Hiking on Corsica
Hiking on Corsica. For a week. With a girl friend and an organized hiking group. I always wanted to visit the fourth biggest island of the Mediterranean Sea. Finally I heard so many positive things about it. We come across an offer on the internet which suits us. The price as well as the programme sounds good. We go to Algajola in the north of Corsica. The way to the island already is an adventure: In the train we sit opposite somebody we will meet again on the island and back home. On the airport we have to change gates four times before we finally take off. Fun Fact on the side: Two passengers want to go to to Barcelona but sit at the gate to Calvi. At Corsica it is also turbulent: One time crack is served for breakfasts, another time somebody tries to pull out a seat cushion from under me. In the meantime we walk across the island and get to know the „racy Elias“.
Short night, long day
Our flight takes off from Köln/Bonn airport. Because of the shortage of manpower it is obligatory to be three hours before the flight at the aerodrome. To meet this obligation we have to leave in the middle of the night. We have a Rail & Fly ticket but no reservation. We do not expect too many people on the train at night. Well, we are wrong. The train to Cologne is packed. A young guy sits opposite me. By now I do not know that we will see him again at Corsica.
When we finally reach the airport, we check in immediately. The place is still quite. Our boarding pass tells us that B71 is our gate. Oh wait. It changed already. Now it is B61. Arriving at gate B61 we just learn from the loudspeaker that the gate has changed to B30. And it seems that we are not the only ones who are confused. There is a couple sitting that is obviously looking for its flight to Barcelona – I can tell from their tour guide book. Literally at the last moment they realize that they are at the wrong gate. We finally take off from gate B80. I guess some fitness training prior to our flight cannot do any harm to us
After 1.5 hours with disembark at Calvi – slightly late. The airport is so small that we can walk across the taxiway to the airport building. We get our luggage back quickly. Our busses to the hotel are already waiting in front of the entrance hall. I am still tired from the short night and can hardly absorb the information given. Just twenty minutes later we are at the Maristella. Our studio iss mall but functional. Upon the nice weather we want to stretch our legs and walk towards the city centre of Algajola.
Meeting racy Elias
From the hotel we walk across the radial highway and reach the beach. We see the first cafés. From here we can see the „city centre“ and the citadel. In the centre we are looking for something to eat. We find a bakery and a supermarket. Afterwards we sit down in a café and enjoy some good strong coffee. The animal spirits return. We walk over to the train station from where the racy Elias starts either to Calvi or Ile Rousse.
Finally we take a look at the harbour and chill a little bit watching the waves of the sea. It’s time for diner. And this is a surprise to us. No, it is not the good food or the All-Inklusive drinks. No we meet our seatmate from the Cologne train.
“Crack” for breakfast
Next morning we are greated by the sun. We take our breakfast on the terrace. And here we meet our little holiday friend. A young gray striped cat that is not shy at all, looking for food. What else. I give her some bread and observe how it make a ball out of it and plays with it before it is eaten. We both really have to laugh when Maren returns from the buffet and tells me that there is „crack“ served. What? Well, of course I got it wrong – it is Crêpes and not crack.
After breakfast we get started. From Santa Reparata we walk on ancient paths to Ile Rousse. It is a nice easy walk. The weather is nice when we reach Ile Rousse after two hours. Whereas the others enjoy a Pietra Bière Ambrée – a beer made of chestnuts – I walk to the harbour and take a look around. I take a look at the market hall. The city is supposed to be crowded in the summer. Now in the low season the place appears sleepy. We go back to the hotel by bus.
Next day weg et to know the Forêt de Bonifatu in the northwest of Corsica. This walk is a little bit more stressful. With a difference in height of 650 metres up and down we sweat a little bit more. The landscape reminds me of the Heinrich-Heine-Weg at the Ilsetal. At the end of the hike we stop for some drinks at the Auberge de la Foret. A nice family managed restaurant.
The fight for a seat cushion
Everybody knows that. Before the dinner buffet opens up officially guests are already sitting in front of it waiting. With the fine weather everybody sits outside staring at the restaurant door. The places outside on the terrace are quite popular therefore it is advisable to be there on time. Whereas I deal with today’s choice of meals, Maren tries to defend my seat cushion. An elderly guy, with beer belly and suspenders tries to grab it. Maren tells him that the cushion belongs to somebody he just answers: Well, the person is not here yet! In the end he does not dare to take it. Shocking conditions!
On the third day we walk the Bocca di Battaglia and the Olmi Capella. It is a moderate round trip, passing by an old Roman bridge. On our way to the starting point we pass by the village of Speloncato. It is a beautiful place and supposed to be the most photographed village of the island.
From the Bocca di Battaglia we walk through and oak forest to Olmi Capella. We pay a visit to an Osteria for coffee. At the end of the hike we also enjoy our beer here. The up’s and down’s of this hik are 250 metres up and 600 metres down.
Calvi, the beautiful
The next day is our day off – there is no hike. We take the racy Elias to Calvi. The ride is nice. Especially the approach to the crescent-shaped bay of Calvi is impressive. From the station we are looking for the access to the pilgrimage chapel of Notre Dame de la Serra. What has been described as a stroll by the touring guide turns out to be a sweaty business as the path to the chapel is not only steep but also stony. Having arrived at the top we enjoy a fantastic panoramic view onto the old town and the citadelle. We have a closer look on the latter later on. Allegedly Christoph Columbus was born here. After all this culture we have to relax upon a drink. A bar at the harbour offers us a great view. Shortly after five o’clock we have to return to our hotel. Once again we ride the racy Elias. On the way we witness a great sunset.
The last two hikes set my heart affluter. Finally we hike onto a mountain. On Thursday it is a coastal hike at the Désert des Agriates. We climb onto the Punta Liatoghju (222 m) above the beach of Ostriconi. As always the ascent is worth it, the view onto the Ostriconi valley is magnificent. The most beautiful hike to my mind is the walk to the cloister Corbara and from there on top of the Monte Sant‘ Angelo (562m). We start our tour right at the hotel. At the top we enjoy a panoramic view over the coast, stretching from Algajola to the Ile Rousse. After a fotoshooting on the hill we move on to the village of Sant Antonio. A Corsican buffet with typical sausages and cheese specialities awaits us. Simply delicious!
The descent passes by the cloister Corbara and the artist village of Pigna. We take a „farewell drink“ on the terrace of the A Casarella before we return to our hotel for a last diner. On Saturday our hiking week is over. We simply enjoyed our stay: nice weather, a good hotel and beautiful hikes. We might come back one day.