Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cruise: Day 5

Corsica. I've never even given Corsica a thought. I think I knew it was the birthplace of Napoleon, but I think that's been the extent of my knowledge. I'm not sure I even knew whether it was French or Italian. But now, I can say I have been to Corsica, and it is charming. It's French, for starters (although there is a Corsican language, and culturally it remains very Italian). And it is clean. There are no industries in Corsica, so no pollution. The air there smells fresh. I'm not sure, aside from tourism what they DO there, though. Because the climate/air is so good, they produce essential oils from herbs that grow in the macquis (the canopy of forest containing cork trees, oaks, eucalyptis, pines, and shrubs.) Corsica was pretty wiped out in the World Wars, losing so many men that the women left the island as well. I learned about one of the greatest of European leaders -- a man I'd never heard of -- Pasqualle di Paoli. He was a freedom fighter who drafted a constitution for the island that inspired the US Sons of Liberty. He gave the right to vote to women in the 1700s. 5 US towns are named after him. He inspires resistance today to the rule of France. Learn something new every day.
Corsica is the kind of place I'd want to live if I were a writer and wanted to get away from it all to devote myself to writing. Or if I were wanting to improve my French, without the fast pace of life on the mainland. Or if I wanted to live somewhere that I could be sunning on the Mediterranean one minute, and biking up steep switchbacks in the forest the next minute. But it is a poor country, and one where nationalist resistance is high ... so I probably wouldn't choose it as a retirement destination. But as a cruise stop? Lovely.

No comments: