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Corsica from 08. until 23 Mai 2010

I spend this year my spring break in Corsica. An ideal country to test my new Cannondale bike with electric components from Bionx. (Motor, battery and display). A mountainous island, big enough to cycle around a fortnight. By train, I'll go from Zurich to Livorno. A ferry of "corsica ferries" will take me to Bastia. Here I begin to circle counter clockwise around Corsica. First I'm going up to Cap Corse, then via Saint Florent, Calvi, Porto, Ajaccio and Sarténe to Bonifatio, the very south of the island. Northbound I'll spend a few days in the inland mountains.

In Pisa I get out of the train to see the lopsided tower

Pisa with the river Arno. Tomorrow is taking of for the "Corsica ferries"

 

Napoleon statue on the Place St. Nicholas in Bastia

 

Livorno - Bastia in 4 hours with Corsica ferries

10th May 2010 Bastia - Centuri Port (Cap Corse)
59.59 Km. altitude 608 meters.

At 8:15. the ferry leaves Livorno and arrives at Bastia at 12:00 o'clock.
I cycle through the city to get an impression of it. I take a few photos from the Napoleon statue on the huge square St.Nicola. The citadel is closed, due to renovations.
The afternoon tour runs along the sea of Cap Corse to the campsite in Macinaggio. Unfortunately it is closed and will open in two days. The owner refers me to the nearest place in Centuri Port. It is only 15 km away, but over the Col de Serra. (396m.)
So far, the roads have been good but from now on I have to avoid the holes. The sidewalks have been replaced and I assume the road surface will be done next.
A 5 minutes walk from the Col de Serra, there is the only remaining intact windmill of Corsica. It was restored by the company Mattei and is used as advertising space for a well-known liqueur of Cape Corse. From here I can see the small fishing village of Centuri-Port.
I find out that this campground is closed to. Fortunately, I see five mobile homes on a gravel stand specially made to stay overnight. In addition to the gravel place is a beautiful meadow and it is clear to me, I will pitch my tent there tonight.
First I to a restaurant for dinner and recharge the battery because it's getting late. (time for charging 3 hours)

Place St Nicolas surrounded by coffee terraces under plane trees

Many towers along the East Coast

Tour de Losse

From time to time I have to wait

View on Centuri Port seen

from Moulin Mattei

The west coast of Cap Corse

11th May 2010 Centuri-Port - Saint-Florent
Km. 65 ---------total 124.59
Height 789 ----total - 1397

I ride through small villages such as Pino and Marinca to Monza with nearly an almost constant view on the sea and some steep slopes. Nonza is something special. The houses are placed around a big hill; it looks as if the tower protects the inhabitants. From the mid-20th century "asbestos" was mined here. I cycle along the large factory which is closed now. The waste was simply thrown into the sea. This formed over the years an artificial beach, which shimmer green-gray in the sun. Experts have claimed that the beach is not a danger to humans. (Any one who believes is saved).
The road from Nonza on is decent again.
I arrive at Saint-Florent early in the afternoon. The more time I have to visit the little town the better.
Once at the campsite, it starts a thunderstorm, lightning and it begins to rain in torrents. The best to do now is to have an extensive shower. Back from the shower room, it looks like the summer is back.

Here, the road is good again

Shut down Astbestos factory in Nonza

Artificial beach with asbestos deposits in Nonza

Mausoleum on the roadside (family tombs)

Saint Florent in sight

The Corsicans as the French like to play pétanque

Lush bloom now in May

12th May 2010 Saint-Florent - Calvi
Km. 81.23 ----- total 205.82
Height 955 -----total --2352

The only connection between Saint-Florent and L'Ile Rousse is the D81. First, there is an ascent to about 300 meters and then "rolling hills".
A barren landscape, the rocks are sparsely covered with vegetation but it is nevertheless appealing.
I's noon in L'ile Rousse. The terraces are an invitation for "lunch break".
I think the authorities here could do something about the traffic chaos. Everyone thinks he has to drive through the town. The scooters go back and forth and also between the cars. But nobody seems to mind. You have to take the steps forward, otherwise you get nowhere. Amazingly, no one sounds the horn. (Fortunately)
I buy something to eat and drink, mainly fruit. Tomorrow is Ascension Day and the stores are closed.
2 km before the centre of Calvi, I see a campsite in a pine forest. The reception is still closed but I can set up the tent. It's gorgeous summer weather. A strong wind is blowing, and of a sudden, the camp is covered in a cloud of yellow pollen of pine trees. (Very impressive)
Almost every section has its own electrical connection, so I have no problem to load the battery.
I am glad that I'm so early in Calvi because there is so much to see. By bike, I can cycle up the citadel, and have a fantastic view of the lower port city.

