Day Seven – Sunday 15th November – Ajaccio
Woken at 9.30 by an announcement. Watched Paddington and half of Frozen (up to and including Fixer Upper, which is my favourite song) before we met up and went ashore. Warm, sunny day in Corsica. Wandered around Ajaccio (pronunciation apparently ajaxio) which, being a Sunday in France, was, as I predicted, mostly shut. And that was before we knew it would be a day of national mourning. Corsica and Ajaccio in particular are obsessed with Napoleon, because this is where he was born. He’s EVERYWHERE.
We found two markets, one big, one little, near the port which sold little of interest to us – mostly food and a few really ugly shoulder bags (well, I say near the port – it’s all ‘near the port’. The whole town is basically three roads that run parallel to the water – two pedestrian, one with cars – with a square at one end that has a statue of Napoleon dressed in a toga (why in a toga? Because he fancied himself as a classical god)). The girl who gave the port talk on the ship had no idea that the guy in the toga even was Napoleon. It’s pathetic. Granted, it’s not the attire he is usually associated with, but if you’re giving a talk on a place to others, could you not have done even the most meagre modicum of research – like maybe even reading the port guide provided by your own company?! Grrrr.
Got conned in a café (the Café Latin, if you want to protect your wallet on a visit here) – we ordered small hot chocolates, got billed for large – which was a shame, because we were thinking of stopping there for lunch. Good thing though, because, thanks to their grasping dishonesty, we found somewhere much nicer further on. Le Mimo on the Rue Fesch is a little restaurant with the nicest owner ever. He was all on his own, so he was limiting his menu, so that he could still run around after customers and cook at the same time, but he did us the nicest steak and chips I can recall having in a very long time – two between the three of us worked quite well. And I think the chips were done with sweet potatoes. Lovely.
We pootled around the town and found not one, but two clothes shops that were open, so we shopped in both, as a thank you for bothering to open for us. And mum took the buggy up a very steep hill, as a sort of test drive. She shot up there, no problems. But we couldn’t climb it fast enough to keep up with her, so she had to wait for us at the top! And then back onto the ship at about 2. Absolutely shattered. My glutening has seriously affected my stamina and pain levels, so I am capable of even less than usual. Went for a nap and slept for THREE hours straight, this time. Barely up and in my right mind in time for supper!
Had a bit of a todo at dinner. We arrive at 6.30 and are supposed to be out by 8, so that we can get to our evening activities, and they can reset for second sitting. At five past seven, we had eaten nothing and the table next to us was being served their main course. There are two starter courses possible, with a soup course between the starter and main, so they were THREE courses ahead of us. Even Dad was getting angry. Lots of grovelling apologies and some half-baked excuses later, we got some food, and were finished by ten past eight, but we had to get really cross first.
Helped Dad plan their day in Florence tomorrow while mum went to a classical music thing. Although this was quite tricky, because the port guide did not contain a map – feel free to read that again – the port guide did not contain a map, and Reception could not have cared less. Usually Reception provides maps when they are missing, so we were quite surprised by their apathy. But we are a resourceful bunch. So we went to the library and the librarian photocopied the map from the Rough Guide to Florence for us. Pitiful that that is necessary, but there you go.
Made a complaint at reception about holding a noisy sailaway deck party when leaving a country in national mourning. Talk about crass. Apparently no one went, but the party would have gone ahead anyway, and I’m sure they heard us, nonetheless – they make those parties as loud as possible. Mortifying.
Lost the quiz on a three-way tie-breaker. We were two years out. One team was spot on. Good. No brass polish to drink, but nice to come that close. Had a late night snack and drink with Gary (cabbie), Cheryl (?) and Ross (NHS24 doctor). Family at the next table with a very little girl – maybe two or three years old – shouting very loudly. Shouldn’t really have still been up at half midnight, in my opinion. We were particularly entertained when she used the phrase “Bloody Nora”, and in the correct way/context, too. Shouldn’t laugh really, but it really was quite funny. And then an early night, ready for port day 2 of 5 tomorrow. Livorno/Pisa/Lucca/Florence.