Two hikes and a road race
5 Oct 2017   Cars, Corsica, Porto, Serriera, France    Goto first   Goto last    More photos    L - M - S
 
 
 
 
 

We decided to leave Algajola a day early to get in some hiking in the Porto - Piana area. So come morning we got back in the Citreon and retraced our path from a couple days earlier. Our goal was to check into a hotel in Serriera, a village about 10 minutes outside of Porto, then drive to Porto to hike. On checking into our simple but roomy hotel we learned from the friendly proprietor that the road to Porto was closing in half an hour! Turns out the road was being used all afternoon by the Tour de Corse. It would reopen at 19:00, she said. Since she spoke no English and we know little French the conversation took place courtesy of google translate which we used by taking turns typing into a computer. This worked quite well.

Of course we'd no idea what the Tour is, a bicycle race? A foot race? A car race? Turns out, well, more on that later.

We jumped back into the car and headed south to get past Porto and then onto the trailhead. The road either side of Porto, a road we'd driven days earlier, is both painfully beautiful and white-knuckle scary: it's carved into the side of a wall of granite and in places it is barely one car wide.

Within five minutes we were stuck in a traffic jam. Cars, trucks, buses, and motorbikes took turns squeezing past each other on the narrow road, with granite hanging over us on one side, and a sheer drop to the sea on the other. On the bright side it was great for picture taking: while Paul sat in the Citroen's driver's seat and inched forward I walked around and shot photos.

Once in Porto we discovered the Tour de Corse is a car race. So that mystery was cleared. It also explained the sporty cars we'd seen on the road earlier, all decked out in numbers and stickers.

The hike was easy and scenic. The trail followed an old stone path, what was likely a road connecting villages, and it overlooked the Calanche de Piana with its pink granite forest broken by views of the turquoise Mediterranean.

Corsica looks to be a hikers dream as the mountainous island is covered with trails. We see many people decked out in full hiking gear. The Corsican trails are well marked plus every one I've looked for I've found in OpenStreetMaps using the CityMaps2Go app.

After the hike we headed to Piana for lunch then followed that up with another hike. We had to kill time till the road re-opened. We hiked about half of the Capu Rossu trail, which heads west out to a promontory with, again, great views of pink granite mountains, scrubby green forests, and that crystal clear Mediterranean sea.

Soon we were back in Porto where we hung out with the Tour racers and waited for the road to reopen, which it did promptly at 19:00. The drive back involved another traffic jam as cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, and Tour support vehicles squeezed by each other to get to their destinations. At this point we thought we were through with the boy racers. We weren't, though.

It was a long day with a lot of beautiful scenery topped with a taste of an old Steve McQueen movie. We were glad to get back to our charming hotel, drink a beer, and call it a night.

 
 
 
 
Hope no one needs ambulance
 
This narrow road is carved into a cliff. Beyond the short guard rail on the right is a cliff side that drops toward the sea.
 
 
 
 
Hope no one needs ambulance
 
This narrow road is carved into a cliff. Beyond the short guard rail on the right is a cliff side that drops toward the sea.
 
 
 
 
Hope no one needs ambulance
 
This narrow road is carved into a cliff. Beyond the short guard rail on the right is a cliff side that drops toward the sea.
 
 
 
Golfe de Porto  ++
 
 
 
 
Golfe de Porto  ++
 
 
 
 
Golfe de Porto  ++
 
 
 
Golfe de Porto  ++++
 
 
 
 
Golfe de Porto  ++++
 
 
 
 
Golfe de Porto  ++++
 
 
 
A bit of beach
 
 
 
 
A bit of beach
 
 
 
 
A bit of beach
 
 
 
Road as seen from hike
 
 
 
 
Road as seen from hike
 
 
 
 
Road as seen from hike
 
 
 
Paul on Calanche hike  +
 
 
 
 
Paul on Calanche hike  +
 
 
 
 
Paul on Calanche hike  +
 
 
 
A forest of pink granite
 
 
 
 
A forest of pink granite
 
 
 
 
A forest of pink granite
 
 
 
Hike to Capu Rossu
 
 
 
 
Hike to Capu Rossu
 
 
 
 
Hike to Capu Rossu
 
 
 
View from Capu Rossu hike  +
 
After the hike we headed back to Porto.
 
 
 
 
View from Capu Rossu hike  +
 
After the hike we headed back to Porto.
 
 
 
 
View from Capu Rossu hike  +
 
After the hike we headed back to Porto.
 
 
 
Finish line for this segment
 
 
 
 
Finish line for this segment
 
 
 
 
Finish line for this segment
 
 
 
A cool blue car  ++
 
 
 
 
A cool blue car  ++
 
 
 
 
A cool blue car  ++
 
 
 
Drivers waiting race results  +
 
 
 
 
Drivers waiting race results  +
 
 
 
 
Drivers waiting race results  +
 
 
 
Porto sunset  ++
 
 
 
 
Porto sunset  ++
 
 
 
 
Porto sunset  ++
 
 
 
Beach near our hotel  +
 
 
 
 
Beach near our hotel  +
 
 
 
 
Beach near our hotel  +
 
 
 
Traffic jam as we headed home
 
 
 
 
Traffic jam as we headed home
 
 
 
 
Traffic jam as we headed home
 
 
 
A busy day comes to a close  ++
 
 
 
 
A busy day comes to a close  ++
 
 
 
 
A busy day comes to a close  ++