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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Postcard from St. Tropez




Star Clipper, the tallest ship in the world (tied with sister-ship Star Flyer) sits against the silhouette of the coast of St. Tropez and purple-gray skies, June 27, 2014.



This fabulous photo was captured by Dr. Regis Michel of the Académie des Arts & Sciences de la Mer.
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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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Having Fun Aboard Star Clipper

Special thanks to Star Clipper guest Virgie Vuylsteke for sending these photos of her recent trip.


Here are a few photos from our fun cruise aboard the Star Clipper.






















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Star Flyer in St. Tropez for Classic Yacht Regatta

This September guests sailing on board Star Flyer will have the chance to watch the internationally-renowned Les Voiles de St.Tropez yacht regatta from the heart of the action on the ship's deck while sailing through the bay of St. Tropez, France, Sept. 30. This year the regatta runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 2. After the race, Star Flyer will call at the port of St. Tropez, allowing guests the opportunity to enjoy the lively post-race festivities and explore the town's famous beaches, bistros and bars.



Star Flyers’ Voiles de St Tropez sailing departs Cannes, France, Sept. 24 and will call at various yachting ports in the Med including L’Ile Rousse and Bastia in Corsica; Portoferraio, Elba; Portofino, Italy, and Iles d'Hyères and Sanary-sur-Mer, France.



Star Flyer.













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