by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Getting our feet wet

Dave and I are not huge fans of the beach. We both would love to live near the water, to look out at it all we can, and to go on boat rides (especially with someone else driving). We both just don't like to sit out on a towel in the sun and turn over every half hour. It's just not for us. If we did go to the beach, and we haven't here in Corsica, it'd be for a few hours going between the shade and the water.

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Living in Florence :: From a sprinkle to a torrent

I was told Saturday that if it's dark in the west, where Isola d'Elba is located, it would rain here in Corsica. It was hard to believe because we were sitting on the terrace eating lunch in the shade, but the air was a little cool. There were a few clouds, but none too menacing. I sat in the sun after the meal to warm up and looked out. Is it really that dark over there? Is it really going to rain here?

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Living in Florence :: Around the Cap from east to west

Yesterday afternoon Marie and Todd invited us on a trip to Saint-Florent on the western coast of the "Cap Corse" (the Corsica Cape). So far we've been from Erbalunga (at the base of the Cap Corse on the easter side) up to the mill at the northern tip, Moulin Mattéi. So we left the house about 5PM, got gas, and headed west.

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An Italian side-effect on my French is the use of "tu" and "vous" (equivalents of "tu" and "Lei" in Italian). We don't have a familiar and formal "you" in English. I find the rules are a bit stricter in French than they are in Italian (at least in Florence where we live). I know better than to generalize about the Italian language because when I talk to any of my friends in Torino or Milano, they tell me things can be a little different.

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It's funny when I speak French and an Italian word pops into my mouth. The entire sentence comes out clearly and then BAM an Italian word. It's not even that the words are that close; it's more that they're just words I say habitually in Italian. "Ah sì." I mean "Oh, oui."

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We rented ATVs (quads in French) in Macinaggio with Todd, Marie, and her family friends tonight. I didn't know what they were called in English or French, but they're like dirt bikes with four wheels. When the others arrived at 7:30PM, we got fitted for helmets, received instructions on the rules, and got to test drive the ATVs.

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Dave and I are missing Florence. Our daily dose of pasta, my trips to the market for fresh fruits and vegetables, Italian coffee, and our view on the terra cotta colored tile roofs. I miss our small terrace filled with plants that sometimes has big black bees flying around and geckos climbing the short walls in the early evening. It has become our home and we love it.

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August has always been a birthday month in my mind. My father was born on the 8th, my grandmother on the 9th, and my mother on the 10th. It was nice at times because I couldn't forget any of their birthdays; however, nowadays they are not my favorite three days of the year.

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Today started like every other day here in Corsica. Breakfast on the terrace looking out over the Mediterranean with fresh bread and/or croissants and a caffè latte. After having so many heavy meals, I decided to only have coffee so that I could be hungry for our special lunch at "Le Caraïbou."

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Living in Florence :: To the northern tip of Corsica

The day started with fresh croissants and bread that the baker delivered up to the small village where the house we're staying in is located. Dave made a few caffè latte and we sat outside on the terrace under the mulberry tree. We looked out over the Mediterranean sea and discussed our plans for the day. We found out that our afternoon would start with an apéritif at a cousin's house, then lunch up at another small village, and end with a drive along the western coast.

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Living in Florence :: Tour d'Erbalunga

Today we ate in a small restaurant on a sandy beach only a few minutes from the house. We were planning initially on going into the water, but it was a little too rough. We heard there might be jelly fish as well, so we didn't push it. Especially since Dave got stung by a wasp of some sort during lunch. Instead we drop down the coast a bit more to Erbalunga. We were lucky that it's the other town near our small village with an ATM as well.

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Today was my friend Todd's birthday party. He and his wife Marie are our hosts here in Corsica. Because Marie is Corsican, her family is all here for the month of August (at least the beginning of the month). Since we've been here we've met her mother's side of the family one night and then her father's side of the family the next night. So, tonight was the gathering of them all and then some.

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Living in Florence :: Going to town

After getting up late, having coffee, helping prepare lunch and eating again, we decided to take a small trip to Macinaggio. I took one picture of the main street along the coast with a large port and many boats. It's the closest town to the village where we're staying. And the closest town with an ATM machine.

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Living in Florence :: Our first day in Corsica

My friend Marie told me about the convent at the top of the hill, but I figured it was farther up the hill or somewhere else. When I woke up this morning, I realized it was outside our bedroom (there are four: two face the water and two face the mountains). I decided that if I wasn't going to walk up there, I could at least take a picture from our window.

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Living in Florence :: Partiamo per la Corsica

After staying up until 2AM working last night, I needed a strong caffè latte to wake me at 5AM to call for a taxi and get us on the 7:30AM train to Livorno. We arrived at the Livorno train station and took the last taxi (there were only three). Simone told me that we could take the bus, but between buying tickets, figuring out which bus to take and our ship departing in less than an hour, I didn't hesitate walking straight to the taxi.

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