Mark and Lou's Excellent Adventure travel blog

The path to the end of our trek

An abandoned Bergerie - roof weighted with boulders

The Northern GR20 mountains arise before us

The last high point before the end

Our villa in Vizzavona

GR20 - Corsica Sud - Day 8

Capanelle to Vizzavona

Bidding our friends farewell, we finished packing. We browsed the cabinet containing a variety of Corsican vendetta knives. We seriously considered buying one, although if our backpacks were scanned on the way back and such a lethal looking weapon discovered, we might be in a bit of trouble.

We looked out at the views from Capanelle. Michel had been trying to point out the islands of Monte Cristo and Elba (where Napoleon had been exiled initially) the previous night, but the clouds had obscured them. This morning, it was clear and sunny and both islands were clearly visible. Just beyond Elba was the coast of Italy, although we couldn't see it.

We left Capanelle for the last day of the trek and followed the trail out before becoming lost for the first time. There weren't as many red and white markers in the hills up behind Capanelle. We ended up in the hill up behind the resort on the opposite side to where we should have been. The good thing was that from that vantage point, we could clearly see the path we should have stayed on. The downside was that we had lost over an hour of hiking time.

We were back on the right track, curving around the sides of mountains for most of the day. We walked through deep, dark forests, inhaling the pine scents one last time. The path undulated before ascending one last time. Climbing over the last peak, the much higher and even more rugged Northern mountains rose before us dramatically. They took our breath away. The Northern GR20 would have to wait until another lifetime - or perhaps never.

As we approached Vizzavona, there was a bull standing in our path. He looked twitchy and started to approach us. Fearing our own running of the bulls (er bull), we backtracked and went back up the hairpin bend, crouching behind a boulder. The bull passed and we continued on our way.

Fording one last stream, we entered the cool forest and eventually came to Vizzavona, a tiny town in the middle of Corsica. I stopped to read a notice board detailing evidence of people having lived here since Neolithic times. It was a small and quiet little town, the railway station being the focal point. We checked in to a hotel with the luxury of a private chamber with its own bathroom - with toilet paper! It was an old villa that seemed part convent, part boarding school. There was a sign that the massive front doors would be locked at 2230 hrs - a curfew.

Our room was up a few cruel flights of steep granite stairs. There were great views of the town and trees from our windows and the birds sang happily. It was such a pretty place. We strolled down to the restaurant offering pizza and wifi and enjoyed reconnecting with the outside world.

We celebrated the conclusion of our trek with liqueur de Myrte, a drink originating in Sardinia but embraced into Corsica's bosom. It is a very pleasing herbal tasting drink.

The GR20 Sud had been an incredible journey, testing our metal on a number of occasions. While being clarified in the crucible of those wild mountains, we had been opened up to a wonderfully rich culture and way of life. We had met and enjoyed the company of beautiful, gentle and hospitable people and were so much richer for it.

Corsica is indeed a unique and beautiful place - one we will never forget.

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