Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Corsica's Indian Summer of 2009

As I write this on 6th October, Corsica’s Indian summer is still in full swing. Today, we walked from Ostriconi Village, in the Balagne’s northern corner, across Ostriconi’s fabulous beach, and along the northern edge of the desert des Agreates in the direction of St Florent. Of course we didn’t get that far – it’s a two or three day hike and we were just out for a day’s stroll.

And apart from anything else it was too hot. We got as far as a windy bluff above a tiny cove with crystal clear water occupied by two canoeists in a canoe biplace. I’m not sure what the place was called. We were grateful for the little patches of shade that we encountered on the way back, thanks to a few clumps of trees, but by the time we got back to Ostriconi, we were hot and sweaty. We practically tore off our boots and clothes as we got to the beach and plunged into the autumn-cool Mediterranean. What a joy!

Before the big autumn winds come, the beaches in the Balagne look a bit like a dance floor after all but one or two of the dancers have left. Even sparsely-populated Ostriconi looks a little tired at the end of the season, with thousands of footprints, the remains of children’s sandcastles and constructions made of driftwood along its considerable length.

I like the autumn winds here. They strip this beach clean of all evidence of human passage, leaving it clean and dazzling – just a belt of perfect white sand between the blue breakers of the Northern Mediterranean and the darker waters of the lagoon behind with its precious ecosystem.

I'm always surprised how clean many of the beaches look but am not aware of too many actually having a regular sweeping. Is there some kind of winter clean-up by coastal communes? One exception last summer was the fabulous stony beach at Argentella between Calvi and Galeria where a huge amount of detritus was strewn along the northern half of the beach. But this was detritus, not left behind by holidaymakers, but seemingly swept in by successive tides. Most of it was plastic, alas, and would have filled many dozens of bin liners.
Hi Derekthered,
I've been in Corsica for 5 times now and it is my favourite travel destination in Europe. Unfortunatly I've never been to the region around St. Florent. Due to your article I will change that at my next visit in Corsica.
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