Cargese - Lavender Fields, Forever - CycleBlaze

June 28, 2003

Cargese

Another incredibly colorful day.  The entire ride through Corsica has been this way - mile after mile, day after day of spectacular rock formations contrasting against the dazzling blue sea.  A cycling paradise.

Today began with a climb away from Porto up the coast highway as it weaves its way up the south face of the Gulf of Porto.  This is a famous landscape, Les Calanches, is part of protected world heritage site.  For several miles the narrow road twists and turns its way through an almost grotesque rock garden.  It is an amazing but almost unsettling ride, with no shoulder, only a tiny wall separating you from a thousand foot drop to the gulf far below, and the occasional car inching its way around an oncoming blind curve.

Porto's beach, its tower, and its gulf
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Proceed with caution
Heart 0 Comment 0
The road through the Calanche is lined with grotesqueries.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Having navigated our way through the Calanche successfully, we rewarded ourselves by stopping at a café in Piana for a bite and a cold beverage.  Afterwards, we diverged off the main road for a few miles to the starting point of the hike to Capu Rossu - one of the short hikes I'd targeted for us in planning this trip, based on its description in our Lonely Planet guide as "one of the most beautiful walks in Corsica, culminating in breathtaking views". 

The description is accurate.  This was a wonderful hike - strenuous and hot, it descends about a thousand feet to the end of the cape, crossing an unshaded ridge covered with maquis and oak.  The cape drops off steeply to the sea on either side; and in the distance at the end of the cape a Genoese tower atop a knoll gradually grows larger and gains definition as you approach it.  At the end, a short steep climb takes you up to the tower, one of the best preserved that we saw on the island.

Capu Rossu. The hiking path is visible far below; and the Genoese tower is barely visible at the crown of the farthest knoll.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Capu Rossu
Heart 0 Comment 0
The tower of Capu Rossu
Heart 0 Comment 0
Rachael climbs the narrow, unrailed access stairs to the tower entrance.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The view of the Corsican coast from the tower's window
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Hot on the way down, hotter on the climb back up.  It was a relief when we got back to our bikes, happy to find them still locked up by the snack bar where we had left them, happy to cool off with a drink under the shade of a palapa before climbing back up to the main road and continuing south to Cargese, where we found a room for the night.

Total elevation gain: today, 3,200; for the tour, 38,960'

Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 725 km (450 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 2
Comment on this entry Comment 0