We depart from the ferry docks in Marseille early in the morning. It's going to be a long day on the waters as we head south.
On board the ferry, lashing the bikes to the railing in case of inclement weather
Over 11 boring hours later, we arrive at our first southern destination: Corsica at night.
We are dropped off at the north-east peninsula of the French island of Corsica. It's not that late in the evening, but it's already dark and we don't have a place to sleep. Before we docked, I had found a campsite just a couple of kms away from the ferry port. The night air is chilly on the short ride over. When we got there, the reception was closed, so we set up our tent at an empty site.
The sites are pretty much all empty, save for a couple of RVs. Tourist season is long over, and there are no other tents on the campgrounds. We are the crazy ones, sleeping outside this late in the season. At least it doesn't rain, so we just shivered through the night, instead of shivering and swimming...
Still not sure if Neda's water-proofing spray job on the tent is going to hold. Not sure I want to test it out either...
Sunshine greets us in the morning
So does the ranger of the campsite. He pulls up to our tent in an electric golf cart while Neda is preparing breakfast. I exchange a few pleasantries with him en français and pay the camping fee and he drives away satisfied.
The campsite is right on the shores of the peninsula, so after breakfast, we take a quick stroll around the area before we pack up the tent.
The beach beside the campsite is deserted. Only a few die-hard sun-seekers, no doubt escapees from colder climates like us
For the past couple of weeks, we've done a lot of commuting and hanging out with friends. But now, the weather is so nice in Corsica...
From the beach, we are able to see the Citadel in the town of Bastia in the distance
We just want to ride!
Our route for the day is south. There are two main roads running down the length of the island, one through the middle and one on the east coast. We take neither, instead opting for the more smaller, less-traveled, but twistier mountain roads on the west side of Corsica. But first, to get there we must skirt the northern edge of the island.
We get amazing views of the coast as the road heads up into the northern mountain range
The scenery is so beautiful, we just have to stop to take some pictures
That Neda. Always with the camera. And me, patiently waiting for her while she snaps away...
The road between St-Florent and Losari heads a bit inland and becomes very twisty! Nice!
I love when you can see the different layers of mountains in the distance. It reminds me of one of those 3D pop-up books
There are absolutely no cars on the road. I love being here during low season. Well, it's not exactly low season. We're at the tail end of the shoulder season, so while the weather is not warm enough to lie on the beach or go swimming (which is what vacationers in Corsica typically do), it is perfect for riding!
The road re-joins the coast and we stop at a pretty town called L'Île-Rousse
Taking a walk on the deserted boardwalk. The sandy beaches in the distance,
so popular during high season, are completely empty
We head into the centre of town to grab some lunch
Lots of nice little bistros and cafes line the main square
The hills of northern Corsica are beckoning to us: forget about the towns, come back to the road!
One last picture before we head back to the bikes
We're basically following one road, the D81, as it winds across pretty coastal towns and up through the mountains. It's funny that the road we're on is listed as one the Most Dangerous Roads in Europe. In fact, most of the fun, twisty mountain roads that we've ridden on are on that list. If you ever want to find a great motorcycle road, just Google "Most Dangerous Roads" in whatever area you're interested in.
Check it out: Twisties Heaven!
Ooooh, a switchback! Soooo dangerous!!!
We're now headed south through the Monte Cinto mountain range. The turns get tighter and twistier and we are loving it.
D81 snakes through the mountains and the vegetation threatens to close in on us
As we head further south, we notice that the rocks have changed in colour, from greyish-white to a more brownish-reddish hue
At times, D81 moves from the mountains to the shoreline and we're treated to more magnificent coastal views from high atop
But we still have to keep our eyes on the road, because it's twisty! Yay!
Man, look at the mountains all around us. Beautiful!
We *have* to stop for another scenic break
The rocks here have turned a more orangey-reddish hue!
Again, Neda taking more pictures while I wait patiently for her
Orange-red mountains of western Corsica meet the Mediterranean Sea
Back on the yellow, er red brick road
What a great day of riding! With gorgeous views and amazing, curvy roads.
We checked into a really nice hotel in Porticcio, which is half-way down the west coast of Corsica. The island is small, only 200 kms from top to bottom, but we spent the entire day just doing half that distance and had a great time enjoying the ride.
Our place in Porticcio! And cheap too, because it's low season
Being here at this time reminds me of riding through the Algarve in Southern Portugal during their low season a couple of years ago. We're able to stay in some really nice hotels for around $40/night. Good deal.
We're only booked here for one night. The next morning, I asked Neda if she was ready to hit the road. She shook head. Yeah, neither was I. I walked downstairs to reception and paid for another night in our resort-hotel.
So funny! As soon as we find someplace nice and warm, all forward motion ceases and we're at a standstill again.
Are we ever going to leave Corsica? Not sure...