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Ruined City, Impossible Villages and no ices

Aleria, France

Still suffering from a bit of time change malady and a warm night, we were slow getting underway this morning. However, after a trip across the road to Super U, we had the basics for a snack lunch and hit the road. First we went up the hill outside Aleria to the old Roman settlement, arriving at about 11, noting that the site of the city closed at 11.30 and the museum closed at 12.00, thought that we should see the city first. However, the museum curators from whom we got a ticket suggested that we saw the museum first; I don't suppose that this had anything to do with them being able to get off to lunch first! The museum had all sorts of artefacts from digs, going back through Roman, Etruscan, Phoenician and Greek periods to the Iron and Bronze ages, with some impressive pieces. The Roman ruins were interesting, but as we were late and as they had just locked up, allowed us 10 minutes which at least gave us a bit of a flavour; although supposedly representing the major city on the island, they were not of the scale of Viriconium, although they were possibly slightly more intact.

We made our way to the beach just north of Aleria and had our picnic lunch, closely observed by two local mutts, who finally got bored with the two bloody tourists who didn't get the message and made a pointed exit.

We then made for the hills for one last time, going through the quite pretty villages above Aleria; visiting Cervione, Cascades de Lacelluline and St Nicolao, finishing up at Moriani plage. It was a wonderful drive, with some suitably exciting bits of scenery and incredibly narrow roads (I have concluded that the white line down the middle is simply to show where the middle is, so that if you don't stray from this, you won't fall off the edge)! The main road through Cervione is remarkable for the fact that it is built onto the rock face on supports. It was also remarkable at the time for the demonstration of the Corsican approach to parking (leave the car where you want, even if there is no space for it); the cars were left for at least the whole for the whole of our visit (¾ hr).
The road from there to St Nicolao runs past the cascades de Lacelluline, which are really spectacular, falling down past the road which runs over a bridge and between two tunnels constructed in around the beginning of the 20th C for the pack mule tracks.
We ended up at Moriani Plage, from where a Corsican Nationalist was deported in 1926. We had hoped to have an ice cream here as the temperatures all day had been in the high teens and were by now 20ºC. Unfortunately, as we were informed, the weather was still too cool for ice creams and we would have to wait for a week or two for it to warm up, so we had a cup of tea instead.

We got back to the hotel and a had a quiet beer on the terrace outside watching the sun slide into the horizon and remarked that we had hardly hoped that we would be able to have done such a thing a week ago. We reflected on what we might have done and what we haven't done and concluded that we have filled our time quite well – my one regret is that I have not recorded what appears to be a favourite Corsican passtime; shooting at roadsigns (I suppose it is a bit like taking them down at the end of a night's drinking and keeping them in your room). I don't know whether it is anti-establishment for Corsican seperatists, demonstrating their skills or simply taking the opportunity to loose off a couple of rounds but a well peppered sign is commonplace off the main roads. Our favourite was one of a warning sign of a cow with hole through the middle of the cow; either the shooter couldn't tell the difference between the real thing and a non-moving object or it was an excellent shot on a dark night from close range. Unfortunately, most of the signs with such battle wounds were spotted quite late on and without somewhere to stop – not that this would have worried the average Corsican!

permalink written by  rickandsuejohnson on April 1, 2008 from Aleria, France
from the travel blog: The island of birth for 'Le petit caporal' and the roots of Bernard Nobili
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