Our journey starts with the train from Monterosso to Livorno, where we'll catch a ferry to Bastia in northeastern Corsica. Our train is running a little late and we have to pay close attention to the announcements and train departure postings to make sure we don't get on the local (every stop in Cinque Terre), but rather the express to La Spezia, the first town south of Cinque Terre.
Waiting for the train in Monterosso
We come to a halt in Viareggio, two stops away from Livorno, and the conductor comes through and tells us that, due to last-night's storm, the train is ending here and we should all get out and wait for a train to Pisa, the next stop before Livorno. We all get off and a Pisa-bound train arrives about 1/2 hour later as everyone is on their phone checking the news, the train schedule, and the bus schedule (just in case). When we get to Pisa, we find that there is a train to Livorno waiting several tracks away, but that the underground passageways between the tracks have inches of water in them. Apparently, the storm was more severe here and there is some flooding. We splash over the the new track and hop on our hopefully-Livorno-bound train.
As we get into Livorno, we see that the impact of the storm was catastrophic here: businesses, fields, and parking lots that we pass are flooded and, as we enter the station, the tracks are flooded and the passageways between the tracks are full of water to the ceiling. Wow, we're lucky we made it. We watch some of the locals on the train talk to the conductor and call their friends to find out what is going on and look thankful that their families are safe.
Our taxi to the port maneuvers around the puddles and ponds and carries us to the ferry terminal where we wait for our ship to arrive. Soon, it is our turn to get on board for the four-hour trip to Bastia.
Ferry arriving and unloading
We board and depart
After a few hours, everyone on the ferry has the same blank look and we are all either hanging out on deck, sleeping, or watching cartoons on the TV screens in the lounge.
Passing the time
As we pull into Bastia, we see that this is a busy port, with many ferries coming and going from all over France and Italy.
Bastia ferry terminal
Our hotel is across the street from the ferry terminal and we stash our luggage and walk over to the old port to find dinner. We stroll up and down past the restaurants and choose Ristorante Côté Marine, where we are greeted warmly and treated to a great meal: moule (mussels) farsi and antipasti salad to start, whole dorade, pizza Corsican (olives, mushrooms, ham), and moule in white wine for our main courses. And, of course, a carafe of local white wine.
The old port
Moule farsi, antipasti salad
Pizza, dorade, moule
After dinner, we saunter back to our hotel through the beautifully-lit, deserted streets of Bastia. It's been a long day, but we made it and we are here!
Beautiful, quiet walk back