I visited the lovely island of Corsica for the first time about 20 years ago with a close friend who lives in Paris. We drove through France and stayed at my family home in Cassis before catching the ferry from Marseille early one morning. I have always loved the Mediterranean Sea as I grew up here so I really enjoyed the boat trip to Corsica.
We had booked an apartment near the main town of Ajaccio because we wanted to get the feel of life in the town but we wanted to explore the countryside as well. Of course we wanted to discover the amazing coastline with its superb beaches and we found isolated ones as well as very busy ones which offered a variety of cafés, bars and restaurants close by.
Ajaccio is a marvellously busy town which has a really lovely harbour. There are traditional restaurants and bustling bars as well as a truly delightful café scene. However, it is the island itself which just has to be explored, so my friend and I headed off into the hills in search of the Corsican delicacies such as goat’s cheese and of course their famous “jambons”.
Our drives through the hills were amazing and we were mystified to see very few cars, the ones that we did see appeared out of gateways but there was not a house in sight. A few days into our trip we discovered a sign which had the words we had been looking for roughly written onto a white painted wooden board. Fromage de Chevres & Jambon Sec! We immediately drove up to an old stone farmhouse to be greeted by a lady dressed all in black.
Our intention had been to buy some goats cheese and a whole jambon, however 5 hours later we were sitting in the stone floored farmhouse kitchen having dinner with our new found friend and her sons. We discovered that this lovely Corsican lady also produced some of the nicest full bodied red wine we had ever tasted. So not only did we leave with our cheeses, jambon but also with a few cases of it too.
Corsica is an enigma, the coastline is bustling with visitors who come to enjoy the wonderful sunshine and beaches. Others come to tour around the island on the rally type roads that go all around it. But over the years I have returned several times and still find that few people venture into the hills to discover the lovely village restaurants with their delightful ladies all dressed in black serving some of the best ‘peasant food’ I have ever tasted in my life.
Many travellers go much farther afield to enjoy the sunshine but with an island such as this so close to home I have always felt that the time spent travelling is greatly reduced so the pleasure of being relaxed and on holiday makes much more sense if it can be achieved in a faster time without the unnecessary need to travel miles by plane. Corsica is a splendid island in the Med which offers the visitor so much. Once you have travelled here you know that you will soon be back again.