Playing tourist in Bonifacio, Ajaccio and Calvi

Debbra Dunning Brouillette sailed a fabulous Balearic Islands itinerary on Star Flyer. Take a look at an excerpt from her feature in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram!


[caption id="attachment_16510" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Calvi’s picturesque palm-lined harbor is the starting point for exploring the town and its 15th century Citadel. Photo by Debbra Dunning Brouillette.




Passengers congregated on the top deck as we neared Corsica’s southern tip into Bonifacio.



Its chalk-white limestone cliffs, separated from the Italian island of Sardinia by a seven-mile-wide strait, are among the island’s most distinctive sights, in contrast to its mountainous granite interior.



Leaving the ship, we walked past an impressive row of yachts to the tourist train, which transported us from Bonifacio’s Old Town to the upper part of the city, built on the site of a ninth-century citadel. We walked through the battlements of the reconstructed fortress, and then along the wall of the medieval city, where buildings appeared to teeter on the edges of the cliffs.







After seizing the opportunity to descend to ocean level via the legendary King Aragon’s steps, a steep stairway of 187 steps cut into the limestone cliffs, we stopped at a cafe near the fortress for a glass of wine and a fortifying snack of local cheeses, crusty bread and fig preserves before walking back to the harbor down a sloping set of steps.



The star of our second Corsican port is Napoleon Bonaparte, born in Ajaccio in 1769.



Bonaparte’s name graces everything from the airport to a hotel, street, shops, bars, and even a gelateria. The French first gained control of Corsica the year of Bonaparte’s birth. Before that, it had spent more than 500 years as an Italian Genoese republic. A brief period of independence followed, but since 1796, when Napoleon moved in with his army, Corsica has been a department of France.



From the top of a double-decker sightseeing bus, we passed multiple monuments to the ex-emperor and military leader on our way out of the city. Soon, we reached the nearby Sanguinaires Islands, a popular resort location for vacationers from the French mainland, then toured his birthplace, a Bonaparte family home until the 1920s and now a national museum.



While Bonaparte left his mark on Ajaccio, our final Corsican port claims another major historical figure as its own. Although still in dispute, Calvi is widely believed to have been the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. A statue at the site of his presumed home commemorates his birth in 1436, with one wall remaining within the 15th-century citadel.



Given a full day in port, we explored the town and citadel, then toured two medieval villages in the Balagne region north of Calvi, which is known for its figs, olive oil, and wine.



The first was Sant’Antonino, a ninth-century village said to be the oldest inhabited village in Corsica and officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its hilltop location at an elevation of 1,800 feet is often compared to an eagle’s nest, as it offers bird’s-eye views of the Balagne plain and the bay of Calvi.



Pigna, one of several villages on the Balagne Craft Trail, was our second all-too-brief stop.



Its distinctive blue-shuttered stone buildings line narrow streets branching out from a central courtyard, and we spied several artisans’ workshops offering pottery, music boxes, woodcarvings and other traditional crafts. I purchased a small ceramic plate incised with a fish design as a memento of our day.



For more of Debbra's story, including calls at Menorca, St. Tropez and Monaco, click here.
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Jazz and a Journey

Jochem Laabs is a jazz aficionado and former advertising and PR pro who recently sailed on Star Flyer. He sailing was from Cannes with calls at St. Tropez, France; Calvi, Corsica; Rapallo, Italy; and Monte Carol, Monaco. He is also an avid sailor and was kind enough to put together this video to share the experience of a Star Clippers cruise.






To visit Jochem's YouTube page for more travel and jazz videos click here.
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Video: Star Flyer Sails Southern France & Italy

Want to sail from the glamour of Cannes to the rugged cliffs of Corsica and the old-world charm of Monaco? Hop aboard Star Flyer and cruise around the Med with Helen & Albert Heinel, the creators of this lovely video:





This fabulous itinerary kicked off at the Cannes International Film Festival, May 17, 2014, and returned to the port the following Saturday, May 24, 2014. Along the way Star Flyer called at Calvi, Corsica; Portoferraio, Italy; Lerici, Italy; Monaco and St. Tropez, France.
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Itinerary Spotlight: Star Flyer Calls at 2014 Formula One Grand Prix

[caption id="attachment_15316" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Monaco photo courtesy of Monaco Press Centre Photos.




Star Flyer is always sailing exciting itineraries and these next two weeks are no exception! The May, 17, and May, 24, sailings feature some of the most alluring and elegant destinations in the Mediterranean culminating with calls at the Formula One Grand Prix in Monaco.



Saturday, May 17, 2014, the ship departed Cannes, France, while the International Cannes Film Festival was taking place. Guests enjoyed the city before taking off around 10 p.m. to see the glittering lights of Cannes under sail with the inspiring boom of "Conquest of Paradise" by Vangelis.





[caption id="attachment_15306" align="alignright" width="225"] Courtesy of Monaco Press Centre Photos.




The week begins with calls in the picturesque southern coasts of France and Italy, including Calvi and Bonifacio, Corsica; Elba, Italy, and Lerici, Italy where guests can explore Florence or Pisa.



On Thursday Star Flyer will reach what many consider the highlight of the trip, a day at Monte Carlo, Monaco, for the Grand Prix Trials. Imagine the excitement of catching this world famous event live! The fastest Formula One racers in the world speed around hairpin bends in the gorgeous coastal city at one of Europe's most prized social events.



This will be the longest call of the trip -- from 7 am to midnight -- allowing guests ample time to enjoy the races or try their luck at the world famous Grand Casino.



Upon leaving Monaco Star Flyer will call at the renowned St. Tropez before returning to Cannes for the start of another exciting itinerary.



This time the ship will sail around Corsica with calls including St. Florent, Figari Beach and Porto before arriving at the Formula One Grand Prix Finals! We're looking forward to hearing the results.



Do you love exciting events like this when you travel? Star Flyer will be party to the 2014 International St. Voiles de St. Tropez, Sept. 2014. The world-famous yacht regatta is a sight to see! For more information on this itinerary click here.





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