Nique le Budget!
We went to bed hoping to go north in the morning. When I woke up it was still raining, so I didn’t even bother waking Mike up. It is a long ride to the north and doing it in the rain is really out of the question. We thought, judging from our experiences on the west side of the island that there had to be a blue sky day soon to come. We walked into town and checked the weather at the information office. Rain rain rain! Three days of rain. In fact our only window of non-rainy time in the whole forecast was this afternoon. Still undecided, we walked to the plaza and went to a different cafe that advertised Wifi for a sandwich. Perhaps on accident, Mike ordered a cheese sandwich and I ordered one with a little Corsican meat and some tomatoes. There was no wifi and then we forked over a good hunk of our budget for a two really bad sandwiches. We decided never to talk about it again (even though I am posting about it right now).
At lunch we decided that we had to take the window of mild weather to get at least as far as Ajaccio. Ajaccio is the largest city on Corsica and is also the city where Napoleon was born. Neither of us were excited about staying the night in Ajaccio, but it was half way to our real destination, a small coastal town called C&&&&&. It would probably be our best bet for cheap accommodations and food and also have internet, which we needed in order to find other places to stay. We loaded everything on the scooter and told Father Joseph that we would be leaving. It was fairly abrupt, but he gave us warm goodbyes and we were on our way.
The ride was not the worst ride ever, but it wasn’t great. We spent an hour trying to find this castle from 2000BC that Mike had been wanting to go to for the last week. We drove up every possible road to find it, but it was nowhere. It kept taunting us on the map, but no one that we asked seemed to know anything about it. After and hour and a half or searching, we gave up. I think we might have seen it, but it was on someone’s property and there were no signs. It might also have just been a pile of rocks, who knows. Mike was really disappointed and I could tell he was thinking about it for the next half hour as we headed north.
It was a really gray day and even though it wasn’t raining the whole time, it was wet. We had to climb a little pass that got up to about 600m, which isn’t huge, but it isn’t small either. At the top, it started to rain and we had to descend through the shower for the last 25km of our trip.
By the time we got to Ajaccio, it was probably 4:30. We were both cold and tired and really low on gas. The first place we pulled in to didn’t have any, nor did the second or the third. We figured that they hadn’t delivered over the weekend, so we drove around looking for a hotel or the tourist office. After about a half hour, we finally found it and went in to ask about rooms. Mike was inside for a while and I was out with the scooter. When I finally went in to see what the deal was, Mike told me that the guy said the cheapest room in Ajaccio was E65 and it was across the bay. WHAT??? What about hostels? None. What about a convent? None. Still I was unable to accept this answer, thinking I could do better online. I went to all of my tested and true websites and all failed me. We were actually staying in a town that has NO cheap rooms.
“Well, where can we find gas?” Mike asked.
“I don’t know” answered the information guy.
“What do you mean you don’t know?
“Well the workers are on ‘greve'” -We had to look it up. It means strike.
“How long do you think they will be on strike?”
“I don’t know.”
“Can you guess?”
“Ok then.”- We leave and I freak out for a minute.
So now we are stuck indefinitely in the most expensive city on the island with no means to get out. We will just have to wait.
On the internet, I did find a place for E69 around the corner. We went there first and saw that for only E6 more, we could get a bathtub. Sold! I spent one whole hour in the tub. Mike took two and when we walked to get groceries, I was actually warm for the first time since I’ve been here. After the cheese sandwich, we had decided that our bodies needed a break from all the really fatty foods we were eating, but since it was such a miserable day, we had to pamper ourselves. Mike got a coke and some nutella. We got a bottle of wine and anything else we wanted. We didn’t even look at the price. We went back to the hotel and indulged. We spent the whole night either in the bath or on the internet, video chatting, uploading pictures, all the big stuff. It was great.
I realized this about our trip–we have been doing a great job of going all out. Whatever that means. When we were staying at the convent, our existence was really minimalist, like life in a church is. We would eat in for every meal and would walk the halls cold, but we got used to it. At the farm we worked really hard and adjusted to their lives because that’s what you do on a farm. Here, we are indulging. We have no problems about using the bath as much as we want, watching the television if we would like and spending money on food. When both the guy at the information desk and the woman at our hotel gave us the “I don’t know, no one knows” answer, it really flipped a switch for us. Well, if we’re stuck here, we might as well enjoy it.
Ajaccio is actually a cute city. It is the only place we’ve been on the island that feels like Europe, like France for that matter. They still don’t talk the same, but the stores are similar and there are great pedestrian streets lined with shops and boulangeries. It’s actually not a bad place to be stuck. The other good thing is that we just finished our first full month together and we were only 100 euros over budget, which is really really good. We are really really proud of ourselves. And since we are starting the second month, we have plenty of time to make our goals later. Who knows where we’ll have to stay to make it, but we’ll find something. For now, I’ll just go sit in the tub and drink some wine. Nique le budget!
UPDATE: That was Tuesday. Today we found out they have now blocked the ports, so the ferries can’t come or go. We were thinking of just taking a ferry back to the mainland, but now we can’t even do that. We are actually stuck here for real! We bought 2 bottles of wine for tonight and have taken 3 more baths today 🙂