Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Ajaccio Corsica, Napoleon's Birthplace

Monday 20 May 2013. The Thomson Dream heads gently towards the berth at Ajaccio, Corsica.

We watched from the Promenade Deck until we were safely at a standstill and then went down to have breakfast and to get ready for the day. We were just going to get off the ship and look round Ajaccio independently.

David took a photo of the rest of us standing on the waterfront with the Thomson Dream behind us.

We started with a brief glance at the marina before heading up towards the building where Napoleon Bonaparte was born. On the way we wandered through a street market where we found this quite impressive display of olives. Not a big fan of olives - but they will play a further part in this entry.

David! No - seriously!!! Why would you do this to me?!? I was taking a photo of Napoleon's birthplace. As it is a tall building I turned the camera on its side to take a portrait format photo and of course the camera banged on the peak of my cap. So I turned it sideways out of the way for a couple of seconds and the dastardly clicky monster takes advantage... I'll get him back...

The home of Mr and Mrs Bonaparte was above a shop - currently a tanning / health type establishment. I'm not sure which window his first wails came from but the building now houses a museum to Corsica's most famous son.

We returned down to the waterfront and took a road train round the town which dropped us off for 15 minutes at the main monument to Bonaparte also seen above. Fran decided to zizz on the train at this point. Jeannie and I watched as David - the one with the bad knees - charged up the steps of the monument as though storming the massed ranks of Wellington and Blucher at Waterloo. The 15 minutes were fast approaching. We waved at him to come down. He waved back and disappeared around the back of the monument at the top...

We got back to find the driver pinioned within the safe grasp of Miss Franny. "I made him wait!" she said cheerfully. Mopping his tears and taking a reassuring bite of his onion, he bumped us back down the hill...

We went back up through the town to arrive at a pleasant and extensive square with a large statue to some general or other and a modern collection of ponds and fountains. At regular intervals we could hear thunder rumbling at us from over the sea. Yet the sky was clear and sunny. The morning was wearing out and we made our way down back through the town, stopping off to buy a few souvenirs - Miss Franny protects the paintwork of the fridge by completely covering it with fridge magnets.

I stopped to try out the hand-wound music boxes in front of the souvenir shop, turning round to see something of a crowd who had gathered to listen. It's all in the wrist action... Perhaps they don't get out much in Ajaccio - though I suspect many of the onlookers were off either our ship or one of the others that had docked that morning.

I suggested a glass of wine at one of the pavement cafes along the front.
"By heck!" cried David admiringly, "Who are you and what have you done with John Burke?" Tsk! Just because I'm not into spirits or cocktails! Anyway we got a bottle of wine between us and the waiter brought a platter which contained some slabs of toast and a dish of what looked like...
"Did a horse do that?" asked Miss Jeannie.

We decided it was crushed olives - see! I told you they would play a further part in the plot! They looked revolting but they tasted quite nice on the toast. There was still quite a bit left in the dish once the toast was gone and none of us could quite bring ourselves to lick it off the spoon...

We waved goodbye to the glamorous restauranteur who waved cheerily to us then turned to say something foreign to the waiter. I'm not sure... but it could have been "Well done with that horse poo, Claude!"

Highlights of The Mediterranean Cruise Index


  1. Oohhh! The "crushed olives" must have been tapenade? One of my favourite things to eat. Have to admit, it took me 45 years to learn to appreciate olives. Never could tolerate them, but my mom loved them, especially the black ones. Then a friend introduced me to Spanish olives, which are stuffed with anchovies, and I was hooked. We now always have them in the house and add them to lots of dishes. In fact, I've got a jar of tapenade sitting in the fridge for a special treat!
    Come on, young JB, live a little more ....

  2. Ha ha! "Young JB" you flatterer you... Live a little more? If I attempt that my clockwork will run down!!!


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