|Island of Beauty!|
I have had a lifelong interest in Napoleon and always wanted to go to Corsica. Last week Commander Kelly fulfilled his lifelong dream and finally visited Corsica! I learned that Corsica is far more than just the birthplace of Napoleon. Corsica is an island of mystery, an island of beauty. It is a perfumed isle, scented by the Maquis. It is a towering mountain rising out of the sea. Its fiercely independent and creative island people have longed for independence while living under the boot or shadow of nearby and more powerful political entities (somewhat akin to Ireland). The term "Vendetta" was invented in Corsica and they have long memories here.
|Commander K. at Cuccuruzzu|
|Note Trapdoor in floor of Maison Napoleon, Ajaccio|
|Pasquale Paoli 1725 - 1807|
After having been conquered and assaulted so many times, Corsica perhaps avenged her honor when its most famous native son, Napoleon Bonaparte, managed to conquer most of Europe at the start of the 19th century (see earlier post Napoleon..Relevant to Americans in 2012, 5/28/12).
Corsicans have a well-deserved reputation for toughness. The paratroopers of the French foreign legion make their home in Calvi. The Union Corse (mentioned by Ian Fleming in Casino Royale) was/is a Corsican mafia (drugs, prostitution, etc.) that dealt harshly with French collaborators in southern France after the Second World War.
On April 22, 2011 in Porticcio Marie Jeanne Bozzi, the former deputy mayor and a madame in local prostitution, was shot eight times in the back. Here is the full article...http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/19/opinion/the-corsican-connection.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
The Corsicans' favorite French verb is "plastiquer" -- to blow something up with plastic explosives! I saw buildings on the Corsican coast that had been blown to smithereens.
|Romaneque Church, near Calvi|
Do not allow any possible feelings of Franco-phobia to deter you from making a visit to Corsica. There are no "French Surrender-monkeys" hiding in the Corsican mountains! The brutal truth is that most Corsicans cheerfully despise the French!
Commander Kelly says that a great way to see and explore Corsica is to go on a hiking tour with Butterfield and Robinson (http://www.butterfield.com/)
Special Thanks to Marya Dumont and Dale Sherrow (of B&R) who were my outstanding guides to Corsica last week!
Corsican group, Arapa, sings of Cuccuruzzu