Napoleon lived here and Christopher Columbus was born here. Mind you, there were a few centuries between these two events but I was impressed. Corsica is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean and now belongs to France. Calvi is a very picturesque town on the coast and provided a lovely day ashore.
The old town is to the right of where we landed and looks quite imposing with its fortress and walls high above the coast. The area is still residential although the fortress is not open to the public since the military offices are in there. There are churches, cafes and shops dotting the streets but the main souvenir places are down at sea level in the new town. You can do a self guided audio tour for 4 euros and it is certainly worth it. Two hours later I found myself finally leaving the old town and heading down to the beach area.
The waterfront cafes were beautiful and the shopping streets provided a grand variety of options. The beach stretched out for a very long way and looked very inviting. Next time there, I’m thinking that a towel and book will accompany me off the ship so I can take advantage of a last Mediterranean dip in the sea.
Iraklion (Crete), Greece:
Crete is the largest Greek island and has a steady stream of tourists arriving all season via cruise ships and chartered planes. I decided to get out of town and see some of the island with a tour to Lassithi Plateau and the Kera Monastery. The island is quite mountainous, like much of Greece, and agriculture consists of olives and grapes plus fruit trees for the most part. We had a most delightful lunch of Cretan specialties and wine in a small village. Windmills are still operating and are historic from the days of the Venetians. The village provided some photos of the locals which are always fun.
Typical coffee shop locals.
The Kera Monastery is perched in the hills and has a very small church covered in murals and icons. Photos are not allowed and policed thoroughly by a local lady. A few of the guests had to be reminded by her about not taking photos. There are other lovely pieces from the past that you could photograph in a separate building which satisfied most people with cameras. It’s always nice to see the geography of the places we visit as well as visit the smaller towns and villages to get a real flavor the place.
One one cruise we had a change in itinerary and got to call at Bodrum, Turkey, as one of the new ports. Amazing town, we should do this one more often!