The historic importance of that transaction is enhanced by the fact that Napoleon was a native Corsican, born in Ajenccia just five years after the French moved in. It’s hard to imagine, had Corsica remained Italian, or gained independence as the locals were attempting, that Napoleon would have been as effective in waging war and trying to take over the world. Instead it became part of France, he was born French, and the rest is history.
The ride up from Sardinia was exciting, mostly because the approach to Bonifacio is so striking. The city is built on the top of white limestone cliffs that rise about 230 feet straight up from the sea, and the views were amazing. Then you come around a corner and see that the city is built on a narrow spit of land making it appear to be a pretty much impregnable location. A good place for a fort, which is what the upper part of the city still is.We only spent a couple days here, but we filled them well. On our first day we rented a scooter to head up the island a bit to a spectacular beach for the day. Then the next day we hiked a couple miles to a very different and more secluded beach; for this, the hike was the primary excitement, better even than the beach.
So far, in our brief time back in France, two things stand out. First, it is so much easier to avoid bad carbs (bread, pasta, sugar) in Italy than in France. I know, who’d have thought that the land of pasta and pizza and risotto would be an easy place to avoid those bad-but-good carbs. But, as long as you just skip over the pages on a menu for pasta and pizza, you’re good. And at least in the parts of Italy where we’ve traveled since leaving the States last year, you order a main course and you decide what side dish you want with it. Here in France they’re constantly throwing french fries similar goodies on a plate. Strange.
The other difference so far is that public transportation here is a lot more costly and a lot less frequent than what we experienced in Italy. We’ll see how that goes over the next couple of weeks, but whereas in Italy we could always hop buses or trains wherever we wanted to go, it looks as though we may be renting a car to get around for day trips on Corsica. Yikes!