How to tell if a Corsican shepherd is happy.

Ajaccio is a nice enough town but there’s not a great deal to it. I’d struggle to recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have either a ferry to catch or a real interest in Napoleon. We luckily enough have both those things.

The area around the port makes for a pleasant walk through the shops selling souvenirs to people off the cruise ships but that’s about 30 minutes of entertainment if you’re not buying anything. We’ve window-shopped the strip at least three times in the last 24 hours. Given yesterday’s post, we were very taken with the poster in the picture from one of the souvenir shops we passed. It shows how to decipher if a Corsican shepherd is happy to unhappy.

Ajaccio’s major claim to fame is that Napoleon was born here and spent some of his formative years here. We visited the house where he was born this afternoon which has been made into a good little museum. The house was pillaged and badly damaged by the British in the 1790s so there’s little original, but it remains worth a visit. We were amused to see another one of Napoleon’s death masks – we’re making a bit of collection of places we’ve sen them. Over the last five months we’ve visited his place of birth, the place he’s buried, the scene of two of his defeats and numerous other places associated with him including the castle he gave one of his brothers. It’s a shame he doesn’t feature strongly in the Australian history curriculum because the boys have become quite the experts on his life and times.

Napoleon’s uncle was a Cardinal and a collector of paintings. The Musee Fesch is reputed to have the finest collection of renaissance paintings in France outside of the Louvre. I don’t feel competent to comment on the overall quality, but it made a pleasant place to pass an hour this afternoon. The shaded seats in its courtyard, where I’m sitting writing this, provide some relief from the sun.

Our ferry to Marseilles leaves at 7pm so now it’s time for an early dinner before boarding.