Bonifacio

Hopping in the hire car again it’s onwards in our exploration of Corsica. This time we’re heading to the pretty town of Bonifacio.

Located at Corsica’s southernmost tip, Bonifacio is a bustling harbour town with an impressive citadel.

The town itself stretches along a narrow, top-heavy promontory where houses perch precariously along the cliff tops.

The port is where much of Bonifacio’s tourist trade is concentrated, including ferries across to nearby Sardinia, boat tours and a handful of bars, clubs and restaurants along the quayside.

The old city is a maze like web of alleyways lined by ramshackle medieval houses and chapels with faded pastel plaster work.

The best way to appreciate the town is via a boat trip around the beautiful waters.

From the boat you can truly appreciate the amazing limestone rock formations.

You can also get a pretty good view from up on the town cliffs. Above you can see the famous ‘grain of sand’ rock formation.

Bonifacio is a beautiful little town which is well worth a stop on your Corsican itinerary.

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Multitude of murals

As we continue our exploration of Orgosolo’s outdoor art gallery we come across everything from political and historical paintings to cubist style works.

Below is a painted reproduction of a movie poster for the famous Bandits of Orgosolo, a 1960 Italian film drama directed by Vittorio De Seta that featured local shepherds as some of the lead characters.

Other murals reflect more recent world events such as the 9/11 terror attacks.

This trio of modernist works depict local women carrying out traditional crafts.

The man is dwarfed by this ornate and detailed mural that takes up an entire house facade.

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While below a window is surrounded by colourful depictions of local life.

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I took so many pictures of Orgosolo that I might manage to stretch to a third post about it!

Ogling Orgosolo

Moving away from beaches for a while we’re heading to the isolated town of Orgosolo.

Hidden in the midst of 1,000-metre-high mountains, surrounded by wild pine forests and a byword for lawlessness and kidnappers, Orgosolo is also an open air art gallery thanks to hundreds of murals that cover every wall, house and shop.

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Paintings can be found on walls all over Orgosolo. Above the many roles of women are celebrated – workers, mothers and lovers.

 

Whether it is pointing out the hypocrisy of giving charity without supporting countries to develop themselves or advocating for women’s rights, each picture tells a very charged story.

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The first mural in Orgosolo was signed by Dioniso in 1969: Dioniso was the collective name of a group of anarchists.

Since then they have reflected Sardinia’s political struggles but also deal with international issues as well as portraying the traditional island ways of life.

Orgosolo and the surrounding villages are infamous due to its lawless past full of bandits and kidnappers.

It is based in the central region known as Barbagia and, fittingly enough, the name comes from Cicero who described it as a land of barbarians.

At one time Orgosolo was known as the village of the murderers due to its high crime rate!

Given the rather reckless driving of some of the locals, it could still claim a fair few unwitting tourist scalps!

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More to come from this rough and ready open air art gallery . . .

Marvellous Marbella

Last trip of our Spanish holiday now, a return to the lovely little town of Marbella.

Despite it’s reputation as the go to place for vacuous reality stars it’s actually a wonderful place.

Its beautiful old town is crammed full of character, whitewashed walls and splashes of hot pink bougainvillea draped across every surface.

As usual you find a plethora of colourful details tiles on every wall and surface.

Again I enjoy the wonderful displays of red geraniums all mounted in pale blue plant pots.

We take a brief stop for some tasty tapas at the lovely Virgin of the Balcony restaurant.

So named because it is literally underneath this ornate pale blue shrine of the Virgin Mary.

Then its onto the hub of Marbella old town – Plaza de los Naranjos or the Orange Square, named for the fruit trees that fill the square.

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Orange Square dates back to 1485 and is laid out in a typical Spanish Christian design, with whitewashed houses and a town hall, a governor’s house and a chapel on the corners.

After getting out fill of traditional architecture we get our feet wet at the beach.

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Then it’s back to Malaga for a final potter on Malagueta beach before heading home.

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Another superb Spanish trip completed! Fantastic food and beautiful sights. Next up Kos and terrifying earthquakes . . .

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Back to Spain

Whizzing through this year’s travels now. Next up on the trail in May was a return visit to Malaga combined with Seville and Cadiz.

I’ve not got too many snaps of Malaga as it’s already been fairly well covered in previous blog posts.

Being a particularly useless travel blogger today as I just can’t remember which little village these pretty tiles were snapped!

The same village provided these lovely decorative walls, from a natural organic green garden wall to a faux view on a whitewashed wall.

But the main event of this holiday, and the reason for returning to this area is coming up – Seville and Cadiz.

Godshill

Nest up on our tour of the Isle of Wight is the beautiful little village of Godshill.

It is full of charming thatched-roofed cottages and a winding main-street lined with traditional tearooms and quaint shops.

This psychedelic little splash of joy is the Oracle Gallery.  It’s a cross between channel art, and guided meditation.

According to the artist “Visionary art is a way of creating spontaneously that encourages a complete letting go of the self.”

You can find out more about the artist Nicola Gibbs here.

The Bats Wing is a stunning 16th century tea room festooned with glorious purple wisteria.

It’s a delightful thatched cottage with overtones of a witchy hidey hole.

Every detail is a little delight, even these little signs to the church.

Below we come across one of the most stunning little cottages we have ever seen.

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It feels straight out of a fairy tale complete with swathes of bluebells and twinkling little lead pane windows.

Then a few more of the lovely little dwellings. What lucky people live in these!

There is also a delightful medieval church, All Saints, it sits on a hill and overlooks the village.

The church dates from the 14th century and is the fourth built on this site. The hill on which the church stands was once used by pagans as a place of worship.

Legend says the building of a church started at the foot of the hill but over three nights stones were removed from the site and placed where the present church now sits.

For the first two mornings work was restarted at the foot but by the third day it was assumed that God wished the church to be built on the hill – hence the name Godshill.

All in all Godshill is a gorgeous little village that is well worth exploring.

Candles and candies

With a history that goes back more than 2000 years, Locronan was originally a sacred place for the celts known as a ‘nemeton’.

It then became an important religious centre during the middle ages, and an important centre for the manufacture of sail-cloth for the local ship-building industry during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Church of Saint Ronan in the centre of the village dates from the 15th century.

In the interior of the church there is an intricate altar, numerous stained glass windows, carved reliefs and medieval religious statues of painted wood: the ‘pieta’ of the Virgin and dead Christ.

There are also some exquisite, jewel bright, stained glass windows.

Stepping back out of the church you find yourself in The Place de l’Eglise – a large, attractive square entirely paved and surrounded on all sides by very well preserved ancient buildings, with the substantial vaulted church the most imposing among them.

Even buildings in a state of disrepair have a rustic charm all of their own.

Almost all the houses date from the 17th and 18th centuries and are different heights and have small architectural highlights and characterful roofs that make them interesting, and there is an ancient well in the centre of the square.

Many of the buildings are now home to artisan crafts including this confectionery shop that specialises in fruit jellies.

You can also find postcard perfect snaps on every street including this delightful floral, bike and sage green shutter display!

Behind the church is an attractive small cemetery full of ornate iron crosses.

Locronan is a beautifully preserved little piece of history and well worth a visit.