Tag Archives: Corsica

Corsica – Island of Beauty

“It is always sad to leave a place to which one knows one will never return.  Such are the ‘melancholies du voyage‘ perhaps they are one of the most rewarding things about traveling.”   Gustave Flaubert

As mentioned in my previous post, Corsica was a spur of the moment trip that in retrospect offered a visual panoply of grand vistas and chance meetings with characters of genuine appeal who are fondly remembered decades later.  Previously I described what I then thought might be three or four days for a quick look-see but the ‘Island of Beauty’ enthralled and it thus stretched into a two-week long exploration. Finally, I forced myself to end the journey by exciting myself with the prospect of boarding the ferry at Bastia and cross over to Liverno a stone’s throw from Pisa and to finally gaze upon its three architectural wonders. 

Note: To enhance your viewing experience click on the photos below to enlarge – once for medium, twice to zoom in. 

Corsica, especially on the western coast and the mountainous interior is as constantly a rugged a landscape as one could wish for.  The population is spread thin other than in the few towns of  but a few thousand souls.  It suited me fine having at the time endured an almost palpable and not well disguised dislike for the claustrophobic existence lived in a large city such as Toronto.  I was and remain still by inclination a small town lad who never quite got over his longing for the well-being of belonging that one only gets from knowing your neighbours and growing up at the same pace as your school mates.  I’m certain most of you will agree the best friends are the ones made in the very early years, mine (Jean Henry) for example on the first day of kindergarden.  I remember a rather dainty friend laughed uproariously when dragging her through a dairy farm (to convince her of the charms of country life) I filled my lungs with the ambient air of freshly dumped cow dung and claimed with a lusty, “Ahhh, the aroma of Bouse de vache!”  No kidding, if I could buy ‘bullshit’ as a room freshener I’d be first in line.  Imagine, every morning the feeling you had awoken in a perfect bucolic environment.  

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Driving along the main road hugging the seascape a lone donkey grazing on scrub was I soon discovered not a rarity.  When I asked about it, a local explained that farmers got attached to their animals but when they became too old to perform the daily tasks rather than putting them  down or to take up space and food they’d simply let them fend for themselves and many of these donkeys actually lived to ripe old ages.  Of course, one had to be on the ‘qui vive‘ as they’d be quite nonchalant about car traffic, not that there was much of it.  

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This one was particularly friendly and curious.  It loved the potato chips I offered gingerly from the tip of my fingers as I can tell you for a fact they’ve got big grinding teeth.  I also discovered they particularly loved the chips for the salt content; thereafter I made sure to have a couple of bags in the car just in case.    The whiskered old boy wasn’t shy about sticking his head right inside the car.  I fed him half my chips and after a couple of gingerly given pats on the head I drove off.  I shouldn’t have peeked in the rear view mirror because there it was on gimpy legs trotting after the car for all it was worth.  Yes, of course, I stopped and parted with the rest of the package I cleverly dropped on the grassy side of the road.  While hit was busy munching head down to the task I made my getaway.   Incidentally, I told you (check out ‘Dol de Bretagne and countryside’) for some unknown reason I have a very definite liking for these dumb-ass creatures.  Could they remind me of me?

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Corsica is a land of spectacular scenery, moreover a haven for a variety of wild life I’d not seen anywhere else.  Here for example was a rare ibex that I just happened upon as it showed up around a corner of the tortuous cliffside road.   Apparently a proud male judging from the backward curve of the horns.  

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That was then the euphemistically designated main highway (N. 197 then on to N. 196) along the western coast of the entire island.  I wonder if it has since been improved? I recall coming on to a back-up that was a cause for wonder since the usual car traffic was sparse, at best.  A rare tour bus from the mainland had come to an s-curve and too long it was unable to manage getting around without a certain plunge down a hundred metres to the rocks below.  Unable to go forward, the passengers were unloaded and with much ado, hand signals, frantic gestures, hola’s and whoa’s the bus was ever so gingerly backed up to where it could do a u-turn.  The entire episode took well over an hour; a couple dozen onlookers had gotten out of their own cars and we were now all having a good chat.

