Three horses, one erased, Les Tenieres, France. Click to view the photo at Flickr.
I spent four days on my scooter wandering this little region to the north of Tours, France, blown away by the access the scooter was giving me. When I pulled off the main highway onto this tiny road that might as well have been private, these two horses (and a third one erased) were just posing for me. I was realizing the dream of riding a scooter in the countryside with a nice camera and all the time in the world.
Nobody at home knows where I am; nobody here knows who I am.
We got into Punta del Diablo so late that we couldn’t really tell what the town was like, or even how close to the ocean we were. The next morning I woke up at 6am with the sun and when I stepped outside this man was walking up with his thermos, cigarette and the ubiquitous yerba mate.
To drink it, the Uruguayans fill a gourd with the tea leaves, then pour in hot water. They drink it through a special straw that has a filtered end so it can draw in the tea without taking the leaves. When the tea is gone they pour in more water.
When I saw him I asked if I could take a picture and only really snapped this one shot, the first shot I took in Diablo, and the best.
If anyone from Punta del Diablo is reading this and knows this man, I’d love if you would contact me.
Azure and I agreed that Bonifacio is one of the most spectacular cities we’ve visited – it’s built on a cliff that’s surrounded by water on 3.5 sides and it’s pretty much waiting to fall into the water, as you can see above. From Bonifacio you can see Sardegna, Corsica’s Italian sister to the South. Bonifacio is hundreds of years old, of course, and somewhere up here was found one of the oldest inhabitants of Corsica, a woman whose grave was dated to ~9000 years ago.
We found the town itself to be one of those annoying seasonal towns that’s a shell in the off-season, so there’s nothing to do, nothing that sustains people. Tourism keeps em going the rest of the year, of course, so when we were walking around the town our interactions felt uncomfortably artificial. We were much happier in Sartene where there was a university and some commerce and free wifi only half an hour away.
Some town in SW Corsica.
Little did I know at the time that this was the first of many many olive trees we’d take pictures of. This tree was on the walk down from the amazing howevermany course dinner high above Dolceacqua to which we had to hike… and from which we had to hike back. Drunk. We walked on stone walls that lined olive tree orchards that spanned the terraced hillsides.
It was interesting to cross the border from France to Italy and see an immediate difference. Physically, there was much less emphasis on aesthetic beauty, powerlines were all over the place and the hillsides were mostly terraced in this region (which was beautiful, but not natural). At the same time you cross the border and the people are much warmer and the food has different emphases as well… freshness rather than alchemy.
On our way back from the brocciu making we stopped at this strange fake windmill that had the best view on the island. Well, I say that, but there were tons of great views there. The windmill had one of them.
When I picture Mediterranean islands, I usually imagine looking down at them from above, as if I’m floating above and getting to inspect the valleys and smell the trees on the wind… When we pulled to the top of a hill and saw this view I knew I’d have to take some time to experience it.
That’s one of the reasons I love night photography. When the shudder opens, you have nothing to do but be still and wait and watch. It’s a situation where taking it all in – really appreciating the scene – is automatic and easy. Night photography is also a little magic. The camera picks up light that you didn’t know was there in the first place.
Up on this ridge there was a stiff wind and there were old stones scattered down the hillside that had at one point been structures. There were wind farms on the hill and the moon was rising behind them. We could somehow see all the way down to L’Ile Rousse at night – it’s the collection of lights on the right side of the picture. That was the town we’d slept in the night before, hours away by scooter. But there it was, under our noses like we were floating above the island inspecting its coasts.