Aled Jones sings praise for Simpson Travel in Corsica
We left London on a damp and chilly
Sunday at the end of July and just over two hours later stepped into blazing
Corsican sunshine. Our helpful Simpson Travel rep met us at the airport and
handed over our holiday folder with a promise to see us the next day. We
eventually picked up our hire car after our rep had helped me locate it in the
Avis car park! and set off on the short trip to Villa Nielluccio. Very little
of the villa is visible from the front entrance but once inside, it was
apparent that our wish for privacy and peaceful surroundings had been more than
Villa Nielluccio has a charming rustic
appearance made up of mellow stonework surrounded by trees, foliage and wooden
decking which at one point opens onto a lovely view of distant mountains. The
pool is below the decking and remains beautifully warm due to the long hours of
sun which shine on it for most of the day. The interior of the villa was
perfect for our requirements - three bedrooms, two double and one twin all with
modern ensuite facilities and efficient air conditioning. The two double
bedrooms have doors opening onto the pool and deck area, whilst the twin
bedroom opens onto the front garden. The kitchen is well equipped with
dishwasher and washing machine. The open plan dining and lounge area is
extremely comfortable, with two French windows giving direct access to the
decking and outside eating area.
Although we had chosen the villa for
peace and solitude, the surrounding locale was very accessible and perfect for
shopping and sight-seeing.
We stopped off en route to our villa at
a local spar and bought some delicious local cheeses, baguettes and wine for
lunch - it didn't take us long to realise that most of the produce grown on
Corsica is organic with masses of flavour. A couple of miles away, we found a
roadside stall with fruit and vegetables to rival those served in any Michelin
starred restaurant. The large spar in Pianotolli sells orange pressé which you can squeeze yourself and the nearby
boulangerie/patisserie serves up croissants and pain au chocolate to die for!
They even understood my rather dodgy French. We discovered the joy of simple
organic vegetables and well basted suckling pig on the night we arrived - just
a ten minute drive away. The Ferme Auberge Pozzo di Mastri is in a magical
rural setting and dining under the stars in their large garden is as close to
perfection as it gets - with blue wine adding to that magic. Yes, it really is
blue! And the local Corsican singers were brilliant!
Prior to our holiday we had read about
Corsica, and once there, quickly discovered why it is deemed to be the most
beautiful of the Mediterranean islands. It dazzles with beautiful beaches,
encircling mountains, cliff top villages, ancient buildings, stunning sunsets
and delicious food and wine - all of which we discovered during our all too
short Corsican holiday. Our favourite town was Corsica's oldest, Bonifacio,
with its cliff top medieval citadel, sun soaked buildings and tempting street
side cafes and restaurants. We chose Les Quatre Vents with a cool interior
designed like a ship, looking out onto the exclusive and sophisticated yachts
moored in the marina for lunch. Our meal in this relaxed hum of a charming
global vacation resort was superb, with perfectly grilled salmon and octopus
and al dente pasta for the children.
Corsica's beaches are renowned as some
of the best in the Mediterranean with their pure white sand lapped by brilliant
turquoise water. We found August to be a really busy time at the two most
famous beaches, Palombaggia and Saint Giulia, and were advised that May is
apparently the best time to visit, when the beaches are almost empty but the
weather warm enough for swimming. When we return to this beautiful mountain
island, we will head again to Rondinara Beach, a horse shoe shaped bay lapped
by aquamarine waters that was by far and away our favourite.
Perhaps the most memorable day of all
was our exciting trip in the mountains. We clung on to the side of the car for
dear life as thousands of feet of sheer granite and rock dropped perilously
away from the narrow roller coaster bends in the road. The views are breath-taking.
We were enchanted by the little mountain villages of Trinite and Zonza and then
swam in the mountain rock pools on the way back down. All in all, a day that
truly was a little piece of heaven on earth.
All too soon it was sadly time to leave
our holiday haven. Simpson Travel had done everything possible to make our
visit enjoyable and we are most grateful to them. As we said goodbye to Corsica,
we took with us memories of a vivid and individualistic island full of peach
coloured skies, turquoise waters, tiny ornamental villages perched on ragged
cliff tops - all warmed by a kind Mediterranean sun.