Michal Fasanek | Photography


Being locked inside our apartment for the better part of the last month made me go through my photo archive which has a sizeable backlog of albums I've never gotten to edit & share. In September 2018, we've spent about a week in the northern regions of the French island of Corsica.

It was the last bigger trip with my old Sony Alpha 65 which is with me since 2011. The camera's white balance is completely off, its built-in image stabilization is broken and you can't imagine how many dust spots I had to remove from all these pictures. This might give you an idea of why these pictures were sitting in a 'drawer' for over 18 months.

The conditions during our stay were ideal for sun-deprived Amsterdammers on a vacation; less so for photography. Most of the days, it was clear blue sky and a very sharp sun from sunrise till sunset - while very enjoyable behind a set of sunglasses, such conditions don't offer much 'atmosphere' for a photograph and the sharp contrast between lights & shadows makes editing a pain.

Will all that said, the island is beyond beautiful and its natural wonders don't need much help to impress. So hopefully, you'll enjoy the places we've visited and the pics I chose.

We started the stay in the island's capital, Ajaccio. It has a few picturesque streets in the historic center but overall, there's no reason to spend any extended time here.


Our first trip was alongside the cost to a popular Pointe de la Parata peninsula. There is an old Genovese tower on the peninsula and you get to enjoy views of the nearby Sanguinaires archipelago. None of that is shown on the picture below which is looking the opposite way - towards the peninsula itself. You need to go there yourself to see the real deal.

Pointe de la Parata

From Ajaccio, we took a train across the island's mountainous central region with two stops along the way. The first one was a tiny village in the middle of the forest, called Vizzavona. There were perhaps 30 houses in total and the only place that was serving food in the area was a cozy railway pub/restaurant where I had the best crème brûlée to date. I made sure to get crème brûlée every day for the rest of the trip.

We did a hike/boulder up via a rocky river bed. Roughly thirty minutes after we climbed out of the valley a massive storm came in and the basin got completely flooded; talk about good timing.

When mr Salamander says it'll rain, you can bet it's going to rain!

The next stop along the way was the historical capital of the island, an extremely picturesque town of Corte. It was one of the more touristy places we've visited on the island but still well worth a stop. There are also several nice hikes in the area that are starting from Corte.

This is also where we started our routine of packing a fresh baguette, bunch of local-grown grapes, and a disc of Brocciu - traditional Corsican cheese made from sheep and/or goat milk for every hike. The best snack ever.

Still life with our snack featuring the local cheese Brocciu
Gorges du Tavignano
Gorges du Tavignano, the castle of Corte seen in the background

After another few hours on a train, we arrived in Bastia. It's the second biggest city on the island with a beautiful old port that used to be a major transport & business hub when Genoese rulers controlled this part of the island. It's better preserved and less congested with traffic than Ajaccio, and the 'new town' district (still several centuries old) built on the hill next to the Citadelle is a true marvel.

Bastia, Terra Nova
Old port in Bastia
Citadelle in Bastia
Bastia, old town
Bastia, old town

In Bastia, we picked up our rental car and continued North alongside the coast of Cap Corse, sometimes also nicknamed the 'middle finger' of the island. Driving around the peninsula is incredible fun. For three days straight I didn't get above the second gear of our Peugeot 207 and especially the west-facing coast offers breathtaking views.

The first stopover was in Macinaggio from where we took the boat to a sleepy village of Barcaggio and then hiked back alongside the coast, occasionally joined by a heard of freely wandering cows.

Genoese tower on the tip of Cap Corse
View from one of the 16th century Genoese towers. In total, almost hundred of them were built in an (unsuccessful) effort of defending the island against Ottoman Turks

Next up, we crossed the peninsula to get to the west coast. On the way, hyped by the amazing curvy roads, we've decided to take the narrowest possible road through the hilly central area. This took us to a medieval village of Vignale with pretty much no people and a single pup that was insanely happy to see us and literally gave us a tour around the village. The road through the ancient gate through which you leave the village was so narrow that even our small car barely (and I mean just centimeters on both sides) fitted in.


