Mark and Lou's Excellent Adventure travel blog

The wall of firewood at the Col de Verde

Oasis in the middle of nowhere - restaurant at the Coll de...

Hiking dog with his own backpack

Purple wild orchid on the side of the path

Wild flowers with fat alpine bee

GR20 - Corsica Sud - Day 7

We departed the Refuge de Prati for Capanelle - a wonderful sounding place which Paddy described in his guidebook as having bars and restaurants. We began to ascribe it mythical qualities. Perhaps there would be a masseuse. Perhaps there would be electricity and wifi (pronounced wee fee here). It was beginning to sound like the Emerald City, where all our dreams could be fulfilled.

We plodded downhill again through beautiful shady and cool forests, coming across another hiking dog with his own backpack.

We reached the Col de Verde and there was a gorgeous little terraced bar/restaurant. We stopped for a saucisson baguette and a cold refreshing mineral water while watching a man build his outdoor wood fire in a barbecue grate. Such technique! I learned new things about campfire construction, triple tiered. There was a dog lying happily opposite the fire, not moving except to wag his tail whenever anyone approached him.

It was a glorious day. We walked through enchanted forests of spruce, pine, beech and chestnut. Deep green mosses covered rocks and trees. I wish I could describe the fragrance of the pine forest - it was simply heavenly. So fresh, clean and wonderful. The pine needles were a welcome reprieve for our feet. Fragrant wildflowers were everywhere, with the ever present bees. There were also tiny pale purple butterflies, which were just beautiful.

The day drew on and we were ascending rocky paths again. I began to see faces in the trees and rocks. Corsican rocks take some pretty amazing shapes. When I pointed out the face of Jesus in one of the rocks to Mark, he remarked that I was obviously delirious and in need of a proper meal. Maybe I had been out in the mountains for too long, or maybe not long enough.

We began another steep rocky descent into the small alpine resort of Capanelle. We checked in and ended up sharing a small timber shack with a couple of Geman blokes. We went up to the restaurant and were reunited with our buddies, all placed at long tables and enjoyed the dishes that kept coming. Hearty Corsican soup, followed by braised beef with fresh thyme and served with polenta cake. To finish, the staple cheese with fig preserve and a chestnut spirit. The spirit was almost like ether: bringing it to your lips made your eyes water and lips burn. It was pretty strong stuff and had a kick like a Corsican mule. Its advantage was that it completely dissolved the pain in the knees.

We relished the last night in the mountains with friends old and new in such a convivial atmosphere. It was almost like Christmas.

It was time for bed - to rest and recharge for the last day walking in to the town of Vizzavona, the halfway mark between the North and South treks and the end of the line for us.

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