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 One wondered if we might witness a spectacular plunge.  For that foolish remark his wife kicked him in the chin, hard,  and served him right.   It only occurred to me later I’d left the camera in the car and, well, one never knows, right?   Of course it was soon known I was a foreigner and one who was obviously loving the experience of the island.  One helpful fellow took out a detailed map and pointed to a side road I needed to take; he guaranteed spectacular scenery unlike anywhere else.  Never one to dismiss local knowledge, an hour later I did just that and he was certainly right on, uncommon scenery and something I’d not counted on, a sense of total isolation, so far out of touch with people a small inner voice started to speculate if sometimes I shouldn’t stick to the more common road.  Of course, the negative vibes were done and gone in a minute or two but I’ll admit the whooshing-whining sound of the wind in the rocks made for a peculiarly eery song.  OY!

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That particular area was as stark visually as anything I can ever recall seeing elsewhere.  Barren porphyritic rocks on either side of the rough gravel road  gouged out by rain and wind, eroded over millennia appear peopled with aliens.

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Did I perceive what others do not? I suppose you had to be there and to feel the unique  and somewhat stark aura.  Here, a mythic monster gorges on a pile of rocks and I dare anyone to tell me otherwise.  

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And a weird Pinocchio gave me the creeps.

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Okay, I’m being a little dramatic  but I have admitted to having been somewhat rattled by the remoteness that accentuated how far I was off the beaten track When I came upon this magnificent Laricio pine (Pinus nigra laricio) the road became so narrow and  looking into a steep shadowy ravine, I thought I’d done well, proved my mettle by not running off much sooner and decided to leave well enough alone.  The only thing remaining was to find a spot where, reminiscent of the bus a few hours earlier, I  could turn around.  I managed after doing the classic back and forth routine a half dozen times always with a wary eye on the deep crevice behind.    This pine tree will grow upwards of 50  metres (160 feet) with a straight trunk, a hard and durable wood that is highly prized for construction and carpentry.  

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And yes, I’ll admit each minute of the return drive to ‘civilization’ was eagerly welcomed.  When I came across this singular pine tree I relaxed, it seemed to me as if it was decorated as a particular gift to me.  Okay, I told you that I’d been suddenly feeling very forlorn and now with the setting sun brightening up the harsh scenery all was well again and as suddenly quite thrilled with my adventure.

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From a personal perspective I’ll admit often to being pleased (almost selfishly elated) I have seen and experienced places that had often been abandoned to their fate and thus remote from today’s rampant tourism.  I said I was selfish but when I ‘discovered’ the totally forgotten Pont du Gard in the south of France, and since I had no bathing suit I was able to swim ‘au naturel‘ under the swooping arches (each one a triumph of Roman architecture) with only the sound of birds above and trout below.  So taken in by the circumstance I could hear the voices of Roman legionnaires diving in from the arches for a dip to cool down in the summer heat.  I remember sublime Mt. St. Michel when not a single tour bus was in a near empty parking area; when Carcassonne was only a medieval town with battered crumbling walls; before Prague became a mecca for Japanese tourists; and Rocamadour as nothing more than a sleepy, out of the way little town remembered only by historians as a  stop on the pilgrimage way to Santiago de Compostela.  Yes, I’ll admit the influx of tourists has ushered in the economic reason to save-guard and even repair the damages wrought by decades, often times centuries of neglect, so hurrah for that and good for me for being there when I could let my imagination run rampant.  

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On another day and another long and remarkable drive through the interior I drove to Corte, the largest town in just about the geographical middle of the island.  Repeating myself but it can’t be helped, Corsica is for the most part an unspoiled wilderness and it is not rare to come across herds of feral hogs, an unattractive (but good meat) admix of escaped domestic swine and wild boars.  

