Sunday was another early start because we wanted to arrive in Bonifacio with enough time for a boat tour of the chalky-white cliffs before the afternoon storms hit: We were up at 6am, in the car a little before 7am and pulling into Bonifacio just after 9am following another winding mountain drive. Gui had done some online research Saturday night and decided we should book a tour with SPMB, so we headed to the company’s kiosk to pick our route. After settling on option two, which included both the cliffs and the nearby Lavezzi Islands, we walked down to the docks to prepare (i.e. scarf down some croissants, buy bottles of water, use the restroom and stop at the pharmacy to get me sea sickness medicine). At 10:30am we were perched on the top deck of a boat headed out into the Mediterranean with a clear blue sky and sunshine overhead.
The 30-minute ride out to the islands was delightful, but we got pretty confused when we docked and the captain announced that everyone needed to get off the boat. Apparently that boat was only taking us *to* the islands and a separate boat would appear in an hour and a half (and periodically afterward if we wanted to stay longer) to take us on the second part of the tour. Once we got off and saw that the island was totally wild – gorgeous and pristine, but lacking water, food, bathrooms, etc., as well as shade – we were pretty darn thankful that we had stopped for provisions before the ride out.
We spent an hour taking in the turquoise blue waters and rugged landscape before I heard thunder and spotted the mass of dark gray clouds congregating in the direction of Bonifacio – Not the most welcome sight for those of us with delicate sea stomachs. We retraced our steps to the dock and got seats on the first boat back, which was a very different experience from the ride out to the islands. The water was rough, man. So rough that the tour guide said it was too dangerous to take us into the final grotto on the tour. Luckily, the medicine worked its magic and I was fine, parked in the last row with a view of blue sky on one side and menacing clouds on the other (see circles below). Even with the crazy weather, the cliffs were spectacular. I definitely recommend taking them in from the water if you ever have the pleasure of visiting Bonifacio.
We pulled back into the port just as light rain started to fall on our heads and sat down for a yummy lunch at Kissing Pigs on the harbor. I had a delicious goat cheese salad – Corsica is known for its sheep and goat cheese – and Gui had some tasty lamb kabobs. Then we climbed up a series of stone stairways to check out the old town on top of the cliffs that had towered over us earlier.
We wandered around for an hour before deciding it was time to get back on the challenging, but scenic road linking the southernmost tip of the island to Ajaccio. A few hours later, we said goodbye to Corsica with a fabulous pizza dinner near the capital city’s port and a sunset walk along the coastline. At 7am the next morning, we were back at Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport to fly home to Geneva, where I headed straight to my French class and Gui went directly into the office. Did you catch the photo of the grotto that looks like Napoleon’s hat? What an incredible island.