It’s hard to believe, but in all the years I have been visiting Corsica and have lived here, I have never been to Porto! Perhaps because the main road doesn’t go through the village itself, I have just never had the time to make the detour before, but today was different and I was looking forward to seeing one of the emblematic sights of Corsica…
I wasn’t sure whether to follow signs for the village or the Rive Gauche, but in the end I needn’t have worried as they both end up at different ends of the waterfront. I headed down to the Rive Gauche which turned out to be the port side of the town. From here, a path leads to the beach on one side and the tower and the town on the other. The coastline in this area is more for discovering than swimming/sunbathing, so I crossed the little footbridge and headed into the town.
The Rive Gauche consists mainly of shops and stalls of a nautical nature; boat trips, diving, fishing and beach stuff and a smattering of hotels, but I was more interested in the tower which dominates the bay. Unlike most other Geneoese towers, the one at Porto is square and not round. I bought a combined ticket for the tower, heather museum and the Aquarium which cost 6.50€.
The heather museum turned out to be an old bergerie with fairly boring written information about the part heather has played in Corsican history, so I wasn’t that interested. However, the tower, like the one at Campomoro, has been arranged inside with colourful information panels and the view from the roof was amazing. It was a shame that it was a relatively hazy day as the colours were not as crisp and sharp.
I wandered through the town to the aquarium which was much better than the one at Bonifacio, and reminded me why we always used to pester our parents to take us to the Dolphinarium in Brighton when we were kids! It wasn’t huge, but I managed to see barracudas, moray eels, sars, lobsters and crabs as well as anemonies and other species that I don’t know the names of.
After lunch I headed up to the tourist office and managed to buy a leaflet of walks in the area including the nearby villages of Ota and Evisa, amongst others. It may have taken me 15 years to get here, but it won’t take another 15 years before I’m back!