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P1130953Indeed, I assure you the pork meats were of a quality that never failed to satisfy my palate.  Prosciutto thinly sliced was succulent as were the various salamis and dry sausages.  I always travel with a razor sharp Opinel knife and never fail to have locally purchased product in the car for impromptu snacking while enjoying a fine view.  Corsican red wines are dry and perfectly suited to help the digestion with the added appeal of being bargain priced. 

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Much to my surprise as I was on an island south of the Riviera, in what is generally considered a warm Mediterranean sea, around a corner and not all that distant loomed a snow-capped mountain.  Mt. Cinto (2700 m)  is in fact snow-covered year round; a fact proudly pointed out by a garrulous fellow who operated a picturesque watermill and claimed to have been born under the mountain’s shadow.

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The water mill I referred to above and still in great working shape; it smelled so good inside!

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Corte is the largest town in the interior of the island.  The setting is  striking  in the shadows of surrounding mountains.   I love old stone construction for the ageing process and colours that evolve as the years go by.  The only other town that I personally might compare is St. Paul de Vence, ensconced in the sunny hills of Provence beyond Nice. 

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The ancient fort attests to its historic past as the centre of true Corsican patriotism.   As the island was subjected to a succession of attackers the seacoast dwellers sought security further inside the island.  Corte became the capital of a short lived independent country declared by these fiercely independent islanders.   

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Discovering a super great place to sleep as I had in Algajola, it meant a return each evening (all except one night when I was too far and far too exhausted to return) and so time did become a factor as the sun was setting.   It really wasn’t a problem per se except there were times when I wanted to spend more time in a particularly enticing area.  Of course I always consoled myself by promising another trip in the future.  Yet the hunger for new travel sensations keep me looking for fresh vistas elsewhere, but one of these days, I’ll keep to my  promise.     

The highest viewpoint at the far north end of the island (Cap Corse) on my return to Algajola after a pulse raising drive through a long day.  The wind blew so hard I had a problem standing up but rather had to bend into the wind to get there.  Sitting on that bench to admire the vista was in fact problematical as my eyes teared up; I lasted but a minute before retreating to look from behind a large nearby rock.  

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Another day saw me going once more to Calvi to embark on a day’s boat excursion to a remote beach and a restaurant that I had been promised was a guaranteed feast of fresh seafood.  Nothing is as enticing to me as fresh fish and off I went.  The day long excursion more than exceeded my hopes.   The photo here was taken a few days later finally on my way to Bonifacio hence to finish my happy trip in Bastia.  Just imagine at the very far bottom the small beach we landed in and where four adventurous women from France had decided to open a restaurant for just a very few months each year.  What an awesome idea! 

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This indolent cat was only enticed to let me scratch his chin when I offered a bribe of fish (the head).  It grabbed the tidbit and took off without so much as a ‘miaowed‘ thanks.   It really should have been grateful as after all I like sucking the juice out of a good fish head.  Yes, I do.  

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Enjoying my delicious barbecued ‘dorade‘ (sea bream) I noticed this most beautiful sight.  A young girl, maybe ten years old,  was having the time of her life exercising her horse with a swim.  On the beach they cantered away with her showing off great style.

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Considering there was no way to get there except via a very narrow and dangerous climb from way above, I wondered how they got there and where they bunked?  One thing I can aver about Corsica there was always something a little out of the ordinary to be discovered on a daily basis.  

P1110944Notice above the remnants of a fort harking back to the days when Genoa a powerful and independent city-state controlled Corsica by building over one hundred  forts around the entire island.   Below, a closer look and the cacti cover where I was startled by a rather large, green and yellowish snake slithering off a sun-drenched rock.  Few creatures make my skin crawl more than snakes that on the whole mind their own business.   Later I learned it was not venomous although the bite was painful – good not to have found out personally.  

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What turned out to be my delicious lunch is held in the man’s hand.  An avid fisherman myself I ran down to the dock to see what he had and sure enough he was delighted with an unusually big catch of ‘dorade‘.  And, no kidding, he took that one in his hand, the biggest one to the restaurant along with the rest of his catch, with me helping to carry the box (and stay very close) and we made sure that one was mine, all mine!  I’ve never met a fisherman yet I didn’t find ‘très sympa‘. 

