Thursday, November 22, 2007

Saturday October 13th - St. Remy

I didn't go anywhere on Saturday. It felt like a good time to have a break, take a day off, get some stuff washed and use the campsite's internet facilities.

Being about a day's ride away from Marseille, it seemed like a good time to book some ferry tickets. At the start of the trip I was hoping that maybe there would be time to see both Corsica and Sardinia, but with only one week left before I needed to be back in Normandy, it wasn't going to happen, and Sardinia would have to wait until another time. So I booked a Monday night journey to Ile-Rousse, with a Saturday night return from Ajaccio. That would give me five days to cycle 120 miles down the coast - fairly easy going, but not too much so, given the mountainous nature of Corsica.

I spent a few hours in town in the morning. In 1503, Nostradamus was born in a small house in the back streets of St. Remy - it still stands today, but like Descartes' house, it wasn't much to look at! Van Gogh spent a couple of years at a mental hospital nearby, where he painted 150 of his works and, looking at the surrounding landscapes full of vivid colours and cypress trees, it is easy to imagine this.

I found a lovely creperie (La Celtie - 29, rue du 8 Mai 1945) and had a spinach crepe followed by a citron, with a hot chocolate. There were a few Italian restaurant/cafes serving what looked suspiciously like great big tubs of Italian icecreams. I confirmed my suspicions by ordering the standard lemon flavour, and am pleased to report that it was of a suitable Italian standard.

In the afternoon I returned to the campsite and attended to all those little tasks like washing my clothes, myself, pots and pans, pumping up the tyres and untangling my hair (Never tour with long hair).

Whereas it was good to find somewhere with both good Italian icecream and lovely crepes, over the last couple of days things had got more touristy, and the traffic heavier. Saint Remy, beyond its old town centre, had a lot of traffic. Affluence was visible all around in the form of big expensive-looking cars and well-dressed people with lots of blingy jewellery. In one of Josie Dew's early adventures, she sailed from Marseille to Tunis (or was it the other way around?) and was shocked by the contrast between the affluence in Marseille and the poverty of Tunis. In a way, I was sorry not to be making that journey. But I was looking forward to Corsica.

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