Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday April 29

Today we arrived in Bonafacio on the southernmost tip of Corsica, a more beautiful and prosperous city than Calvi.  The Ponant steered into a narrow passageway below the limestone cliffs to arrive in the harbor, where we were met with a little tourist train and our local guide, an English grandmother who has somehow ended up living in Corsica.  "How did you come to live in Corsica?"  someone asked.  She said, "a man, of course."  

She also pointed out a small restaurant in town, the Stella d'Oro, where we had a great lunch in the company of two interesting Mill Valley fellow passengers.  The lunch was unfortunately a lot better than anything we've had to eat on the Ponant thus far.  Not that the Ponant is bad, just not extraordinary.  Here's the menu:  stuffed mussels, eggplant salad, lasagna and lemon tart, all with Corsican red wine.   Yummy.  

The town of Bonafacio is, as are most villages in Corsica, on the top of a hill, with a narrow passageway leading into narrow streets, a church at the pinnacle, gift shops, cafes and restaurants, little hotels, views all around of the sea, and a hiking trail leading out along the shore to a lighthouse.  Our guide kept telling us that we had come at absolutely the best time of year, before the swarms of tourists arrive for the summer.   We (the passengers of the Ponant) did our share of swarming.  I didn't buy most of the stuff I 
wanted to, but helped the economy in a small way, with lunch and a cotton scarf.  

Marsh McCall will give his second lecture in about an hour.  At the lecture yesterday he posed the question, basically:  Do you believe in manifest destiny?  Since we're discussing the Romans and the Roman Empire on this trip, we are wondering how Rome came to be so dominant in this area and elsewhere.    Even so, they always felt inferior to the Greeks.  The motto of our trip is in Latin:

Certo, Toto, siento nos in Kansate non iam  adesse

Surely, Toto, I feel that we in Kansas no longer are present

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