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Finally the day came when I decided at long last to take a look  at  Bonifacio at the far southern tip of the island.  That meant giving up my splendid accommodations in Algajola but there’s an end to all good things, right?  I drove slowly to enjoy every bit of the scenery and slept one more night in a fine resort hotel.  As I mentioned tourists were scarce and I got my choice (balcony and great seaside view) for less than half the high season rate.   As is my standard modus operandi I chatted with the hotel staff, at the front desk and in the restaurant and one of them told me since I was the curious type to check out a mysterious site, one few people heard about and with not much information regarding its past.  Well, that was rather enticing and so early next morning with a sketched map to guide me I ventured out.  In 20 minutes or so I found what I was looking for.   The photo was taken in a misty low light and mist still hovering above what I took to be an area with some large rocks.  The result isn’t very good but one gets the idea.  

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I’ll admit again that I experienced more back of the neck chills in Corsica than anywhere else.  I had left the car some ten minutes down the road and walking along a narrow, hedged lane was a little lugubrious.  An owl hooted, so help me, and at about the same time a huge hare jumped out in front of my feet.   MAMA!  A double whammy!  But I wasn’t to be scared off, right? I kept on until I noticed a small clearing and what at first I took to be large rocks.  No, what I found were ancient man-made stone carvings.   When I returned to the hotel for my breakfast I was told no one had an explanation other than it was thought by a local amateur archeologist to be at least 5000 years old and no one knew where the people had come from.  I wonder if there’s since been more information discovered? I’ll need to do some research on that subject.   I did see something akin in Bretagne but what would druids be doing in Corsica? But on the other hand why not?  The menhirs were if nothing else totally at home in this isolated meadow.

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Years later, working on this post, thanks to the wonders of search sites I discovered the following: Filitosa is a megalithic site the period ranging from the end of the Neolithic era and the beginning of the Bronze Age until around the Roman occupation of Corsica.    Would I have been more satisfied then to know what I know now? I doubt it very much.  I enjoyed the mystery much more and one good reason that at times we should leave the shroud of secrecy keep things interesting.  Don’t you think? 

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Finally made it to Bonifacio but for the first time the weather didn’t cooperate – it was a foggy and rainy day hardly suited for taking good photos.  I spent but a very few hours walking around but in particular going to the port with the idea I might take a ferry over to Sardinia across a narrow passage.  For once I passed on a spur of the moment idea and finally headed for Bastia where I’d catch a ferry across to  Liverno, Italy.   Bonifacio is spectacular from any angle.  Here I took a tour boat so I could see as much as I could, as fast as I could since I had decided to move on to Bastia as I couldn’t make myself leave without a hard self-administerd kick in the butt.  The usual fortress at the highest point of a town anywhere in Corsica.

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Seen from a different angle around the cliffside along with impossibly built homes that might be more suited to cliff-dwelling birds.  

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I had to repulse the idea of boarding a ferry to Sardinia clearly seen from the boat’s deck.  Once again, it became another self-made promise that has yet to be honoured but it may yet happen when I do make my return to Corsica.    Reluctantly I headed out and yet again was totally thrilled with more splendid vistas succeeding one after the other that I kept leaping out the car and taking yet another photo.  I won’t bother with telling you where other than it was heading north towards the eastern coastline.  

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Finally, I made it to Bastia, straight on to the Italy bound ferry and went on to enjoy more of the splendid country I never get tired to visit.

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I leave you and Corsica with this popular photo of the ‘kissing rocks’ (Golfe de Porto) as a friendly ‘aurevoir‘ and hopefully you’ll get the urge to go see for yourself.  You’ll love every moment of your stay, the outstanding photo ops you won’t get anywhere else in such profusion and interacting with the fiercely proud yet friendly local population.  You have my personal  guarantee.

