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Corsica's version of Bryce Canyon meets the Mediterranean

The D81 road and the Calanches de Piana are the top-rated things to do in Corsica according to TripAdvisor

The D81 road and the Calanches de Piana are the top-rated things to do in Corsica according to TripAdvisor

The mountains behind Porto sure looked higher to me than 5000 ft.; maybe it was the steepness and sheer faces that created the perception

The mountains behind Porto sure looked higher to me than 5000 ft.; maybe it was the steepness and sheer faces that created the perception

View of Porto from the top of the Genoese tower; it cost $3 to climb the tower but the views were well worth it

View of Porto from the top of the Genoese tower; it cost $3 to climb the tower but the views were well worth it

The boat went through many of these tunnels and into caves making this excursion more interesting than that to the Scandola nature reserve

The boat went through many of these tunnels and into caves making this excursion more interesting than that to the Scandola nature reserve

This formation is called The Castle; some features, like this one, could best be seen from the sea while others were only visible on land

This formation is called The Castle; some features, like this one, could best be seen from the sea while others were only visible on land

The huge nest belonged to an osprey or eagle but is currently unoccupied; I was told there are foxes in the woods so the birds would nest on pinnacles away from them

The huge nest belonged to an osprey or eagle but is currently unoccupied; I was told there are foxes in the woods so the birds would nest on pinnacles away from them

The water inside the caves was a stunning blue and crystal clear; I still didn't see any fish or much in the way of underwater life

The water inside the caves was a stunning blue and crystal clear; I still didn't see any fish or much in the way of underwater life

The Genoese tower in Porto was built in 1549; Porto was an excellent base to explore the Calanques

The Genoese tower in Porto was built in 1549; Porto was an excellent base to explore the Calanques

The roads in Corsica are constantly winding so you're lucky to hit 30 mph; another reason not to go very fast is you never know what's around the next blind curve

The roads in Corsica are constantly winding so you're lucky to hit 30 mph; another reason not to go very fast is you never know what's around the next blind curve

The drive from Calvi offered plenty of great vistas but there were seldom places to pull over to take photos

The drive from Calvi offered plenty of great vistas but there were seldom places to pull over to take photos

The Genoese tower atop Capu Rossu was built in 1608; it sits at 1080 feet above the Gulf of Porto and the itty-bitty yachts below

The Genoese tower atop Capu Rossu was built in 1608; it sits at 1080 feet above the Gulf of Porto and the itty-bitty yachts below

The Corsican version of Niagara Falls; there are few substantial rivers on the island but there is seasonal snowmelt

The Corsican version of Niagara Falls; there are few substantial rivers on the island but there is seasonal snowmelt

Unlike mainland France, camping is not a popular option on Corsica; the roads are too narrow for RV's or campers

Unlike mainland France, camping is not a popular option on Corsica; the roads are too narrow for RV's or campers

This formation is called the indian but I'm not sure I see it; the rock looks more like a rabbit or maybe Snoopy

This formation is called the indian but I'm not sure I see it; the rock looks more like a rabbit or maybe Snoopy

The Plage d'arone is a remote beach at the end of Capo Rossa; tons of hiking trails throughout the peninsula

The Plage d'arone is a remote beach at the end of Capo Rossa; tons of hiking trails throughout the peninsula

The formation at the top is called the dromedary; the fantastically shaped rocks are even more impressive when the sun is out

The formation at the top is called the dromedary; the fantastically shaped rocks are even more impressive when the sun is out

You can barely see the Genoese tower atop Capu Rossu; at the end of the peninsula, the terrain had changed drastically to forests interspersed with grasslands

You can barely see the Genoese tower atop Capu Rossu; at the end of the peninsula, the terrain had changed drastically to forests interspersed with grasslands

The crazy formations defied logic; I'm sure my geologist friends could intelligently explain how this could happen

The crazy formations defied logic; I'm sure my geologist friends could intelligently explain how this could happen

The D81 is considered one of the most beautiful drives in Europe; this stretch is only 12 km with most of the named formations in an even smaller area

The D81 is considered one of the most beautiful drives in Europe; this stretch is only 12 km with most of the named formations in an even smaller area

These large cavities are called tafoni in the Corsican language; erosion begins when just one crystal of granite is corroded by the humidity and swings in temperature

These large cavities are called tafoni in the Corsican language; erosion begins when just one crystal of granite is corroded by the humidity and swings in temperature

The calanches are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site shared with the Scandola nature reserve and the Gulf of Porto

The calanches are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site shared with the Scandola nature reserve and the Gulf of Porto

The man-made beach in Porto looks appealing but was pebbly; backed by high mountains, the beach is easily the largest in the area

The man-made beach in Porto looks appealing but was pebbly; backed by high mountains, the beach is easily the largest in the area

Phantasmagoric images were the norm all along the shores of the Gulf of Porto; Corsican wine is supposed to be quite good

Phantasmagoric images were the norm all along the shores of the Gulf of Porto; Corsican wine is supposed to be quite good

One Corsican specialty is figatelli which is a combination of pork liver, ham and pig's blood; and my mom wonders why I don't eat the local food!

