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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Calvi, Corsica

Another island caught between France and Italy, Corsica is a physically spectacular amalgam of white sand beaches, sun-sipping mountain peaks, olive tree orchards, terraced vineyards, and easy-going poverty.  There are least two ski-slopes where you can see white sand beaches as you ski.  It must feel like you can ski right into the ocean.

The port of Calvi, as seen from any village in the valley.

The low-walled roads wind through the mountains, careless and sure-footed.  Atop the spine of the mountain chain that divides the island into halves, the pure Mediterranean sky invents clouds spontaneously, suddenly veiling the villages that cling to every rocky outcropping.  There really does seem to be a village on every promontory, each with a humble church, a picturesque cafe, a vineyard or an olive grove, and a few sloping staircases that knit the city to the hill beneath it.

The village of San'Antonino, perched atop its crag.

It is an island of striking geographical contrasts and broad, but gentle poverty.  It may be that only the tourists have money here, but it may be that the natives have purchased something close to peace with their poverty, which is perhaps an exchange that needs further consideration in our have-it-all culture.
The clouds sweeping in suddenly to occlude the view.

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