t a consideration, and you wanted instant dinner, this was the place to shop. It took me about ninety hurried minutes to cover the store and select what I needed for the coming week. The next time I shop here, I will make sure I have plenty of time (and a cut lunch). FRENCH CHAMPAGNE - WHY NOT? Kathryn arrived around lunchtime with a big smile and a bottle of Verve Clicquot Champagne to celebrate the occasion. She is a natural on the boat and even enjoys the rolling and the swell. It’s just as well as we anchored across the bay for the first night along with a number of other yachts and did our fair share of rolling. Kathryn was in and out of the water enjoying every minute. She exclaimed “and you do this every day?” (Photo 2) Wednesday morning we sailed twenty miles to Campomoro which is a popular anchorage in a large bay surrounded by trees and scrub-covered hills with a long sandy beach. There is a lovely old fort and tower on the headland and a very pretty holiday village along the foreshore. We spent the day there enjoying the clean water for swimming and soaking up the sun’s rays. We ate dinner on the boat and enjoyed our champagne followed by Limoncello Liqueur. CHOCOLATE INDULGENCE Thursday morning we took the dinghy ashore and explored the holiday village (Photo 3) we weakened and bought the local chocolate filled donuts for morning tea, and enjoyed every mouthful. We decided to sail back to our original anchorage across from Ajaccio. The morning was a little overcast and stronger winds were forecast for the following day. Kathryn was starting to glow bright pink from sun exposure so a four hour sail in the shade of the bimini was a good plan. Later in the day the sun appeared in time for drinks on the beach at sunset (Photo 4). We then had dinner in the cockpit followed by candlelit drinks and stimulating conversation until midnight. PAY BACK Friday morning, feeling a bit shabby, we escaped the roll of the boat and spent a few hours on terra firma snoozing on the beach and enjoying the clean 27 degree water. Sadly this would be our last swim before returning to the not so clean Ajaccio harbour. SLAM DUNK Before leaving the anchorage we had the opportunity of throwing our rubbish bags into the floating bins provided. We had seen these bins, shaped like cup and sauce, in another anchorage and wondered what they were. It wasn’t until we saw someone drop rubbish off that the penny dropped. So the plan was: Andrew would motor the boat as close as possible to the bin, Kathryn would throw the rubbish and I would take photos. So Kathryn was perched on the side deck with the rubbish. Andrew’s last minute advice was “don’t throw the rubbish unless you are sure you can get it in” Kathryn was looking very pensive and I was ready with the camera. The only problem was Kathryn was so quick “slam dunking” that in went two bags of rubbish and one wine bottle so fast that I missed the bags in full flight. I did however capture Kathryn (Photo 5) jumping up and down grinning from ear to ear and clapping her own achievement. Well done Kathryn, darn good effort I say. DINNER OUT Arriving back in Ajaccio, we went into the city, browsed through the shops, and toured some of the old city. In the evening Kathryn treated us to dinner. We ate a delicious meal in one of the many outdoor restaurants in the old city. Our restaurant was situated in a quiet leafy cobblestone street not far from la Maison Bonaparte. We were surrounded by “well to do” early 18th century four story houses with shutters on every window. Three hundred years on, they are still very appealing. TOTAL CHAOS The side streets were closed to traffic but back on the boulevard the traffic was almost at a standstill. It would be a nightmare trying to drive, parking would even be worse. We noticed that cars were parked two and three deep. I wondered if perhaps you just sleep in the car until you can get out. BUYER BEWARE Friday night is known as Shopping Night and in July and August the Tourist Office and Chamber of Commerce put on lots of musical and theatre shows. There is free entertainment in many streets (Photo 6) and a large night market on the foreshore. It was a lovely warm night so we strolled through the market on the way home and found dresses that were half price compared to the shops. Good thing we didn’t buy anything earlier in the day. WAKE UP CALL So all too soon it was Saturday morning with the alarm ringing at 5.15am for Kathryn to make tracks. All three of us enjoyed our time together and we hope it won’t be too long before Kathryn can return for some more happy days on Eye Candy. SO WHAT’S NEXT We want to spend a day or so exploring the city and then we will travel north to the top of Corsica. Love Candy xx