The next destination was very much a picture-perfect Port de Centuri. On the way south alongside the coast, there are plenty of rocky beaches & opportunities for a quick stop to enjoy the incredible views of the coastline. Marine de Farinole is well worth a stop for its few old streets and a nice viewpoint.

Port de Centuri
West coast of Cap Corse
Marine de Farinole
Marine de Farinole from the viewpoint

After a beautiful drive through the red rock formations of the central mountain massive (I didn't think anything can beat the driving experience from Cap Corse. Well, this bit did!), we stayed overnight in the secluded village of Calacuccia in one of those places that are still true to the idea behind Airbnb when it started. Imagine a centuries-old stone house with furniture originating in the middle of the previous century with the host who is an old local who doesn't speak a tiny bit of English, farms forest piglets for living, and brings you a fresh baguette for breakfast in the morning.

D84, if you like driving you don't wanna miss this road
These piggies are everywhere in the central part of the island

The next day, on our way back towards the west coast of the island above Ajaccio, we stopped for a half-day hike that took us to perhaps the most amazing place I've ever visited - Lac de Nino. After a few hours of a fairly steep climb, you reach this plateau with a little lake surrounded by mountains where wild cows & horses are grazing freely around. If there was one hike I'd recommend anyone to do while in Corsica, it would be this one.

Lac de Nino
Lac de Nino

We've spent the last couple of days we had on the island in the area around Porto, exploring the Scandola nature reserve during the day and the famous red rock formations of Les Calanques de Piana in the evening. Needless to say, driving alongside the coast here is a blast too, albeit the roads are busier than elsewhere on the island.

Kissing rocks in Scandola Nature Reserve
Scandola Nature Reserve
Girolata, village only accessible on foot or by boat
Calanques de Piana
Calanques de Piana
Calanques de Piana

The last sleepover was in the undulating countryside east of the island's capital, to make it easier to catch our not-so-cheap-but-still-inconveniently-early flight back.

To those interested, I'm happy to provide tips for places worth visiting or accommodation that we were happy with. If you're reading this post there's a good chance you already have my number anyway so just hit me up!


Spent nine full 'summer' days in Scotland this July. The country turned out to be everything I was hoping for: wild, raw, scarcely populated, dramatic, beautiful. This photo essay features one picture from every full day we spent in Scotland. Enjoy!

Day 1: Edinburgh
Day 2: View towards Edinburgh's port, Leith.
Day 3: Lake Arklet
Day 4: View from Ben A'an
Day 5: Glencoe
Day 6: Cairngorm mountain range
Day 7: Rain-spotting on top of Ben Rinnes
Day 8: Speyside coast
Day 9: Loch Lubnaig (which might or might not be part of Glenogle)
The Crew

How it begun and how is it going so far?

In January 2014, after many months of planning idle chatter, I finally set off for a trip to the Dutch capital. I let go warm seat of my former job, I left my partner, family, and friends and abandoned the weekly routines that I got used to.

Instead, I had an address of a place where I could stay in a cold and tiny room for the first week or so and where daily rent almost equals one-day earnings in my previous job. Except for a few facebook contacts to people that my friends gave me, I didn’t know anyone in the whole country. I had ambitious expectations about finding a cool job in some creative agency and I didn’t fully realize what it means to have a monthly rainfall of 70mm. It means 1cm every three days. It means it rains more or less every day. 

Well, so far I’ve met people from two dozen countries and the vast majority of them were really cool. I work for a rotten businessman for a less-than-minimum wage. And I learned that you can enjoy a couple of sunny hours instead of waiting for a whole sunny day. 

Even though there were moments of little depressions, so far this little adventure gave me so much that I don't even know where to begin. Being anywhere 'new' on your own almost guarantees an adventure; being on your own in the most cosmopolitan and tolerant city in the whole of Europe is just amazing. So far, every day in here I got to see (do, learn, hear, taste,...) something new. And that feels really good.