It didn’t take long to get from Corte to Bastia yesterday morning. The second largest city on the island, Bastia sits at the base of Corsica’s panhandle, known as Cap Corse. Our first stop, even before finding a hotel for the night, was located at Place St-Nicolas, the large square in the centre ville, lined with shady plane trees and terrace bars and cafés.
Maison Mattei in Bastia
A Peek into Maison Mattei
Our destination was Maison Mattei, fabricator of the well-known Corsican apéritif called Cap Corse Mattei, which is very distinguishable in its bottle shaped like the island of Corsica, with the neck of the bottle representing Cap Corse. It is made from a base of red wine (actually unfermented grape must), and draws its distinctive bitter sweet taste from the addition of quinquina (quinine). Like wine, it is aged in oak barrels where it improves with time, and each time we had it on this trip, it was served to us in a small glass with a couple of ice cubes.
Fortunately for us, George & Joy offered to load our liquid purchases into their car for their ferry trip back to the continent on Saturday, since we had to fly back to Nice with all the new restrictions against carrying liquids on the plane.
Erbalunga’s Place du Village
We covered a lot of territory on our last full day in Corsica, being chauffeured by George along the narrow, winding roads, high above the coast, taking in the vertiginous views of Cap Corse. We saw a little of everything, but not too much of any one thing: lunch in charming Erbalunga, a walk on the beach at St-Florent, a cursory tour of Bastia.
Because work beckons, and because the ferry schedule to Nice is not very frequent this time of year, Dave and I took a 40-minute flight home from Bastia very early this morning. Joy and George will take the weekly ferry home on Saturday, which gives them a couple extra days to explore Calvi, and then head back to our arrival port in Ajaccio to take the ferry back to Nice. I guess Calvi will be another place for us to visit on our return trip to Corsica.
Cap Corse - Erbalunga
Cap Corse - St-Florent