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Clouds – ‘God’s Breath’

If you know anything about me you’ll know I was born in the scenic Champagne area of France, more particularly in a small town appropriately named Ay-Champagne.   Elsewhere I’ve detailed the  wonderful youthful memories  I cling to and hold close to my heart so that when I had recently decided to post a new photographic essay based on my favourite ‘cloud’ photos, an ancient memory resurfaced and I’ll confess it ran shivers down my spine.  I had decided on a title: Clouds – ‘Heavenly Drifters’ and was quite satisfied as I lifted it from a poem I’d  penned long, long ago.  And yet, late at night, unable to sleep, I was musing about which photos I might use when of a sudden my father’s clear and distinct voice whispered , “God’s breath.”  I sat up straight.  Yes, of course, how could I have forgotten?

In a small, agricultural community it’s a common occurrence to see children visit their fathers working in the fields, or in our case in the hilly vineyards that provided the backdrop (and prosperity) to our town.   Often after school, if I wasn’t kicking a football (soccer for you American readers) around, I might take it in my head to go see what my father was up to and if perhaps he’d found something of interest for me. Indeed, numerous times during a break from back-breakingt toil he’d taken the trouble to forage for fruit in season, cherries, pears, wild plums, even the elusive quince after the first frost.  Very occasionally there might be a couple of delicious Chardonnay grapes but only if they were what we called ‘fumée’ that is the skin took on a smoky hue and you’d be lucky to find three such grapes in an entire vineyard.  Failing that he’d always kept a little bit of his lunch carefully wrapped in his knapsack.  I’d rummage through wondering what I might discover then  I’d eagerly wolf down that tidbit as if it came from a royal table.  Once he’d brought home  four orphan leverets,  another time it was a duckling with broken wing and numerous birds in particular a splendid, much  loved magpie.  (Elsewhere in this blog you might read ‘Mack the Magpie’.)

(NOTE: To improve your viewing experience click on the photos below to enlarge – once for medium, twice to zoom in.)

What today I consider a wonderful ‘tournure de phrase’ came about in the following manner.  As long as I could remember every night for a few minutes I’d lay down next to my father who always went to bed soon after the evening meal and after having listened to the latest news on the radio.  He regularly got up at five a.m. a not unusual  hour for anyone who works in the vineyards or for that matter elsewhere in the outdoors.  I’d get cozy under his arm, quietly lay there and wait for him to tell me a story.  He was a consummate story teller, using different voices and either recounting events from his own youth (in Galicia, then a part of Poland), some true to life others wildly imaginary or inventing a new, fanciful tale just for me.   Sometimes when he was out of ideas and that was unusual he’d say, “Today I’m a bit tired.  So you tell me about your day, how was school? Did you have fun with your friends?”  And I’d eagerly try to emulate him, trying to entertain him for a change.

One day when I’d dashed, skipped and hopped my way up to the vineyard where I knew my father would be found, a strange cloud formation drifted into view rising above the green forest that protected from harsh northerly winds the precious ‘vignoble d’Ay’.   They were smallish, round, white clouds drifting into view in what seemed a perfectly aligned row.  Ten or twelve and then nothing but blue sky.  “Oh, look Papa, look at these funny clouds, they look like smoke puffs from the train locomotive.”   Dad adjusted the beret on his head, looked up, squinted for a moment seemingly weighing his answer, then he set me straight, “No son, that’s God’s breath.”  Well, that was new to me and just a tad dubious I enquired, “How do you know that?”

He took the time to hug me first and then explained.  “You see, it’s quite obvious God was out for a jog and now He’s puffing and that’s the result.  These clouds are a result of His breath.”  Dad offered a mischievous smile, “Hmmm… He must be a bit out of shape to huff and puff like that.”

Needless to say I took it for God’s truth, after all this information came from my personal God and I was perhaps not more than five years old, a time when the word of an adult, a parent no less, was unquestioned.