Between L'ile Rousse and Calvi. A ferry runs straight into the harbour

Landscape between St.Florent and Pietra Monetta D81

Lunch break in L'ile Rousse

Golfe de Calvi

Citadel of Calvi. I can ride my bike in a circle to the upper town

Citadel of Calvi, seen from the port

The Port of Calvi


13th May 2010 Calvi - Porto
Km. 81.21 ------ total 287.03
Height 957 ----- total - 3309

I take the coast road to Porto D81. It is a very winding road. I'm looking forward to the descents. With electric assistance my ascent speed is up to 10 to 13 Km. /hours. Unfortunately I am not much faster on the descent. The asphalt is so full of holes that it is too dangerous to cycle faster. It's until Galéria like this then again the road surface is superb to cycle on.
There are some small peaks (bocca's in the Corsican language) for example the Col de Palmarella and Col de la Croix, but that makes the ride more interesting and varied. I meet many cyclists, e.g. two ladies from Amsterdam.
The last 10 km before Porto, the streets are literally hewn from the rocks.
The campsite is luxurious in Porto. However, the only one of Corsica I have been, which cost. 3.50 to load the battery. (the real expenses are a few cents)
At supper, a Swiss couple sitting at the table next to me tells that they were involved in an accident this afternoon. The motorcyclist had to be flown to hospital by helicopter.

Rugged cliffs shortly after Calvi

Two ladies from Amsterdam

Certainly many rocks have been blown up to build this road

The Corsican name for col is Bocca

Many times facing the sea

Scattered small villages between the mountains

This cow doesn't move even for the cars

Beautiful to watch but hard to live here

The small wall doesn't protect much at a fall so better

Magnificent beaches very nice for snorkelling

 

pay attention and stay on the road

 

and swimming here

The rock with his tower in Porto Marina


14th May 2010 Porto - Ajaccio
Km 87.11 --------- total 374.14
Height 1299 ------ total --4608

From Porto (at sea level) I take the road along the coast direction Calanche. It starts with an ascent of 400 meters. A completely new appearance, the red granite cliffs and bizarre forms are striking. Since 1983 it is under the Unesco World Heritage. (
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calanche)

The road again is carved out of the rocks, one curve after the other. The motorcyclists have a joyful ride. I think they don't see anything of the landscape while driving, as they have to concentrate too much on the road.
Between San Martinu and Cargèse the road is terrible, but from Cargese on, the road is again superb.
In Ajaccio I'm looking for the tourist office to get some information about the city (about 60,000 inhabitants) and to search for the closest camping. In 1769, Napoleon Bonaparte was born here. His birthplace Pl. Létitua is not far away from Place Foch harboring an oversized statue of the Emperor.
It is not easy to drive a car in this city but with my bike I get anywhere easily. Fortunately, it is still early, so there remains a few hours for sightseeing.

Review of Porto

At supper

Unesco World Heritage Site

The west coast of Corsica

 

When the sun goes down these mountains glow purple

 

Time and again, facing the sea

 

Golfe de Pero

Cargèse

Tiuccia

<Mausoleum, probably a better Corsican family on the roadside --------------------------------------Golfe de la Liscia ^

15th May 2010 Ajaccio - Sartène
Km. --99.14 --------- total 473.28
Height 1733 ----------total --6341

It must have rained terribly last night because the tent is filled up with soil dust and fir needles to one third high. The tent stands next to the sanitary facility. I carry it there and clean it with a garden hose, hoping that I can spread it out to dry it in the sun somewhere in the afternoon.
Just a few miles outside the city, the ascent begins. It is 750 meters up to the Col de St. George. The roads are good and the slope is moderate, climbing no more than 6%. Here is the source of water that I see in every supermarket. I cycle along the factory where the water is bottled.
I've been very fortunate with the weather, for about one hour I need my pelerine, but it gets sunny in the afternoon. I can spread out my tent during picnic time.
Sartène is the most typical Corsican city of all, according to my travel Paperback. This region is the land of "vendetta". I see there are no individual graves, but only family mausoleums. I see many of them along the roadside. That shows to me how strong the family bond still is.
Like many towns and villages, Sartène is located on a mountain. Despite the climb, I want to see the town. With electric support, the effort is not exhausting, it is even fun.
I find out later, that the campground is located, at the foot of the mountain -of course-.

