Two hikes and a road race
October 5, 2017
We decided to leave Algajola a day early, to get in some hiking in the Porto - Piana area. So we got back in the Citreon and retraced our path from a couple days earlier. Our goal was Serriera, a village about 10 minutes outside of Porto. After a while we arrived. 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 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 actually. p>
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 this ridiculously narrow road, with granite hanging over us and a sheer drop to the sea below. On the bright side it was great for picture taking: while Paul sat in the Citroen's driver's seat I walked around and shot photos.
Eventually we made it to Porto where we discovered the
Historical Tour de Corse
is a car race. So that mystery was cleared. It also explained the cars we'd seen earlier, all decked out in numbers and stickers.
The hike was great: it overlooks the Calanche de Piana with its pink granite forest broken by views of the turquoise Mediterranean. Much of the hike follows an old stone path, what was likely an old road connecting villages.
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.
Paul on Calanche hike
Corsica is beautiful, and the Porto area is my favorite beautiful place in Corsica.
View from Capu Rossu hike
After the hike we headed back to Porto.
Finish line for this segment
Drivers waiting race results
Traffic jam as we headed home
A busy day comes to a close