One Corsican specialty is figatelli which is a combination of pork liver, ham and pig's blood; and my mom wonders why I don't eat the local food!

The remote town of Porto is built along one main road starting up on the mountain and continuing down to the riverside

The remote town of Porto is built along one main road starting up on the mountain and continuing down to the riverside

The Porto Genoese tower is barely visible above the shoreline; it was only recently that many of these villages have been accessible by land

The Porto Genoese tower is barely visible above the shoreline; it was only recently that many of these villages have been accessible by land

Throughout the region there were basalt intrusions that created a marbling within the rock; 86% o the island is considered mountainous

Throughout the region there were basalt intrusions that created a marbling within the rock; 86% of the island is considered mountainous

The French, even on holiday, are glued to the televisions every time France plays in the World Cup; their fans are currently happy as the French team is doing well

The French, even on holiday, are glued to the televisions every time France plays in the World Cup; their fans are currently happy as the French team is doing well

I have yet to encounter any other Americans or Canadians in Corsica; the vast majority of visitors are from mainland France with a smattering of Germans and Italians

I have yet to encounter any other Americans or Canadians in Corsica; the vast majority of visitors are from mainland France with a smattering of Germans and Italians

Maybe with global warming Corsica will eventually get the colorful, tropical fish its waters need; the barren underwater landscape is counter-intuitive when the waters look so inviting

Maybe with global warming Corsica will eventually get the colorful, tropical fish its waters need; the barren underwater landscape is counter-intuitive when the waters look so inviting

The Castle formation could have served as a Genoese watch tower; this area is midway between Ajaccio and Calvi

The Castle formation could have served as a Genoese watch tower; this area is midway between Ajaccio and Calvi

The array of colors - gold, pink, red - is best seen at sunset; I was unfortunate to have an overcast day for my visit

The array of colors - gold, pink, red - is best seen at sunset; I was unfortunate to have an overcast day for my visit

I stayed at the Hotel Bella Vista but my room didn't have a vista, much less a bella one; I guess I was being cheap by reserving a windowless room

I stayed at the Hotel Bella Vista but my room didn't have a vista, much less a bella one; I guess I was being cheap by reserving a windowless room

The D81 road was typically barely wide enough for two cars and, in many places, only one lane wide forcing cars to often back up to allow cars to pass

The D81 road was typically barely wide enough for two cars and, in many places, only one lane wide forcing cars to often back up to allow cars to pass

Sparsely populated Corsica is very popular with multi-day hikers, but Porto is one of the few places easily seen by older visitors

Sparsely populated Corsica is very popular with multi-day hikers, but Porto is one of the few places easily seen by older visitors

The most famous calanches in France are just east of Marseilles, including my favorite Cassis; I don't see the similarity between those on Corsica and those on the mainland

The most famous calanches in France are just east of Marseilles, including my favorite Cassis; I don't see the similarity between those on Corsica and those on the mainland

This area is very popular with motorcyclists since the roads are narrow, winding and without much traffic; there were some brave bicyclists too

This area is very popular with motorcyclists since the roads are narrow, winding and without much traffic; there were some brave bicyclists too

The tour of the gulf had commentary only in French; I've discovered that, even in tourist areas, most workers only speak French (most tourists are French too)

The tour of the gulf had commentary only in French; I've discovered that, even in tourist areas, most workers only speak French (most tourists are French too)

Parking is a major problem in Porto; I was excited to find the very last spot on the water although when I went to my car after the tour I saw that it was marked for motorcycles only (the signs had been blocked by other cars when I arrived)

Parking is a major problem in Porto; I was excited to find the very last spot on the water although when I went to my car after the tour I saw that it was marked for motorcycles only (the signs had been blocked by other cars when I arrived)

The cost of the gulf excursion was $35 for 2  hours on a real boat, not a rubber Zodiac like I took in Scandola

The cost of the gulf excursion was $35 for 2+ hours on a real boat, not a rubber Zodiac like I took in Scandola

This area reminded me somewhat of Bryce Canyon; the scenery was made more impactful by the contrast in geology with the deep blue of the sea

This area reminded me somewhat of Bryce Canyon; the scenery was made more impactful by the contrast in geology with the deep blue of the sea

Seeing the calanches from the sea was considerably less stressful than tackling the drive on D81; the boat excursions were going on from Porto constantly

Seeing the calanches from the sea was considerably less stressful than tackling the drive on D81; the boat excursions were going on from Porto constantly

56% o the inhabitants of the island are natives of Corsica while another 29% ae natives of continental France

56% of the inhabitants of the island are natives of Corsica while another 29% are natives of continental France

Posted by VagabondCowboy 09:42

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