Showing posts from 2019

Corsica road trip 2019 vlogs


Channel hopping and island hopping again

After three nights in the alps we had two nights at Huttopia Etang du Fouche, a campsite on a lake not far from Dijon. Aside from the lake, which folks were swimming in, there wasn't an awful lot to do in the vicinity and two nights was certainly enough. It wasn't a lake I'd have wanted to swim in either, fully of smelly lily pads, so we walked and cycled.

After that we had to return home for two nights as Tony needed to be at work for exam results day, hence our gradual journey north from Corsica.

At 1pm on Thursday Tony was home from work and we set off to cross the channel again. We made such good progress that were were able to amend our Eurotunnel crossing, bringing it forward three hours and then getting a train even earlier than that. By 11pm we'd made it to the Vendee and our all-time favourite aire de camping car in Saint Michel Mont Mercure.

As we entered the village the church was illuminated and the gold statue on the spire was glowing in the light. We cli…

Camping at Bourg Saint Maurice and Les Arcs

Avoid the Frejus Tunnel. That was our main priority when choosing a route from Savona in Italy, where our Ferry from the island of Corsica had docked, up into the French alps. At £54 one way (you can buy a return but it has to be used within a week) it adds a considerable cost to the journey. Google Maps offered up three routes and there was less than 15 minutes difference between all of them.

Eventually Italian motorway became slowly winding roads up into the mountains. The higher we climbed the lower the temperature dropped - quite a shock to the system after Corsica's scorching heat.

Bourg Saint Maurice sits in a valley below the ski resort of Les Arcs. We were pleased to see temperatures getting back up to the mid twenties as we made our way down into the town. We arrived at Huttopia Bourg Saint Maurice at 6pm. It had been a long day of traveling with the five-and-a-half-hour ferry crossing but we didn't want the whole day to have been about traveling. We resisted the urg…

The night before the Bastia to Savona ferry

A locked door at the reception of Casa di Luna when we were ready to depart was affecting many people. A few, like us, were waiting to pay their bills, collect their passports and leave; others were hoping to pick up the baguettes and croissants they'd ordered for breakfast.

Two people arrived to man the reception almost simultaneously at 9.15am. The lady had been cleaning the shower blocks while the man was titivating parasols and deck chairs around the pool. Whether one thought the other was manning the reception wasn't clear but it was frustrating to have been delayed on our last day. I'm afraid I knocked two stars off the five-star rating I'd awarded on Google Maps for the experience.

Once I'd been reunited with my passport and paid the bill for our four-night stay we were able to journey north, almost completing the loop on our circumnavigation of Corsica's coast.

We discovered Domaine de Caterelli on our last day in Corsica last summer. We'd spent a …

Canyoning in the Vallee du Fango from Casa di Luna

Continuing our clockwise trip around Corsica's coastline we arrived at Casa di Luna campsite at 11am. We'd chosen it for its location half way between the sea and the promise of wild-swimming in the Vallée du Fango.

The whole site sits in the shade of huge olive trees. They'd never been shaped as would trees for olive production and had grown tall with their spindly branches forming a beautiful canopy of dappled light. It had the feeling of an enchanted wood. We were allowed to choose a pitch and we picked a really spacious plot with trees for our hammocks.

We were delighted by the campsite but not particularly hopeful the wild swimming location, chosen from our Wild Swimming France guide, would have any water. It was only a kilometre upstream from the dried up river bed beside our campsite. We spent two days at the beach in Galeria, just a 20-minute cycle away before investigating the suggested swimming spot on our third day.

I was overjoyed as we cycled closer and I beg…

Camping Mandriale Cargese

"Chaussée déformée", uneven road surface. I wondered why they didn't even out the road rather that erect a sign. The chaussée was deformed for a very long way though so the putting up of a sign was certainly the quicker and cheaper method of dealing with the problem.

It looked like we'd picked the wrong route along Corsica's west coast to our next destination. Google Maps offered up another choice through the middle of the island, adding 50 kilometres to the distance but only a few minutes to the time of the journey. As we approached Ajaccio the roads gradually improved, so much so that I was able to pour water from the boiling travel kettle in my lap into the cups in Cleopatra's cup holders in spite of the warning not to use it while the vehicle was in motion.

In Ajaccio, only ten seconds from our route, was the biggest Leclerc supermarket I've ever seen. It turned out to be the biggest supermarket of any chain I've ever been in. We could have spent…

Time to move on

We determined that five nights would be enough for us at Camping Cyrnos. Today is our last day and we'll move on tomorrow.

