Tuesday, December 18, 2007


An intriguing perspective on Corsica’s way of life

Corsica’s strange and variegated landscape and climate have been in the news again this week. While I have been waiting in vain for a slightly white Christmas here in the UK (some hope!), they have been having blizzards in Central Corsica.

Motorists have been stranded, animals rescued and traffic patterns have been in chaos, while I’ve been learning about Corsica’s climate and vegetation, past and present, via an e-newsletter, from the comfort of my English sofa. In this month’s issue of Corsica Bullitinu – the English language newsletter about all things Corsican – there was an article about an archaeological project near Galeria that got me thinking about the way that Corsican people interact with their environment.

An international team of scientists from Corsica, the USA and Great Britain have been taking deep drill-core samples from river mouths, lakes and coastal lagoons. These samples, which contain pollen, charcoal and volcanic ash blown over by the wind from nearby Italy, tell an interesting story about the relationship between Corsicans, their animals and their way of life. It seems that in very early times, most of Corsica’s lowlands were covered by forest, but as humans and grazing animals spread over the island, the forest gradually gave way to the prickly, scrubby and aromatic vegetation we now know as the maquis.

According to one of the team involved in the work, Dr Keith Wilkinson of the University of Winchester in the UK, constant grazing stopped the larger forest tree species developing and with the changing landscape, the practice of transhumance started becoming a way of life some time in prehistory – possibly as early as 6,000 years ago. No wonder the maquis and the mountains are so deeply embedded in Corsican literature, music and consciousness.

If you want to receive Corsica Bullitinu every quarter, you can register for your free subscription on www.corsica-isula.com.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


No-frills airlines come to Corsica

The imminent acquisition of GB Airways by easyJet has caused a good deal of interest amongst those who are attached to the Island of Corsica.

At the moment, GB Airways, operating with their current partners British Airways, run two services between London and Corsica - a Sunday service to Bastia and another Sunday service to Ajaccio. Both run between May and September. When the easyJet deal is finalised, over the next couple of weeks, customers will have to book their flights on the easyJet website rather than BA's.

The good news is that easyJet are committed to maintaining the two services - at least for the coming season - and under their terms and conditions.

It's difficult to forsee how well the newcomer will be received on l'Ile de beauté. A survey carried out recently by Corsica Lista on easyJet's failure to get a route between Paris and Ajaccio showed a majority in favour of easyJet's stance, but there were dissenting voices. And just how the permanent residents, not known for their warmth toward big, brash, non-Corsican businesses like easyJet will react to the Orange and White livery is anybody's guess.

I enjoyed the flexibility offered by the GB Airways service a year or two ago when it was running Tuesday and Thursday flights as well as the weekend services. For now, I'm glad that the future of our Sunday service is assured and look forward to a day when easyJet starts thinking about expanding their small beginnings - maybe into April and October, as well as the other days of the week. But I wonder if they could be persuaded to keep the muted GB Airways livery on their planes?

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

counter customizable free hit