If you followed some of our adventures, you now know we were in Corsica last May. During this trip we had the pleasure of being invited to a two day blogtrip alongside Elisa and Max, Solene and Guillaume, Laurianne, Celine and Chris. I will tell you about our first day of exploring the Island of beauty, the authentic Corsica!
“Endemo a Ghisoni”
We left Ajaccio early in the morning. After 3 days of an intense Convention, we would finally get into the thick of it and discover that Corsica has more to offer that there may first seem. Our first stop was at the small village of Ghisoni. A charming little place, away from the bustle of the city, lost in the mountains. While we were preparing to go through the 500m (547 yards) difference in height, Stéphane, our guide, took us on a little tour of the village. The place seemed frozen in time. A cow quietly walked through the village square while he was showing us old bread ovens, old wooden doors and buildings of other ages. And that was where the nice stroll for some and the suffering, for others, began… For most of us, a 500m difference in height wasn’t a big deal but it was quite a different story for our poor Nath who was not used to this kind of exercise. Fortunately, we still got to enjoy the beautiful surroundings that offered those winding roads we were biking on, in the middle of a relatively dense forest.
“Corsica is beautiful, but you have to earn it! “
I know, you are going to tell me that the good part about climbing a mountain with a bike is that there is inevitably going to be beautiful downhills after… Indeed! So we left the asphalt road to venture on a stony road with beautiful descents for those who love a bit of speed. I took pleasure in letting our guide and a good part of the group get ahead in order to treat myself in these slopes without risking to bother anyone. The vibrations on the handlebar, small poorly controlled adhesion losses, large stones to avoid, the noise of the chain shaken by the descent … It was so much fun! For a moment, I was 15 again and I was rolling down the tracks in my old neighborhood. Well, just for a few minutes… because what about the grand finale, the apotheosis, the icing on the cake after all these raids? A steep, long and discouraging ascent! Goodbye 15-year-old me, hello 30-year-old me with some cartons of cigarettes in the lungs…
On the other hand, Nath had a bad fall in a descent. More fear than harm but luckily it gave her the opportunity to have her baptism of blood and she immediately got back on her bike and finished, albeit at her own pace, but as a warrior! 😉
After this last climb that seemed interminable while pushing a bike that seemed to gain 4 pounds at every step, I found myself literally gasped. I could not believe what I was seeing before me. I knew it was time to eat, but I had imagined something else. No sardine cans and other picnic stars here. It took a few seconds for my brain to link all the elements together and convince myself that I was there, not in a famine delirium, lost elsewhere. This change of scenery gave me the impression of finding myself in Switzerland. Over there, a massive chain of snow-capped peaks. And before me, a green plateau overlooking the valley. And it is within this framework that was offered to us a big finely decorated table, set for a dozen of guests. Behind the table, a fire contained in a stone pile serving as a homemade cooker with large pots simmering on it. The smell of fire, the zucchini fritters and stew were mingling perfectly with the natural flavors of the Corsican flora. Mr Mayor, Don Marco Albertini, was waiting for us there, accompanied by family members of his and local shepherds that have the Inzecca farm you can visit in Ghisoni.
And all those people got pretty crazy when Nath arrived. Her wounds were closer to an ugly scratch than a nasty wound, but still they were shouting : “We have an injured person! We have an injured person!”. And in seconds, 7 or 8 people were already surrounding her and taking care or her hand and forearm. And that is how Mr Mayor himself disinfected her wounds with eau-de-vie and everlasting flower essential oil. She thus gained our first trip scar (let’s be realistic, it’s us, there will be others!) and a very cool story!
Between sea and mountains: the Urbinu pond
After enjoying a memorable meal (I still often dream of those amazing zucchini fritters), we went to the Urbinu pond, the deepest lake in Corsica. It is truly a beautiful and soothing place. You should go there right before sunset to enjoy all the color shades that it can offer.
We also had the chance to dine at the simply called “Urbinu” restaurant. With its terrace on water, its stunning views of the sunset on the other side of the pond, its mussels to die for and its festive white wine, no doubt you will want to stop there for a great moment. And all this without even mentioning the hospitality of the owner of the restaurant! In fact, we were totally behind schedule due to the mountain bike ride and our organizers, Emmanuel and Jean-Christophe, had asked for a simple evening so we wouldn’t be too late at the hotel in Bastia. It was as simple as tasting several wines, delicious mussels, fish (not as good as the mussels but still pretty copious) then desserts, coffees and digestives! And to top it all off, we even got a small recap of the History of the breeding of local mussels by the owner himself ! Obviously with such a program we didn’t want to rush ourselves. The wine and mussels helping, our organizers just got along with it and we left for Bastia certainly exhausted but with our heads full of new delicious memories.
For a never ending voyage
When we got to Bastia, we discovered our hotel for the night called “L’Hôtel des Voyageurs (The hotel of travelers)”, right in the theme! It is a truly beautiful place with a strong identity since each room has a travel theme of its own like Asia (where we stayed), Jules Verne, Nature, cinema or Africa. The corridors are carpeted with travel quotes. Some furniture, yet gleaming, appear to date back from another age like this beautiful globe right beside the reception desk. Thus the whole place becomes an invitation to discovery and exploration. I guess you figured out that we had a real crush for it and we now know where we’ll stay in Bastia.
This article was written as part of a partnership with Corsica Ferries. Nevertheless, any opinion expressed here is our own and has not been subjected to any influence.
We’re passionate travel bloggers, always pacing the world looking for its most beautiful jewels. Culture, gastronomy, landscapes and encounters, you’ll find all of this on our blog and much more!