With warm sand pushing up between my toes, I strapped a pop-up tent to my back, took six baguettes into my arms, turned and walked into the sea.
It wasn’t the most conventional way to get to accommodation, but this hadn’t been the most conventional trip. It was our third day on the tiny but perfectly formed island of Corsica, and we’d spent the morning hitch-hiking up the coast from Bonifacio, a spotless marina town in the south. We’d reached Santa Giulia, an arbitrary point on the map we thought would be easy to get to.
There wasn’t much, just a beach-front set of holiday apartments and the town around the bay to the north. The beach was standard – beautiful, but standard – and populated mainly by Pedalo users and Pedalo pedllers, and sun bed users and sun bed peddlers.
But what we found in Santa Giulia was anything but arbitrary. Because, a 50-metre wade through thigh-deep warm cyan water, was a masterpiece of geography. A perfect cove. Great hunks of rock stood guard, keeping the rest of the bay out. A crescent of white sand edged the shallow, baby’s bath-temperature water before brushy forest rose steep from the shore. The guardian rocks had dimples and curves in all the right places, nature’s answer to the sun bed peddlers back on the beach, I suppose.
The sun bounced all around as we slowly sloshed through the sparkling sea towards the rocks, toes feeling their way over the hard sand ridges and playing follow-the-leader like five elephants holding tails, retracing the invisible path we knew wouldn’t dunk our backpacks into the surf. The sixth and shortest member of the group could only watch.
So, perhaps accommodation is something of a strong word. Accommodation was a clearing we found about ten metres up from the shore, just big enough for three tents to sit, overlapping, on flat ground. But the cove was five-star.
We stayed and played for two days and two nights. Drifting in and out of consciousness while marooned on a rock in the middle of the pool, we lay and watched tiny fish dart in and out of the shade. We played ball against a huge, flat rock face that can only have been made for that purpose. We lazed and batted away enormous, shiny black beetles who buzzed in off the water.
Occasionally visitors would bob in to the cove on Pedalos, and they would splash around with us for a while before leaving us to our bliss.
At night we ate baguette and cheese, and drank wine from plastic cups on a plateau rock looking across the bay to the moored boats and the blinking lights of Santa Giulia, with the twinkling lights of the heavens above. Now that’s a beach holiday.