It took five minutes in Avignon at the Hotel D’Europe to realize the thing that made Corsica so different, so special. So relaxing, so calm. Besides the fabulous weather and the multitudinous beaches…
No Brits. No Americans.
And it took five minutes in the car back to the Ajaccio airport for our driver Philipe to spill the beans about why he didn’t meet us on our arrival in Corsica. He had called us while we were in our taxi (we snagged the last one at the airport taxi stand, after the last flight of the day) to berate us for being early and not waiting for him, talking over me as I tried to explain that we had waited for half an hour - “But you were early! How could I know?” Ummm internet? Cel phone?
“But I will meet you at Hotel Miramar for your return! At twelve and a half!”
Twelve and a half indeed.
So! five minutes onto our ride back to the airport, the very ride that started promptly at twelve and a half, Philipe confesses that there were in fact two flights that arrived that fateful day in Ajaccio at the same time from Paris, and he was waiting patiently with a big smile and a sign with our names - at the wrong flight.
Wild, Remote. Self contained. Self assured. Content.
Bonifacio. Sartène. Propriano. Weathered cliffs of white chalk. Houses glued to the very edges of the cliffs. They hang like perched vultures over the sea. Nothing below. A white wild Petra.
We eat on a tiny balcony in a restaurant where if you drop your fork it will spear a seagull on the way down to a watery end. We wake with the sun and linger over espresso on our deck overlooking the sea.
We wander twisting streets and get lost - and found - a dozen times in a day. We find, on the way down from yet another church that gives me the creeps, a cabinet with a glass front and dozens of juicy chickens browning inside. We return at lunch time to an empty cabinet, to locals leaving with bagged chickens, to two tiny tables facing the street, one staked out by a local man and his daughter - they are both on the curb smoking - and the most delicious smells. We have no idea what the menu says, the owner asks us what part of the chicken we want by waving his hands over those parts of his body. I get a whole breast with wing attached and a steaming heap of tiny potatoes glistening with chicken fat. Wally gets breast leg and thigh with the same meltingly tender potatoes. We think we can't possibly eat it all - we are so wrong,
We ask for beer - apparently a universal word. He shakes his head, goes out the door, and returns with the owner of the bar next door. We pantomime - he returns with two bottles beaded with cold and perfect with the chicken.
The unexpected, the confusing, the difficult, the spontaneous, the things beyond your comfort zone - they are the best memories.