We spent this morning walking along the beach eastwards to the next town and its Spar supermarket. As we neared the town the beach became difficult to walk on, sloping so much that I declared it 'a bastard' and we clambered over the dune behind, across a small piece of scrub land and on to the road. We passed another campsite with kids playgrounds and basketball court, thanking our lucky stars that it wasn't ours.
The Spar was a similar size to that in Porto Pollo but didn't appear to sell fresh vegetables. We walked around twice in case we'd we missed it but there just didn't seem to be any. While queuing to pay for sliced cooked meat and cheese for lunch we saw the person in front paying for fresh vegetables. Strange. We just shrugged. We didn't need any anyway since we're moving on tomorrow and need to find a large supermark…

Camping Cyrnos on Corsica's west coast

Camping Cyrnos is a simple site on a rectangular field sitting amongst agricultural fields on the west coast of Corsica. It is right on the beach and shares the beach with no other residences. It sounded perfect when I found it on Google Maps and looked pretty perfect when we rolled up at 10.30am on Saturday morning.

I found the welcome from the man at reception lacking any warmth. We could stay but he didn't seem to mind one way or the other. However we were allowed to find a free pitch and return to book ourselves in, handing over a passport as seems the norm.

The site was about 80 percent full and, of the occupied pitches, it looked like most campers had been and would be here for a while. We chose a pitch at the top of the site, a large square pitch with a sycamore tree at each corner we thought would provide shade. The pitch would be 31€ per night, not the cheapest but not the most expensive on this trip to date. The premium seeming to be warranted by the location rather tha…

Bonafacio Camping Pian Del Fosse and Cala Stagnolu beach

Bonafacio is one of Corsica's largest towns and it's southern most point. It has a medieval cliff-top citadel below which sits a modern marina where huge luxury yachts are moored.

We didn't visit the town last year during our first Corsican summer holiday and so it was high on our priorities this time around. We had selected three possible campsites, thinking there may be more tourists around this area. Our route down from the mountains took us past the third choice, shortly followed by the second before arriving at the first option just before 10am. Initial impressions, of the untidy and uneven car park outside reception nearly made us think twice. We parked and decided to look around the site before committing.
Once past the reception building the campsite was nice. Spacious pitches on stone-walled terraces enjoyed shade from huge and old trees. A large number of pitches had no vehicular access because of the terrace and contained tented campers. Many of the vacant pitc…

Camping Municipal Zonza

We'd spent five nights on the beach and two by mountain rivers and wanted to see a bit of Corsica on foot and so we left Camping U Ponte Grossu at 8am on the second morning, continuing inland westwards to Zonza.

Our first priority was finding a cash point as the 31€ per night rate of the previous campsite had wiped out our currency. We stopped in Zonza itself at something describing itself as Banque Postale. No ATM was apparent outside so I entered and asked one of two staff if I could withdraw money. They replied with the name of the next town south.

It was only an eight-minute drive to the next town and it did indeed have an ATM. We headed back towards Zonza and then
five minutes eastwards towards a municipal campsite. It was ten minutes to ten in the morning and a sign informed us reception was open from 8am to 10am daily.

We booked in. It would be 16€ per night including electricity, half the price of our previous campsite. We were free to find ourselves a pitch.

The site wa…

Unexpected canyoning in Corsica

We've got wild swimming guides to three countries. They list outstanding places to swim that aren't widely known. They're always so out of the way we've never managed to get to one until today, and it was the whole reason for booking the campsite we're now on, Camping U Ponte Grossu, in the Corsican mountains.

After a 20-minute walk along the road we came to the bridge mentioned in the book and then followed the river bed upstream as instructed. This was no gentle stroll though, it was actual canyoning for which we weren't at all prepared. We had appropriate footware but with sections so deep we had to swim it was foolish to have rucksacks containing electronic devices.

We continued on and it probably took us three times the length of time we'd have done it if we'd have had waterproof holdalls like everyone else.

Finally we rounded a corner just feet away from the GPS coordinates given for an infinity pool. This would be the most difficult challenge. I…

Camping Amuruccio - location is everything

Corsica's main ferry port is on its north eastern tip and our first choice of campsite is incredibly convenient as a first base, being just 35km on the main road south.

Camping Amurucciu was a fabulous find for us last year and we couldn't wait to be back.

It's quite a sprawling campsite with two large areas under the shade of trees and an area about the size of the shady part right on the beach. Location is everything about this site and what's more surprising is that it doesn't share the stretch of sandy beach with any other properties. You won't be towel to towel with anyone else on the beach - there's masses of shoreline for everyone and you don't even have to walk far to be completely on your own, should you wish.