Ajaccio in the early morning, people

already play boules. Place Foch ^

The first Col for today

Scattered settlements

Sartène, for me a bit

gloomy city

16th May 2010 Sartène - Bonifatio
Km 64.05 ------total 537.33
Height 836 ----total --7177

The ascent up to Sarène is 300 metres; it is the only way to Bonifatio.
Again there are a couple of small passes for today with nice vantage points, even to the sea. After crossing the Col de Coralli I get down to the sea. The road makes a turn to the east, and now I enjoy a tailwind for the first time in this trip.
Due to the tailwind and electric support, I arrive in St. Bonifatio already at high noon. For visiting this beautiful city, the whole afternoon is at my disposal.
The city has a deep inlet used as harbour, and the old town with the Citadel is build on the 60 m high cliffs. A beautiful city to take pictures.
In the evening I clean the chain and sprocket of my bike at the campground. After seven days cycling, the crunch sound tells me that it is time to do it now.
Arriving in the south the weather looks like summer is back.

Lush vegetation

Back at the sea

Suddenly a very different landscape with vineyards and meadows mown

17th May 2010 Bonifatio - Zonza
Km. -69.66 ---------- total 606.99
Höhe 1283 ---------- total ---8460

It's nice to get up without a single cloud in the sky. A slight tailwind and flat terrain makes me fly to Porto Vecchio. Here I make a "mid-morning snack break."
From now on the ascent is 600 meter over a distance of 40 km. This is not a very steep slope.
I am very disappointed, after 300 meters altitude the electronics fail, even though the display shows that there is enough power available.
Now I have to cycle without support. I am glad that I decided to buy a bicycle with 27 gears. So I get to the top a little slower and with a few more drops of sweat. (At the end of the report, I describe what has been the cause.)

<Stairs to the uppertown ----------------The Port of Bonifatio ^

A long inlet from the sea to the port

The chalk cliffs of Bonifatio

The west side of Bonifatio

Signs of earlier settlement

Upper town

Citadel seen from the harbour

The upper town is built close to the cliffs

Today I meet many people with whom I have a chat, including a couple from southern Germany near the Swiss border.
At 16:00 h. I'm in Zonza. It surprises me that I find a restaurant with warm kitchen is open at this time of the day. To eat at this time of the day is ideal. I have enough appetite and thirst for a big meal. By the time I go to bed, between 21:00 and 22:00 most of it is already digested.
2 km descent, direction Quenza, is the campsite.
The couple of southern Germany I met this afternoon is already on the campsite lying in a lounger.

Porto-Veccio.

Ascent to Zonza.

Drink break

A large artificial lake

Steady up on beautiful streets

Different scene on the east side

The campground is located 2 km from Zonzo direction Quenza

Much shade for the summer

18th May 2010 Zonza - Ghisonaccia
Km 62.92 ----- total 669.91
Height -774 ---total --9234

Today it's the Bavella pass at about 1,200 meters to cycle up. The campground is at about 500M. i.e. 700 meters altitude difference this morning. The advantage, it goes up moderate, maximum 6%.
With good road surface, little traffic and step on constantly I get to the summit at lunchtime. It is teeming with tourists. With coaches, cars, motorcycles and even racing bikes they arrive. The panorama is beautiful.
The descent to the sea at Solenzara is a stunner, love to cycle through this beautiful landscape with many forests and newly-developed road. I stop several times not only to photographing but also to enjoy the landscape. I discover a slope with orchids, I have never seen in the wild.
The last 15 km to Ghisonaccia are flat.
At the campsite is only a long-term camper. Later, joins a couple who comes to the island for climbing.
The campsite is located in a poplar forest with hanging fruit stands, in full bloom. The seeds are provided with a head of hair. With each gust of wind the seeds whirl through the air like snowflakes. The grass is partly covered up with this hair.
The second camp (a 4 star) is located directly on the sea in a pine forest. The two sites are located 2-3 km apart. I take my bike to see what it looks like; maybe I meet the couple from yesterday who wanted to stay here. The campsite is huge and crowded with people but no chance, far too large to find someone here. I meet a Dutch couple; they invite me to a glass of wine. It is already dark when I start my way home.

On the Bavellapass are many people

Zonza.

Bavella Pass.

I see an entire hillside with orchids

At the gardener I have seen them several times but never wild in the forest

Bavella massif

 

The decent is great,

small streams and mountains

The Bavella massif .

Little short distance

to the next curve

Down in the valley with clear water

for swimming pools

This vegetation I have seen mostly in the north

The seeds with mops of hair from the

poplars gives the impression of snowing

19th May 2010 Ghisonaccia - Bastia
Km 94.01 -------total 763.92
Height -355 ----total -- 9589

When I get up, the weather still looks reasonably good, although the mountains are covered with thick clouds. A climb to Corte, the former capital of the island, is no question. There is rain in the air, so I decide to cycle along the coast to Bastia. If the weather is ok, I can do another 2 day trip in the mountains. If the weather is bad I prefer to be in the city.
As expected, it starts to rain in the afternoon with thunder and lightning. I prepare myself with cape and gaiters and go on cycling, sometimes through violent rain, sometimes lighter until just before the camping San Damiano. The three star camping site is located 10 Km south of Bastia on a narrow land strip, which forms the Etang de Biguglia.
For 10.50 a day I can pick a place. Here I stay three nights. I can leave my luggage in the tent and leave at the reception the battery with the charger I. Now I can go up as a lightweight mountain biker.
When I set up my tent, a woman offers me a folding chair with back and armrest she will not take the chair home. In the armrest is a device for my coffee cup. (posh) I will give it to another cyclist when I check out in three days.

