Antoine's house in the mountains of Corsica was framed by its rows of pines, lavender, and a loping beast of a dog called Maximus.
The times I've spent in the mountains (any mountains) have always had fond memories attached: a week each year for all of my adolescence, sleeping in tents or under tarps and thriving on condensed milk in tubes; my first (and only) time skiing on Australia's slightly grassy snow with the strangest age-group mismatch of a tour squad; swinging precariously along rope bridges with plunging rapids several kilometres down in remote China; and our anniversary goof-around on the edge of the earth as a welcome relaxation from overseas Winter fashion frenzies. Alex, on the other hand, prefers to climb mountains whose razor rocks shred your shirts and make you bleed, but, though I'm sure the memories are no less fond, our hikes around Corte in Corsica were nowhere near as scarring.
Once I'd recovered from that wild rookie error of dragging our bags through this mountain town for two hours, Corte made a sprinting finish to the top of my mountain location list, and my first impression of Corsica was very much repaired from its stale pistachio gelati beginnings in port town Ajaccio some hours earlier (that said, the train ride through the Corsican countryside was one of the more beautiful of my morning commutes).
The air was crystal clear unlike anywhere I've ever so much as breathed - my body felt like it was getting younger from an age where society says I shouldn't really be worrying about Benjamin Button. Antoine's stately house at the top of the main sprawl of Corte streets truly had what you could only describe as sweeping views of mountains, vineyards, and neighbouring farm properties, framed by its rows of pines, lavender, and a loping beast of a dog called Maximus (so big, Antoine's sweet and elderly father claimed, that he was hit by a highway car earlier this year and didn't shed a drop of blood - instead he stumbles around the house with paws the size of my head and an endearingly lopsided gait).
On this evening, before venturing out for a traditional Corsican dinner (wild shrub tart and wild boar casserole, as the case may be), we wandered the grounds in complete silence, appreciating sunlight and appropriately blue shadows and oversized bumble bees (most likely the only sound for a significant radius).
Enough for now - I have dishes to do.
That's why we're to have Part 2.
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