Day 11 - Bastia (Corsica) to Porto San Paolo (Sardinia)

Corsica, the "Isle of Beauty" - 314 miles


Not a single four-lane road today! I am riding across Corsica on nothing but small country roads cutting through mountains with 70% slopes overlooking the sea (I don't mean to imply the roads themselves are that steep, they're quite normal).



With all the hoopla motorcycle magazines make in the US about riding-through-the-Alps-is-so-awesome-omg they should seriously consider Corsica, because this is motorcycling paradise. There's roads for everyone: 1) nice twisties on good pavement 2) difficult twisties on pretty rough pavement 3) off road tracks which I'm sure are great but this bike ain't gonna make it on them. And! It's a 7-hour ferry ride (including the boarding chaos, line-cutting and annoyed glares, which come entirely free of charge) to Genoa, Nice or Toulon -- all at the foot of the Alps. Or you can fly directly into "Napoléon Bonaparte Airport" -- no kidding!



Now of course, Corsicans drive like bats out of hell. They don't respect speed limits, no-pass signs or even lane markers (when cornering, I advise you not to shoot for a perfect trajectory that hugs the center line -- better stay in the middle of the lane). But they're generally "considerate" enough not to roll over you or tailgate you (with free, annoyed glares).



The first roads I ride are awful -- boring scenery on damaged roads. I'm starting to think it was a bad idea to come here.



Progressively, as I reach Calvi, the scenery improves dramatically. And before I get to Porto, the Calanques are mesmerizing.



The whole area is breathtaking -- you have a hard time looking at the road at all.



You also meet isolated cows on the side of the road, it's quite peculiar given that the slope is about 80% -- I didn't know cows were that agile. With that said, even the calves deliver that unmistakably Mediterranean annoyed glare (although it comes completely free of charge, I might add). [I do realize the animals in the photo below are not cows, I just saw more cows than goats, but the picture of the goats was cuter]



I take the ferry to Sardinia in the evening. There, we have the authentically worst drivers in Europe (at least from my limited, biased perspective). It's hard to blame them when you see the way the roads are designed. They're basically encased lanes with a barrier on each side, barely wide enough to squeeze two trucks -- and a 30 mph (50 Km/hr) speed limit everywhere to make it even more exciting. So the locals keep a respectable 2-foot safety distance and zigzag endlessly trying to see if they can overtake the car before them and squeeze right into the 2-foot space that exists between the two cars in front. And when you overtake them on a motorcycle/scooter they will kindly swerve left (yes, that's "left" -- most people in Europe have the courtesy to swerve right when they see a two-wheeler) to indicate maybe that they object, or that they're jealous, I don't know, but I'm surprised I didn't see any motorcycle bootmarks on the side of their vehicle because it's quite aggravating. I'm sure that if I had looked at the driver I would have seen another annoyed glare (free of charge, undoubtedly).



Around Olbia signage is simply atrociously confusing. I finally managed to get to the campsite just past 9 pm. It wasn't my first choice of campsite, but the others I looked for had gone out of business, just like the entire areas around them. The so-called "emerald coast" isn't exactly thriving.