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The GR20 in Corsica - July 2008

Getting home Part II - Thursday 17th July
Bastia to Chez Moi

I woke at 7am, and then, remembering that I didn't have to walk, dozed for a while. When I woke again I remembered that Annie had to leave by 8am, though, and so I shot out of bed in a bit of a panic and went for a wash.

I saw Annie before she left, and she provided me with yummy stuff for breakfast, including my favourite hot chocolate :) I then packed up, and Freddy drove me to the station. We'd made enquiries on the way home from Bastia the day before, and I knew that the train for Calvi would be leaving from Biguglia at something like 9.30am. On the way we stopped off briefly at the beach, and Freddy showed me where he and Annie go swimming after they've been for a run at the weekend. Sigh...

Freddy dropped me at the station, and took me in whilst I bought my ticket. It was 16.80 Euros to Calvi, which seemed much cheaper than it would have been over here, and I heard Freddy instructing the bloke in the ticket office to make sure that I got onto the right train :) We said goodbye with a hug, and I watched Freddy drive away. Not forever, though, I hope: I'd love to show Annie and Freddy, Jacques and his wife some of the walking we have over here, and to have the opportunity at some stage to return even just a little of their enormous hospitality.

Easily bored, I began to play with the self-timer on the camera again whilst waiting for the train.

After that I read a bit more of my book--almost finished, at last--and when the train eventually arrived (the ticket office bloke walked across to warn me that it was coming) I got on, produced my ticket to the guard, dumped my pack with a bunch of other travelling bags and took a seat. I should really have spent my time looking out of the window, as I know this is said to be a very beautiful train journey, but I was so keen to finish my book that I barely raised my head until we arrived at Punto Leccia, where I was to change trains.

When I got there I was a little surprised to find that we were continuing by bus--I'm still not sure whether that was always the plan, or whether there'd been some sort of breakdown. There was a bit of a blip initially because the engine on the bus wouldn't start, and I stood around with a large group of people in the sun, perspiring anxiously and checking my watch. Eventually the driver managed to beat the engine into submission, though, and so we all piled on and set off.

View from bus leaving Punto Leccia

We stopped for a while in Ile-Rousse, which looked like a very beautiful sort of seaside town...

View from the bus at Ile-Rousse

...but we got to Calvi on time, despite the mechanical mishap. I can't remember now what time that was, but I do know that the Tourist Information centre had just closed for lunch, so possibly it was about 12 noon. Anyway, I went off to have a bit of a look around and find somewhere to eat.


I eventually chose a nice-looking restaurant in a square, with plenty of tables outside where it would be possible to smoke and take in the atmosphere.

Having learned from my earlier mistakes, I politely asked a waiter whether it was possible to eat at one of the outside tables, and he indicated that it would, gesturing towards the tables as though to suggest that he couldn't understand how I might ever have thought otherwise. Better safe than sorry, though, and so I picked a nice table in the corner and sat down.

There are few things I enjoy more than the prospect of choosing a delicious meal from an interesting menu whilst sitting in the sun with a glass of pastis and a cigarette, and so the next 15 minutes or so passed very happily. Eventually I chose moules marieniere followed by lamb with chestnut butter, with a small pitcher of red wine.

It was all very good.

Mes moules marieniere

Et mon agneau avec veggies

Et du fromage avec la confiture

The creamy cheese with the sweet fig jam was actually the nicest part: really very yummy indeed.

Next to my table was a palm of some sort with interesting fruits, and so I thought I'd better record that too.

Palm with interesting fruits

Eventually it was time to think about leaving, and so I paid the bill--26.30 Euros, plus tip--and gathered my things. There were some Americans at the next table, and I said a quick hello since it's always so nice to hear people speaking English(ish) when abroad. They were on a cruise, and so just making a quick visit to Calvi, and I told them that my aunt had done had done exactly the same thing only about a month earlier (although that was Ajaccio, not Calvi, and so I suppose it wasn't exactly the same. Hmmm...).

On the way out of the square I turned back for a photograph of the restaurant, and then I set off in search of a taxi.

I found a taxi easily enough, and the price to the airport was 15 Euros. That seemed reasonable, though it took me a while in the car to work out whether the bloke had said 15 or 50, because I'm really not very good with French numbers yet. I reckoned it was 15, though, and he didn't demur when I handed him 20, so I think I must have got it right.

There isn't a great deal to say about the rest of the journey. I got to the airport 2 hours before the flight and couldn't check in until 4.15pm, and so I bought a coffee, took it outside and sat on a bench, looking back over the mountains.

My rucksack, bored at Calvi airport

The flight to Nice was uneventful, and so was my wait there. The flight was delayed by an hour, which was a bit of a bummer, but it could have been much worse. I amused myself looking around the airport shops and trying to decide how many bottles of pastis to take home with me. Having settled on 2 I bought them and then sat around, counting seconds, until my flight was called. Eventually it was, we didn't crash and a kind relative gave me a lift home from the airport. Finally I reached my computer, fortified by two large goat's cheese and lettuce sandwiches with a glass of pastis, and that was finally that until the next time :)

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