As the days and years passed by even when I’d grown old enough and learned at school about the different types of cloud formations and what one might expect in the way of weather for the next few hours, I’d still ask my father how God might be feeling that particular day.  On a day when we were just about caught by a violent rainstorm we were hurrying down the hillsides trying to beat the impeding drenching home.  “What’s God up to?”  I called out as we were jogging down.

“Oh boy, somebody’s going to catch hell.  He’s really miffed at somebody or at something.  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near Him right now.”  As a punctuation, just then a fiery bolt of lighting streaked across the sky and a thunder clap that seemed so close I gave out with a puppy yelp.  Dad squeezed my hand hard but now I suppose it was to put my mind off the ominous rumblings of more to come that he actually stopped and cupping my chin in his hand earnestly asked.  “Say, have you been a good boy lately? He’s not mad at you, is He?”

Oh, no, did that have to do with me filching a few apricots on my way up?  Acting like an innocent lamb I answered as forthrightly as I knew how, “Ah, non, Papa, I’ve been good and you know I serve the six o’clock mass every morning without fail and always on time.”

“Whew! That’s a relief as that last bit of fireworks had me a little worried.  Too close for my liking.  Let’s get home to your mother or she’ll be sick with worry, you know her.”

Allow me an aside here, for your information Dad didn’t approve of my early morning dedication to serving as an altar boy but here’s  the proof positive that no one is more Catholic than a Polish mother – my own mother thought it wonderful that her darling might actually sprout angel’s wings.  In all other aspects she was more fiercely protective than a mother hen but when it came to serving God, nothing was off limits including me getting up at the crack of dawn since I was apparently of all the boys I knew the only one willing to do so.  And that too proves there’s no such thing as an ‘unwilling’ victim.

Mind you in my day at St. Brice parish altar boys were paid for serving at mass.  There was a going rate for a low mass, high mass was more remunerative so were weddings  and the most sought out gig was a christening, on top of a generous tip by proud parents, and not to be outdone in generosity the God-mother and God-father added to the bonanza. and that wasn’t all,  there were scads of delicious sugar-coated almonds stuffed in cornets of pink if it was a girl or blue for a boy.  Once I hit the absolute jackpot of all times by serving seven consecutive christenings on the same day.  I was seven years old then and lorded it over my school pals by dolling out ‘dragées‘ for the next couple of weeks.  A maharajah couldn’t have been more regal or blasé about his munificence.  Rampant popularity waned and petered out as the supply ran dry.  An early lesson in the old ‘what have you done for me lately?’

Incidentally, funerals were the most miserable of all to serve, muted sobs, the occasional bone-chilling wail, then with a heavy cross held aloft leading a dreary long procession to the cemetery a good kilometre away.  The gloomy affair paid not much more than for a morning mass and the bereaved were almost always too overwrought to remember to tip the altar boy, the sacristan and bell ringer. Oy!

Of course I eventually learned that Nimbus were at times an awesome treat promising displays of pyrotechnics in lighting bolts and cacophonous thunder claps sure to scare the ‘beejees’ out of my mother (much to my delight).  There were the lofty, thin as a gossamer veil Cirrus clouds that Dad would delightedly ascribe to, “God is having a pleasant nap.   See He’s breathing nice and calm as can be.”

My father was as close to nature as a man could ever be; it was a quasi-religious devotion for he loved every moment spent outdoors, observing and doing his bit to ‘assist Mother Nature in her life giving work’.  No one to my knowledge could eke out more veggies and fruit trees from a backyard garden.  When he had a couple of acre garden on his sister’s farm the variety of tomatoes alone prompted my uncle to invite other farmers to see what he’d grown. He’s now up there among the clouds and speculating how God might be feeling on a particular day.

And so, since ever I can remember and ‘remembrance’ is now wearing the mantle of a  longish, epic journey, I was fascinated by clouds.  “Boy, get your head out of the clouds,” was an admonishment I heard often enough much to my annoyance.  However, it’s true even as a young lad I disliked boring. clear blue days, but enjoyed the passing clouds and always looking up imagine what a particular cloud might be the mirror image of that which it overflew.  Oh, this one has the odd shape of England and that one a perfect copy of the Italian boot – by Jove! It’s aiming a swift kick at England, the cheeky beggars.

