After my little posts on Calvi and on the day trips from there, this is the story of our trip near Corte, which was once the capital of Corsica and if you google Corte, you may see the same pictures of the Citadel. In order to go to Porto Vecchio and Bonifacio in the south of Corsica, we may either take the coastal road or go through the center of Corsica and drive, hence, through Corte, and this is the path we chose.
As previously written, Corsica is not a big island but there is something for everyone and Corte and its whereabouts is great for all those who long for wilderness and nature. A friend of mine in Paris set us meetings with locals who all work as shepherds.
We met three different shepherds. One of them was raising wild boars and pigs in the forest. They were all free to run wherever they wanted, but they also knew that their shepherd was bringing acorns on a specific road everyday. It was very fun to watch as we saw them running wildly towards the acorns. These wild boars and pigs were huge ! I must admit I have not seen many boars and pigs in my life, but these beasts were tremendously huge.
Shepherds in Corsica are very famous in France. People often view them as rebels : they supposedly host and protect the terrorists in the maquis. I do not know about that, but from what I can tell, it is true they can hide whoever they want in the forests. Anyway, the point is that their lives are miles from what we know and as I write this post, I can’t help but be moved. They lead very lonely lives. Their days are always the same : they do take care of animals so they cannot fail providing for them and protecting them against nature.
One shepherd lives in the cutest, most beautiful bergerie we have seen so far. As this blog is public, I cannot divulge the place or show you pictures of his home, but it is very inspiring to see how one can turn a sheepfold into a very picturesque place. See above a detail of his little bergerie. I admire the way he turned every single thing in his life as art. For instance, he sculpts the horns of dead animals into beautiful artwork with a knife. His life is very simple and very hard but he manages to turn everything around him in something pleasant and beautiful.
As far as we could tell, these shepherds’ animals are the happiest we have seen. They are raised in the forest or in vast open spaces. They eat acorns or natural food. This is the absolute opposite of animals brought up in cages and limited spaces being fed animal feed.
Going to visit the shepherds is one of our fondest memories of Corsica. True, it is not what we imagine when visiting the island : it is not only about sunbathing in one of the amazing Corsican beaches, partying in Porto Vecchio etc. But visiting the shepherds is worth every single minute in the mud and in the cow pat.
Next week, I will publish my final post on our Corsica : the south. We fondly love this island and try to go there once every two years as it holds very special memories for us.