As we approached the Pianotolli-Caldarello marina, we needed to dodge dozens of wind surfers and kite boarders that were zigging and zagging across the marina entrance.
|We were too busy keeping out of
the way of the wind surfers and
kite boarders to take a photo of the
whole crazy scene but this wind surfer
off the port side almost ran into us.
|Pianotolli-Caldera marina Captainarie office|
Just beyond the gauntlet we were met by a young woman who provided detailed directions as to how we would be docking. Subsequently, she was very helpful, particularly when translation from English to Corsican French and vice versa was needed.
The Pianottoli-Caldarello marina is a relatively small marina with few amenities. Water and electricity are provided. Showers are available, but require some kind of key that we were not given. A shuttle is available to take you to town for provisioning, laundry, or any other of your particular needs. The shuttle costs 2.5 euros and runs every hour.
Our plan was to leave Ice Floe at the marina while we spent the next day and a half seeing what we could of the interior of Corsica. We were informed at check-in that the only way to get to the airport was by taxi and we were provided with a list of 8 phone numbers for local taxis. It was around 15 km (~9 miles) from the marina to the airport terminal, even though you could almost see the end of the runway from the marina.
That evening I made several calls to the taxi services and left messages. The following morning, after calling all the numbers, some more than once, we reached 2 live. One gentleman indicated it would not be possible and one woman indicated that we should call the airport taxi – she said the local cabbies, as a courtesy, defer to them for rides to the airport. I called the airport taxi line and left several messages with increasing urgency. None of my messages were ever returned. On top of everything, my cell phone signal was not very good and some conversations were cut off and calls dropped.
I spoke to an individual in the Captainarie office and asked for assistance but she indicated she could not help me and was decidedly not friendly. This was the first instance in the many months we have spent in France that I was treated rudely and to say I was getting discouraged does not begin to cover it. We decided we would take the shuttle that was on its way to town as we expected we would have better reception and luck from there.
Well… we did not. If we were fortunate to connect with a live person, the moment they learned we needed to be picked up from Pianottoli-Caldarello, the answer was “It is not possible”. Following one conversation it became clear that the cab driver could / would pick us up from the Figari Spar Supermarché, but could / would not pick us up from the Pianottoli-Caldarello Spar Supermarché.
George consulted two map apps to see how far it was from the Pianottoli-Caldarello Spar Supermarché to the Figari Spar Supermarché and said there was one route that was 2.1 miles and another that was considerably longer. The difference was the short route showed a small road that the other didn’t. It was in the 90s, but we had full hot cups of tea so we set off on foot.
These occasions, when we have the chance to see more of a country than the coast, are often a great opportunity to broaden our knowledge of a region. This walk was no exception. Our first discovery was a Cork Oak tree. Of course, George immediately recognized it and knew quite a bit about cork (doesn’t everyone?). Well now I do, too. First of all, all cork comes from these trees. Corsica has many, many orchards of Cork Oak trees, as well as Cork Oaks in forests and in people’s yards. On this walk, and our subsequent drive through Corsica, we never saw a large Cork Oak that had not had its bark harvested. The cork bark protects the tree in fires.
|Cork tree – note the bark, which is cork, is stripped from the trunk
of the tree up to the first limbs
|These are the entire front cover of each cigarette pack. There are no other graphics – no advertisements – no logos.
There are lots more variations, but these are a good representation.
Back to our hike
|You have arrived at your destination|
|George forging ahead to scope out where we are|
|This cow did not make it to the airport|
|Not every barbed wire fence came with a
|Swampy ditch with hundreds of frogs|
|We got to see this really cool bug. I was less excited when I found one on my shoulder. It is as big as it looks.|
|Trees never give up and we didn’t either|
|Spar Supermarché – Figari|
Oooh, I will let Mitch tell you stories about how I love to bushwhack while hiking! It is truly a favorite pastime 🙂
That’s a real problem, form Figari airport to Pianottolli harbor…no simple and direct walk. Google map gives a very precise walking path, 14km, no swamp, 2h30 walk, many detours, no water. Avoid noon in July!
Nevertheless truth is: Taxi in Corsica is weird.
Surprise to me: Harbormaster and related (“capitainerie”) are friendly and efficient.