Top to bottom: The guys sitting on the ledge the day before, Mike at the cafe on the plaza in Sartene, Mike’s favorite dog, Me checking out some good ears, The scene, Beagles like to sleep on each other, The perfect valley
Today, Sunday (actually now it is yesterday) we decided to make it a no scooting day. We have been riding from morning until night everyday since we got to Corsica. We’ve seen a ton and done some nice hikes, but it is exhausting after a week straight. Luckily, it is also the only day that it has rained hard since we got here. Perfect. In the morning we decided to go to mass, since we are staying in the church. It was my 4th time attending a church service and honestly I would describe it as “Same-same.”
After church, we went to the center square for coffee. We sat and wrote and hung out for a couple hours until lunch. We have been asking for recommendations from everyone about where to eat and so we went to a place that a couple people had mentioned. We sat down and the woman working was initially semi-kind to us. When we asked what something was and it was clear that we were not french, she was initially cold. We ordered the leg of lamb, brocciu cannelloni and a caraf of wine. We had been talking about how usually when we eat out, it is a little disappointing. We usually order a pasta that we could have made at home for a third of the price or a salad that is sub-par, but the food was delicious. All of it.
We were very content and by the time the dessert came, we were the only people in the restaurant. With much persistence and attempts at conversation, the woman finally came over to talk with us at length. The day before we had been driving back from the other side of the island and saw a bunch of men sitting on a ledge looking at something. We had stopped and asked what was going on and found out that they were hunting for wild boars. Apparently there were dogs in the valley chasing boars and they were waiting for them to return. We had gotten back on the scooter and around the next corner, there were probably 100 more guys and families doing the same thing. We had so many questions about this, but our usual market wasn’t open and so we had to ask elsewhere–thus the woman at the restaurant.
The woman at the restaurant ended up warming up to us. She eventually gave us her recipe for cream of limoncello, which she says she never gives out and answered all of our questions about the hunters. How many boars are out there? If there are 100 hunters and one boar, how do they not shoot each other? Who gets to keep the boar? and so on. It turns out that they aren’t actually hunting, they are just sending the dogs out to see which dogs are the best. It is actually more like a dog show. And, it only happens once a year. We had to go!
So, we got on the scooter even though we said we wouldn’t and rode the 45 minutes to a middle of nowhere town called Serragia through our favorite valley, which, when we rode through it for the first time, Mike remarked that it seemed out of a fantasy. Even with the gray day, the route was just as beautiful as it always is.
When we pulled in to the dog show, the scene was this…a lot of men dressed in camouflage gear hanging around talking to each other. To the left were 8 or so temporary dog pens. Each pen had a different team of dogs in it, each team was purebred, but the breeds of the teams were not the same. There were two teams of tall beagles, one of dachshunds, two hound looking breeds and two of the shaggy toy looking breeds. I really didn’t care about the ones that weren’t beagles or hounds. On the right side of the road there was a huge tent set up. Inside the tent, a guy was preparing mutton for 80, there were a few makeshift bars set up with help yourself liquor and there was also a guy outside selling handmade hunting knives. It was quite the scene and we stuck out immediately.
A woman walked by and asked if we were German. Everyone on Corsica thinks we’re German. Apparently a lot of Germans come here and (this is the good part) every time we tell them that we are actually Americans, they get really interested and are really nice to us. I don’t think many Americans come here and I think they are also happy about our new president. The woman showed immediate enthusiasm and out in the middle of Corsica in a town of about 40 people, we shared a moment of excitement about Obama.
One guy that was tending to the fire, a large burn pile that would later cook the food, came over and talked to us. He showed us around and made us feel comfortable in the tent, even though we were obviously outsiders and he explained things to us. The prize is not money or getting to keep the boar. Again, there is no actual boar caught during this weekend, but the price of your dogs if you win the competition goes up. He said one dog goes for at least E500. I know this is a lot of money, but seeing as though people spend $2,000 on yippy dogs in the States, I thought this was a good deal, I mean these dogs can find you a months worth of boar for your whole family.
After about 20 minutes and a stop at the candy cake he went back to the fire. We debated whether to stay for dinner or not, but decided that we wouldn’t be able to make the ride back in the dark after the meal. Our scooter skills are good, but we don’t like to push it too much. We drove back to town and then to our internet cafe. All the regulars were there and the bartender gave us free drinks again. It was a good day.