The east coast is relatively flat and planted with many vines

Further inland, the weather doesn't look good

Fruits of palm trees

20th May 2010 trip to the Nebbio heights
Km ---64.27 ------ total 828.19
Height 1007 ------ total 10 596

Early in the morning I go first to the port of Bastia

A new plaster would not hurt

Always written in two languages, of which the French is often paint over

Visibility to the east to the Etang de Biguglia. On the narrow strip lies the campsite San Damiano

The staircase with 28 steps of the chapel of Moserrato, a copy of the Basilica San Giovanni in Rome

View on the other side, to the west with

Saint Florent in the background


Oletta

Church of San Michele de Murato 1300 century

It promises to be a beautiful day because the sun is already high in the sky when I stretch my head out of the tent.
To go to the harbour, first I have to find out the shortest path and how many kilometres, on Saturdays ferry leaves the port at 8:00 in the morning. The receptionist estimated 5-6 km in reality it is exactly 12 Km.
In Bastia, I take the D81 up to the Bocca di Teghime at 537 meters.
Without luggage I come up very well, cycle not in the lowest gear and have a few gearwheels in reserve when it gets steeper.
After 2 km I turn into a small road that leads to the Oratoire de Monserrato. The chapel contains a rarity that exists only in Rome, Lourdes and Fatima, called the Scala Santa, with 28 steps which is a copy of the Holy Stairs in the Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome.
Now I'am off to the Col de Teghime. The view above is fantastic. To the east, I have views of the plains, south of Bastia, the Etang de Biguglia and to the other side of the island the west, San Florent. It is so nice that I insert a longer pause.
Now I cycle along the western side of the mountain range to Oletta.
Because of the sudden unexpected deep holes on this narrow road, biking is tricky otherwise it is a good road surface.
In Oletta, a picturesque town on a hillside, I meet a couple with bicycles and luggage, which I've already met in Porto, six days ago. For them, the holidays are soon over, they must be at home in three days to work, the more I appreciate to be retired.
I'm going to San Michele de Murato, a church located 450 meters above sea level on a hilltop. Typical of the style are the large dark green and white limestone blocks, which give this church from the 13th. Century its character.
I cycle down on the D62 to Bastia. It is called "Défilé de Lancon. I have never cycled such a winding road with such steep slopes.

Fortunately, not much traffic

French is paint over

Etang de Biguglia

21th May 2010 trip to the north - west of Bastia.
Km. 45.55 ----- total 873.74
Height 493 -----total 11 089

It's like yesterday picture-book weather.
North of Bastia, I take the first left which leads into the mountains. The whole slope is covered with beautiful villas. My Travel - Paperback speaks of "American Villas" for those buildings, which are houses of Corsican exiles, who earned money in North and South America and spend it here, to live the old days in their native country.
I see roofers working on a new roof. They invite me to come up and see how they work. The slate plates are first carved and sawn to the right form, then stick together with putty and the edges with mortar. It takes a month to finish a roof. This makes a roof very expensive but it last at least 200 years, he says.
I go to San Martino di Lota, a remote village with a large church, restaurant and terrace with beautiful views of Bastia and the sea.
I cycle along the mountain slopes north until I join the road D80, which leads me back to the campground.

Each house has its citrus fruits

slate roofs are common

Cactus as big as a house

Formerly the house covers were without exeption made of slate

Many small hamlets with a large

church and at least one restaurant

Weit abgelegen von der Stadt

It needs one month to cover a roof

It's stick together with putty

and the edges with mortar

22th May 2010 with the ferry to Livorno.
The trip takes 4 hours.
Buy a ticket at the station of Livorno for the bike. (I couldn't get one in Switzerland) Buy something to eat and drink for tomorrow on the train to Zurich, (tomorrow is Pentecost) and cycle 12 Km. south to the Camping Miramare. The campings in Italy are very expensive. The costs are twice as much as in Corsica, 20. for one night bike, tent and one adult.
The train is leaving at 05:55 h. i.e. early to bed and early to get up.

Farewell to Corsica. This beach is adjacent to the campground.--- Many motorcyclists leave the ferry>

Nice end for my

spring cycle tour in Corsica

P.S. Back home I bring my electric bike to my bicycle dealer. An agent of Bionx Company is invited to find out what is wrong with the electronic. He knows the problem and changes the software and guaranteed that it will not happen again with this new software.

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