Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Two memorable railways

I'm not a railway buff - which is probably the main reason why I never went on a Corsican train until I'd been coming to the island for more than a decade.

I use two of Corsica's railways on a regular basis these days, and I love them both for very different reasons. The first is the little beach railway that runs between Calvi and Ile Rousse in the Balagne (north west Corsica). In an island where there is no great emphasis on public transport, this little train opens up the whole of this 30 km stretch of coastline to the tourist and the local community alike, stopping for a minute at little sandy jewels like Arinella, Ste Restitude and Giorgio and also visiting the rather busier water sports mecca of Sant' Ambroggio before chugging slowly into Ile Rousse. This little railway offers the car-less visitor the real possibility of staying for a week as a pedestrian, yet being able to visit the whole coastline for very little outlay.

The second is the magnificent stretch of railway that runs between Bastia and Ajaccio, picking its way delicately between some of Corsica's highest peaks, and offering the visitor a succession of breathtaking views. I use this route when we have visitors - to show off the island's finest features to friends who come and see us. It has to be one of the most amazing railway journeys in Europe, up there with the Orient Express.

Don't expect speed or luxury! I've been delayed by three hours on the Ajaccio-Bastia route and I've been held up by breakdowns and horses on the line.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

counter customizable free hit