Post GR20 in Corsica

9/15/2013 – Beach Day 1 according to Jamie

0 miles (0k), 0 feet gained (0m), 0 feet lost (0m) - this is a lie because we did leave our room

We woke up late (8am) to grab breakfast at the hotel. Croissants, real coffee, all the butter you could ask for, jam made with real fruit. Heaven. We were now satisfied. We packed up our beach stuff and headed to the train station undecided if we would go all the way to Ile Russe or get off at one of the smaller beaches along the way. As we waited for the train to arrive, raindrops began to fall. I guess this is what you get when you don't check the weather. As the train moved along the clear blue coast the raindrops became more frequent and the sky lit up with lightning. Hmmm...this was turning out to not be such a great beach day. We decided Ile Russe, being the bigger town, would be a better place to spend a rainy day. We managed to acquire a plastic bag from the train station so at least our stuff wouldn't get wet. We then ran into the heart of town and hopped from souvenir shop to souvenir shop trying to stay dry. We found the town's covered market and tried some meat and cheese samples. We also bought a few olives. Next we spotted a souvenir shop with ponchos and were able to purchase 2 lovely Corsica umbrellas. We decided to duck into a cafe as the rain picked up again to grab a coffee and a beer. When the rain eased a bit we went to investigate the bocce ball tournament going on and hopped around a few more shops. Finally, hunger set in and we chose to eat at one of the guide books suggestions. Sadly, they had run out of pizza but we had some pretty tasty moules frites.  As lunch came to an end around 2pm the rain finally let up and the sun began peeking through the clouds. Even though no one else was on the beach, we had to get in a little bit of sand time. We laid down our towels and took a great nap. The water was a bit too cold for swimming but at least we were on the beach. After an hour and a half it was time to catch the train back to Calvi. As the train neared the city we decided to give the beach one more try and got off before the city stop. The sun looked a lot brighter from inside so instead of lounging we walked the beach again. You would think we would be done with walking already! After showering at the hotel we had another nap and then decided to try some real Corsican fare for dinner. U Minellu looked good so we set out to find it. After getting a bit lost we finally located the restaurant. Our walk to get there was great though, as it took us away from the touristy streets. Dinner was delicious and we had a great local wine. Finally we had made a perfect food choice. While I needed to walk after dinner the weather was still bad and since Ryan didn't have a jacket (they are all smelly) we grabbed a coffee to calm the stomach and headed back to the hotel. Bedtime at 9:30pm! Resting up for a beach day tomorrow.

Lesson learned: When in a touristy area always walk the opposite direction.

9/16/2013 – Beach Day 2 according to Ryan

We're just used to waking up early I guess. We tossed and turned until 9ish and then checked the weather on Jamie's phone (we learned our lesson). It said there would be clouds and the possibility of rain, but when I opened the window there was nothing but brilliant sunlight. Beach time at last! We hurried downstairs and ate our breakfast (going a little easier on the bread products this time). We then threw everything we would need into a bag and headed to the Calvi beach, where we de-robed and laid on our towels, napping and lounging the perfect day away with the occasional dip in the sea when it got too hot. It felt good after so many days on the move to finally not have to go anywhere. After a whole summer of activity we finally got our beach day. 

The Calvi beach

Writing the 9/15 journal entry and soaking up the sun

When 3pm rolled around we packed up and retreated back to the hotel where we surveyed our seriously sun tanned (brûléed?) bodies. We then went for a small walk around the citadel to check out all the nooks and crannies, but the wind had picked up into serious gusts and Jamie was having difficulties with her dress (the only clean clothes she had left). 

Wind and Calvi

Calvi below

So, we decided to head to a "local" bar we had seen in the back of town - "Cafe des Fleurs," where I asked for a negroni, but the bartender told me he "couldn't do it." It was then that I noticed he had all the ingredients right behind him and he made some quick comment to the girl at the bar (a local, I guess), who laughed. I wish I was quicker in moments like these. Instead, I took my glass of red wine and sat with Jamie feeling angry at the bartender and myself. Maybe another lesson here; don't go too far in the other direction, or be prepared to fight back? The encounter kind of derailed my evening. I felt ready to leave and looked forward to getting back to life and all the new stuff about to happen at home. Jamie, who is perhaps too good for putting up with my bad attitude, steered me back in the harbor and the super touristy, yet comfortable "Le Pub" where our previous waiter from our cocktail hour the night before was found attending the exterior tables. I did get my negroni...a very huge, oversized, alcoholic negroni that went down with a pairing of charcuterie and bread and butter. Jamie also got a comically large mojito and we were happy. It wasn't long before we finished our drinks and set out to find pizza, which was surprisingly difficult. We finally settled on a tiny place in the heart of town that served "Corsican pizza," which was an open faced savory crepe. We also got a salad. The waiter conversed with us a bit at the end of the meal about Seattle and how a Supersonics player was his hero growing up. Small world. We finished packing up our stuff back at the hotel and watched some French TV in bed before passing out at 10:30pm. Home tomorrow!

All in all this has been an amazing trip. We have wanted to hike this thing since 2007 and now we have. We completed our challenge and we're even faster and stronger than we had anticipated.  Euro style hiking is definitely different, but it was super relaxing to have a beer and/or wine at the end of everyday in the mountains. We are glad we got to make this happen, see Corsica, and even get in our beach day!