Travel slowly


I wanted to go to Ajaccio, Corsica, by ferry from Nice, but there is only a ferry going to  Ile-Rousse, that’s no problem, I will go to  Ile-Rousse, then go to Bonifacio  and forget about  Ajaccio. I have been interested for several years in minority language and I’m curious about the linguistic situation in Corsica. Statistics tell us that the Corsican language is declining, despite vigorous language policies implemented in Corsica. I am happily surprised when I realise that the majority of the crew on the  ferry  is Corsican speaking and knows very little French.With a little bit of good will though, everybody understands one another.

Seeing the coast from the ferry provides a good overview of the Corsican landscape, largely covered by mountains. On arrival, after a brief stop at the Paoli square, where a huge fair has attracted many people, I head to the tourist information to prepare for the trip the next day. All sites on Corsica inform travellers that public transport  is difficult and that  it is better to rent a car. I still intend to try the collective adventure, partly because I have not driven on the right for many years, I like travelling slowly and experience the local way of doing things. The lady who takes care of me has obviously missed her vocation: she dreams probably every night to get a prison guard post of the nineteenth century type or any other field requiring the exercise of aggressive authority. Anyway, I must leave the talking, “otherwise we will not get there.” She said at first that I should anyway rent a car, but I persist, therefore “it will be long.” I must go to Cazzamozza, take another bus to Porto Vecchio, then another that goes to Bonifacio. “It will take all day.” She gives me the phone number where I can get the schedule of buses in Porto Vecchio and I end our little talk by asking her to show  me the bus stop on the map, “next to the municipal parking” and a supermarket where I can shop on Sunday. She shows me the sign of the Spar on the map. “Thank you, ma’am,” and I ran away before she finds me more flaws.

I find the municipal parking quickly but as I round it again and again, I find no bus stop. I asked here and there about the elusive bus stop. Many do not know where it is, then one thinks he knows, he thinks it is on the corner there, then at the bakery, the lady confirmed to me that there is a bus stop but no indication for it. You just stand on the corner and wait.

I then sought the Spar but can not find it. Again I stopped a passerby, who wonder why I’m not with my husband, which I think is a question quite sensible in the circumstances. I follow his instructions, but I see no Spar. A lady gives me further instructions which lead me to the same place, and I decided to enter the Proxi, which is The Spar : that was  easy !

I get up very early the next day not to miss the bus, which leaves at seven. I am  at  the bus stop  at six-thirty. Soon the queue gets  bigger  and at about ten past seven, the bus arrives. The driver, however, informs us that the students who have priority and I find myself at the end of the queue. He would not hesitate to leave me on  the street if there was no room on the bus. Regardless, I’m on the bus, I hope to arrive in Porto Vecchio, sooner or later. At eight twenty hours we  arrive in  Casamozza. The driver suggests I have a  coffee,as there is a  fourty minute wait. He shows me the stop where I have to go.
The man at the café knows nothing of the bus which is about twenty meters from his café, but I forgive him because he speaks Corsican with his buddies. At eight forty I head off in case the  bus is early. A poster indicates that the bus to Porto Vecchio is at nine, so all is well. Nine, nine ten, nine twenty? No, the bus arrives at nine forty  (I was starting to think about other ways to get to Bonifacio). But all is well now, because when I get to Porto Vecchio, at noon, I will  have three hours wait  (according to the schedule I was given on the phone), then thirty minutes by bus  to Bonifacio. I am very happy to hear young people who speak Corsican between them, because it is they the future of the language.
Once in Porto Vecchio, I want to confirm the schedule of the bus to Bonifacio with the driver, who said that the bus to Bonifacio is not at 3pm but 1pm. Great ! I will  arrive earlier than expected. I’ll take a quick coffee, but again, I come back to the bus stop at twenty to one, thinkingme that I’ll probably have to  wait another half hour, but the bus is already there and finally, at ten to one, the driver decides it’s time to leave. All is going  well  but maybe I should have a rented a car.


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