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WHILST TRAVELLING OVERSEAS WE USE THE TRAVELOGUES SECTION OF THE SITE TO DOCUMENT OUR LOCATION, RELAY SOME EXPERIENCES, AND TO TAKE THE OCCASIONAL WITHERING STAB AT TRYING TO MAKE SOME SENSE OF THE WORLD.

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Eastern Balkans Trip - Day 9 - Corsica

Blogging at 22:30 on Wednesday 27th July from intended overnighting spot N 42.65930°, E 09.15252° / http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loc:42.65930%2C09.15252

Last night's camp was (apart from being rather too noisy for our taste) next to the single-track railway that runs from Ajaccio to Bastia. Indeed, we kipped right next to one of its 'stations'. For perspective, the 'station' was no more than a small and now-deserted building. There was literally no infrastructure: no platforms, no information panels... nothing. In spite of it, a couple of passenger trains came through and one did stop to pick up a sole passenger. The diesel-engined multiple-passenger units themselves were modern looking, small and utterly unremarkable, except for the power! Good grief, they were ground-shakers. It was more like being alongside a tractor-pulling contest or a Class 1 Offshore powerboat meeting than a tiny train on an even tinier train line.

The reason for this unassuming yet awesome power became obvious as we started to make our way from the overnighting spot towards Bastia on what is one of the much less wiggly roads on the Island. This is one extremely rugged and mountainous territory. We more or less followed the route of the train line for a good chunk of our morning drive and suffice to say that any train that can work in this terrain is one seriously powerful machine. In not very far at all we'd moved from about 200m above sea level to around 1200m.

Once off this 'main' road and into the genuinely wiggly stuff, things become even more intense. The terrain is relentless. We found nothing even approaching flat. Almost the entire day has been spent in low gears at even lower speed and constantly working at the steering wheel to negotiate hairpin after hairpin.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the landscapes and vistas through which the wiggly roads have been hard won have been truly remarkable. This is clearly territory that's not terribly easy to tame and the relatively low population density and thousands of square miles of totally untrammeled habitat bear testimony.

We've had many compliments, nods and smiles at the truck and people generally have seemed welcoming and pleasant. Tourism is clearly big business here and we've spotted cars, campers and motorcycles from all over Europe. Austrians and Swiss in particular seem to be around in good numbers. I suppose it feels quite a home-from-home for them, except with the novelty of sea and fewer rules.

After the day's relatively short but full-on drive we parked up and went for a run / bike. Whilst out-and-about we sussed out the track we're now parked on and have spent most of the afternoon and entire evening here in splendid isolation (pic).

The vistas are super and though there hasn't been much around wildlife-wise we have spotted Dartford warblers, a Sardinian warbler, a blue rock thrush and a family of seemingly just-fledged cirl buntings. Insect-wise it's been pretty quiet but we've seen what I think we're a few brilliant emerald dragonflies and now darkness is upon us some really melodious cicadas have started chirping. Indeed, that's all we can hear, beyond that the silence is absolute.


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