Corsica: Ajaccio to Corte

Train from Ajaccio to Corte, Corsica

The plan today is to get to Corte. There are two trains a day, which effectively means that I have to choose between sightseeing in Ajaccio or Corte — with daylight hours fading fairly early there would be no time to do both. Since I’m back in Ajaccio on Friday evening I decide to take the early train.

A 6.30 alarm call on a Saturday comes as a shock to the system.

The train leaves on schedule and, in its two-hour journey time, takes me through some spectacular scenery. A local who introduced himself as I got on the train, clearly used to the views and the journey, seemed bemused by my constant picture taking. “Did you see an animal?” “No, just the view, the mountains.” “Oh.”

Arriving at Corte station, Corsica

Corte is very hilly as I find when I try to carry my bags to the hotel. The hills give it a dramatic setting. As the day passes I see the clouds descend, obscuring the top of the hills, and rain threatens to fall.

Before this I wander around town. The yellow buildings against the bright blue sky looks like Tuscany or the south of France, the flaking paint, which at home you’d consider bad maintenance, here looks quaint. The main street, Cours Paoli, has the usual selection of shops, including a baker, tobacconist and sellers of tourist merchandise. One unusual piece was the tee shirt with Che Guevara and the word Corsica emblazoned beneath. I wasn’t aware that he’d made it here?

Corte town centre, Corsica

Mingled amongst the souvenirs and pastries were many caf?s, one after the other. They all look pretty much the same! That is to say, pretty good. I stop at one in Place Paoli for a panini and cappuccino.

(A quick aside: Paoli is the father of Corsican independence, having established Corte as its capital city.)

Corte town centre, Corsica

I visit the Citadel, home to the Museum of Corsica. The museum is large and modern, complete with audio tour, replicas of any object they don’t have to hand and videos. The content is less impressive than the execution. Sure, it’s supposed to be more about anthropology than history but still, telling us how people used to live less than a hundred years ago hardly needs much of an imagination.

View of Corte from the Citadel, Corsica

The views from the citadel are worth the entrance fee however. It’s possible to see over the whole town and much of the valley.

View of Corte from the Citadel, Corsica

The stunning views will be paid in sweat rather than Euros for most of the rest of the week as the walking starts tomorrow.