Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Car, boat, car, pool

Home again, home again!

Saturday evening we arrived back in Switzerland from our holiday in Corsica and, though I was happy to come back to cool temperatures, I kind of miss the swimming pool!

The trip to Corsica was an adventure in itself - all 30+ hours of it! At midnight, we drug our luggage downstairs and tossed it in the already-packed trunk of our friends' car. We had quite a group for this trip - three husbands, three wives (two of us are six months pregnant), and two kids under two years old. As you might guess, that combination for a nine day vacation adds up to quite a bit of luggage. The four of us headed out to meet the rest of the gang outside of town and then our drive began. Fun fact - you can get gasoline here at all hours despite the fact the gas stations are unattended - you just pay by card. (Can you tell I haven't driven in a while?) We had a drive of about six hours to Savona, Italy where we would then load the cars and ourselves onto a large ferry boat. I had hoped to sleep in the car, but unfortunately the curvy mountain roads conspired against me and I was unable to sleep for most of the trip. Little did I know, this was only the beginning! (Spoiler: Wikipedia describes Corsica as "the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean.")

After the first couple hours of driving, we ended up on a more major road and I felt well enough to get a little bit of sleep. We arrived at the ferry right on time and took our place to wait for our boat. We sat outside, surrounded by tourists and cars, and watched the sun come up over the water. Soon, the ferry arrived and we hopped back in the car for the surprisingly orderly putting-of-the-cars-on-the-boat. Once parked, we climbed a couple staircases to get to the floor where two of our friends had been kind enough to reserve a comfy little cabin. We all had a little picnic and then took turns napping in the four bunk beds in the cabin. The six hours of the boat ride passed surprisingly quickly and I was feeling much better by the time we arrived in Corsica.

From where we left the ferry in Bastia to our hotel in Corte (I think), we had another couple hours to drive. I have never in my life seen roads like this - you know those luxury car commercials were you see cars smoothly tearing along deserted curvy mountain roads? Yeah, it was like that, except with lots of other cars (many in various states of destruction and disrepair, no doubt because of the roads) and about three times the curves. Oh, and fewer guard rails - as in none. Just steep hills, sharp turns, and sheep everywhere you looked. Now, I've never really had problems with car sickness much in the past and, even more surprising, I have had no nausea at all with the pregnancy, but this drive found me making up for lost sick-time and in a big way. I have never, ever felt so sick in a car in my life. We took our time on the drive, but nothing really made much of a difference. Eventually we arrived at our hotel, a mere 18 hours after leaving our apartment. Mr K and I both immediately collapsed in bed to rest for a bit and try to get our bellies in order.

After about an hour of rest, we got most of the gang together to grab some dinner at a nearby restaurant. By this point my tummy was calmed and starving - it had been a LONG time since our ten AM picnic on the boat. The weather was gorgeous - warm and breezy. At the restaurant, we took a table on the terrace, overlooking a wooded area complete with melodically babbling brook. Dinner was excellent - I had a pork filet in a rich herb and wine sauce with veggies and crisp bread. Mr K started with a green salad that I, of course, helped with and then had a grilled kebab of two different fresh-caught fish with saffron rice. At the beginning of the meal, we ordered the apple tart recommended by our waitress, who informed us it took around an hour to prepare. The tart turned out to be about the size of a dinner plate and we were very happy to have decided to share it. It was amazing - one of the best desserts I have ever had. With happy tummies, we returned to the hotel and were asleep by ten.

The next morning we woke up and grabbed breakfast from the hotel's buffet - a carb celebration of the sort you only find here. Tens of different breads and cakes and tarts, butter, cheese, yogurt. I still miss the typical American breakfast of ham and bacon and eggs and what-not, but this was still good. I worried that we would not be stopping for lunch (I was right) and so I ate way more than I normally would have and soon we were back in the cars, heading to Ajaccio, where our rental house was located.

Once more, we managed to get sick within about fifteen minutes of entering the car. At one point on the drive, we pulled over to the side of the road so one of the other couples with us could feed their kids and give them a chance to stretch their legs. I spread my large wrap out on the ground and Mr K and I laid in the shade and got our breath back. Soon, we were all back in the car with just another hour or so to go.

After a quick trip down the most terrifying paved hill I have ever seen in my life (you know how it looks when you crest a hill on a roller coaster, right before you drop, and you can see straight ahead but there's nothing there? This hill was like that) we arrived at the house and everyone instantly felt better. The owner met us at the gate and walked us in and we found surprise number one - glorious, glorious air-conditioning. We walked out the back door and saw the gardens and pool and everyone started oohing and aahing. This is the first time I have ever seen a rental house that was actually prettier than the pictures posted online - it was just perfect. The owner pointed to the field next door and introduced us to the neighbors, a sleepy group of sheep snoring in the grass. Surprise number two was the three-day-old lamb who poked his headed out from behind his mother to stare at us - too much cuteness!

Back in the house, we figured out who got which room and unloaded the cars. The two drivers then piled back in to go off in search of groceries while the rest of us pulled on our swimming suits and hit the pool as quickly as possible - and this was where Mr K and I spent most of the rest of the week.

And this is where I'll leave this post. In the next couple days, I'll post a bit more about what we saw, what we did, what we ate (of course) and how we got home. First, though, I need to get Mr K to put a couple pictures up. See you soon!