Of course some cloud types were much better for such speculation, for example Strato Cumulus were more artistically inclined than the lofty, airy Cirrus;  I was so infatuated with clouds I even penned a couple of poems.  Since poetry is the ultimate in subjective writing I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to their quality and thus they may perhaps best remain in the realm of ‘anonymous’.   Not so long ago I wrote a pseudo fairy tale entitled ‘Little Lost Cloud’.  You can find it elsewhere on this blog.

Over the years I have collected photos of my favourite cloud formations as I traveled here, there and elsewhere.  Allow me to share my affection for our heavenly companions.  The photographs I offer span several decades and in the skies above different countries.  When I remember the exact location I’ll indicate otherwise it will be an approximation.  In a poem I describe clouds as ‘heavenly drifters, rootless and country-less’ and it shouldn’t really matter where they were captured for a brief moment.  Oh, by the way, isn’t that where our personal Guardian Angel rests after a hard day’s work?

On my way to Paris, clouds that I imagined were hugging close for warmth, somewhere above the  North Atlantic Ocean.

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I like this photo for the clouds and the weathered  stone tile roof, near Bû, an oddly named  small town in France.

What would otherwise be a mundane photo of a chateau’s manicured lawn takes on a dramatic overtone provided by dark,  threatening cloud.

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In the same neighborhood – the background makes one forget  the ‘frontman’.

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Three photos taken in Italy.  Now you know why the colour ‘sienna’ is named after the terra cotta tiles in evidence as far as the eye can see in the city of, you guessed it, Sienna.  The venerable Ponte Veccio in Florence as well the unmistakeable Leaning Tower of Pisa.   A leisurely tour of  Tuscany should figure prominently on your list of must-do and see if you’ve not yet done so.  It’s a joyful adventure in scenery, culture, food and wine.  Bravo, bravissimo!

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In the Piedmont on my way back to France via the Valle d’Aosta.   I pulled over and got out of the car when I saw this memorable cloud formation – the wind blew to my ears the sound of bells from the distant flock, a memorable moment. 

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Idyllic Holland, where else?

Somewhere in Belgium, on my way to Ghent, if I’m not mistaken.  It occurs to me I should take notes when it’s not an obvious well-known site.  Next time. 

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Paris – naturellement.  The cloud backdrop is perfectly suited to the statue.

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In Corsica.  Can’t see the clouds? Must be above as it’s still drizzling on the bucolic lane leading the flock home.  No technicalities, please, I just really like the photo a lot.

From my window – Lost Lagoon in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

English Bay, Vancouver.

North Vancouver across Burrard Inlet seen from Stanley Park’s seawall.

Somewhere in  beautiful France.

In Bavaria on my way to lovely Fussen and  fabled Neusweinstein Castle
 

The splendid castle built by the ‘inspired’ Ludwig II, a much more appropriate tag than the snotty ‘mad’ all too often attached to his name.  The French poet Paul Verlaine called him the “only true king of this century” . The shy dreamer bequeathed this airy fairy tale edifice for generations of visitors flocking from all corners of the world and via Walt Disney’s whimsical rendition to millions others.

Sublime, spectacular, splendid Mont Saint Michel, in Normandy

Wild flowers, mostly poppies of different colours were growing in profusion in a Bretagne field.

Above Dinard and the ‘Promenade au Clair de Lune’ –  below the Flemish style roof of Beaune Hospice (first hospital in Europe) and Chateau Chambord final residence for exiled Leonardo da Vinci

Two of my all-time favourite pics captured on the park grounds of Chambord.

A palette worthy of Renoir colours the Kootenay Rockies in British Columbia – photos taken five kilometres from Montana border.

And there she is, My Little Lost Cloud.  Alive and doing well somewhere above  your head.

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Copyright@Vancouver, October 27, 2012 John-Michael Papirchuk