Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Getting from A to B

One of the things that people get wrong most often in Corsica is the time it takes to get from A to B.

Take the simple matter of driving from Calvi, in the Balagne (North West), to Ajaccio, Corsica’s capital, in the West. Look at the map, and you’ll see that there is a scenic road that goes along the coast through Porto – and it doesn’t look too far, either, maybe 80 km. An hour and a half maybe? … not on your nelly.

The journey will take you at least half a day, even if you can carry on without a rest to soothe your shattered nerves in Piana or Cargese, or both. The route is breathtakingly beautiful, and the road surface isn’t too bad these days. So what’s the problem? There are two main ones - the bends and the drops.

Between Galeria and Porto, the road is a succession of hairpin bends, and the driver will not be able to admire the scenery. There’s an additional problem if you’re heading south: the sheer, unprotected drop on the right hand side sometimes plunges hundreds of feet straight into the sea below. Rockfalls, wild goats, roadworks and caravans pose even more difficulties.

If you want to go to Porto to admire Les Calanches, a fantastic range of mountains between Porto and Piana, you don’t really have a choice. But if you just want to get to Ajaccio, go the long way via Corte, or even better, take the train. And wherever you’re going on this island, and whichever way you go, if you want to get there in one piece, give yourself about twice the time you think you’ll need.

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