The facilities are somewhat dated and basic with mostly drop toilets and a single 'proper' loo with a seat. Hot showers require coins while cold ones do not. Outdoor showers are dotted around so you can wash sea salt off without …

Fine we will pay a fine

As night drew in on our Italian motorhome aire it didn't get particularly dark. The light from several lampposts was blinding through the pop-top roof windows which we wanted open to allow the breeze to blow across us. Fortunately I had found my eye mask earlier in the day and, with the Italian campers who'd been pretty loud all afternoon having also retired to bed, I slept soundly until our 4.30am alarm.

The road down from our mountain base for the night was winding but newly paved and smooth. It was beginning to get light when we approached Savona ferry terminal.

We put our bikes inside the van for our ferry crossing with Corsica Ferries after the shock of getting a 70€ fine for having them on the bike rack last year. We still didn't win though. A man, looking really pleased with himself and his measuring stick, called me out of the van, showed me the height recorded on our ticket and demonstrated that we were ten centimetres taller. I say 'demonstrated' but sin…

France does it again

As always seems to happen when we leave a campsite, particularly one that hasn't lived up to expectations, we immediately drive past wild campers. Yesterday was no exception to this rule and literally within a couple of minutes we were passing campervans parked on Lake Annecy's shoreline, so close they could open their leisure doors and dangle their feet in the water. We striked it up as yet another lesson learned.

We had a four-hour drive ahead of us and, before our sat nav cajoled us back on to never-ending motorways we stopped for food and fuel at a Leader Price supermarket.

A baguette and cheese was on my shopping list while Tony filled the tank with gasole. I located the cheese pretty quickly and was on my second trip around the shop looking for the bread when Tony found me.

'There's no bread,' I announced. 'Probably because there's a bakery next door.'

I packed Tony off with a five euro note to buy a baguette while I queued to pay for my wedge of…

Lake Annecy

The journey through the full length of France seems quite insignificant when done as we have. A five hour drive from Calais to Dijon yesterday, a four hour journey to Lake Annecy this morning and then three hours down to Savona in Italy tomorrow ready for our ferry to Corsica on Monday morning.

We stayed on an aire last night and will tomorrow but tonight we're on a campsite where we'll get at least one shower in three days!

We're on Camping Lanfonnet which charges a premium for being on the lake while offering no views of it. I booked it via Pitch Up where it's rated 8.6 out of 10. Reviewers on Google seem to like it less and it has 2.5 stars out of five. Criticism seems to be of an unfriendly welcome, which I experienced, and noise from the restaurant across the road which is open until 1am. I booked based on the Pitch Up rating, not having looked it up on Google. I think we may be far enough away from the restaurant that it might not bother us.

Lake Annecy is a bea…

Summer holiday is here

Six week's holiday starts now! We've just crossed the channel and we're making our way leisurely down to Corsica.

It's now been two years since I was made redundant from my job of 22 years and a little over a year since I started my own business dog walking. At the start of our summer holiday last year I only had two clients. This year I have eight regulars taking 21 hours of walks between them each week. Last month was my busiest ever and yesterday my busiest day - I walked six dogs a total of 15 miles in seven hours. My legs need a rest!

I'm enjoying being the passenger in Cleopatra while Tony drives us to tonight's stopover near Dijon. Tomorrow we've booked a campsite on Lake Annecy for the night and then we're heading into Italy for a night before catching and early ferry on Monday from Savona to Corsica.

You may remember that we visited Corsica last summer. It's a huge island and we loved so much about it and so, when we decided we needed some…

Suffolk Yurt Holidays video blog

The video blog of our stay in a luxurious yurt! Read the accompanying blog post.

Our stay at Suffolk Yurt Holidays was provided free of charge in return for this impartially written blog post. More glamping holidays are listed at who kindly matched us up and helped facilitate this stay and review.

Suffolk Yurt Holidays

I like to consider our weekends sleeping in Cleopatra as more glamping than camping but this weekend we had the opportunity to try really high-end glamping courtesy of Suffolk Yurt Holidays in Woodbridge.
We were given a warm welcome by Jane who showed us the communal areas before handing us the key to 'Apple' our yurt for the weekend. There are five yurts all named after trees, each with a spacious private grassy space. Stooping down to enter its tiny wooden door we were enveloped in a luxurious interior that was definitely boutique hotel rather than boot camp. This is surely camping for folks who don't think they'd enjoy camping!

The bed in our yurt was constructed out of an old wooden boat. Crisp white bed sheets were accented with a bold cushion and pastel blanket. A comfortable futon provided ample indoor seating, a wooden trunk was home to hot water bottles and extra pillows, and a chest of drawers provided storage for our clothes. A rail for hanging garments is…