Villages along the way

Kiwianagirl

Posted: Fri, Feb 6, 2015, 0:18

Hi everyone.

A friend and I are traveling from America to hike the GR20 late August, and didn't want to miss out on beautiful side trips, like villages, along the trail. Although I have read about three that look enticing, do any fellow hikers have favourites that they feel would be worthy of a detour to view? We would then retrace our steps back to the GR20, or meet up with the trail further along.

Thanks so much.

Kari

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Kari



Gaffr

Posted: Fri, Feb 6, 2015, 8:11

Hello,
You maybe can say which three villages that you have read about?
My wife and I have visited the multi-day trails in Corse on several occasions but I guess that I would say that it is on all the 'other trails' where we have come across many quiet villages/hamlets in rural Corse.
On the GR20 you tend to get carried away with the pleasures of staying above 900 metres for a couple of weeks and are happy to see the small villages in the distance from above, well those that can be viewed from a distance and also to make a metal note to perhaps visit them on another occasion. I was attracted by the village name of Zonza, a village few Kls below the Bavella pass and managed to visit during a later trip when camping nearby.
On our first visit to the GR20 we arrived to Calinzana around lunchtime so had a bit of time spare to walk the village which is bruised and battered by former skirmishes and a couple of close by hamlets before starting the traverse the following day. On this visit we took a day out to take the train down to Ajaccio but folks we met on the trail had gone the opposite direction, by train, down to Corte. We caught up with historical Corte on another trip following the MM Nord.
Later we did look down on Cozzano which we later camped in during a trip along the MM Centre.
Both Vizzavona and Bavella are almost entirely engaged with satisfying the needs of those on the GR20 and day visitors.
The finishing hamlet of Conca is pleasantly quiet away from the final refuge/camping area.

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Gaffr



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Fri, Feb 6, 2015, 11:58

Kari

The only one I have visited is Corte, the ancient capital of Corsica and birth place of Napolean Bonaparte. The detour is via the very pretty Tavingnanu Gorge on the way down to Corte (split from the GR20 at the Bergeries de Vaccaghiia) and return via the Restonica Gorge (mini bus/Navette service runs up the Restonica Gorge in the height of summer). This detour would bypass the Refuge de Manganu and the high point of the GR20 at Bocca Alle Porte on Capitellu.

Alternatively go there on the train from Vizzavona.

Corte is historic with a castle and museum. It also has a degree of charm but it is quite shabby too.

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Alan



Gaffr

Posted: Fri, Feb 6, 2015, 15:28

Hello,
I should have said in the earlier post that both Ajaccio and Corte are towns rather than villages.
TT I think that Napolean Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio? The man that we became aware of in Corte...memorial in the old square...was Pasquale Paoli who managed to wrestle control of the island from the Genoese in the middle of the 18th, century and to found the republic of Corse which however didn't last long, around 15 years or so, when the French took control.
Both Corsican but Napolean had grand objectives like control of much of Europe whereas Pasquale just wanted the independence for Corse.

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Gaffr



Kiwianagirl

Posted: Fri, Feb 6, 2015, 15:31

Thank you for your comments. I have read about these three that are within walking distance of the trail.
Canaglia
Zicavo
Quenza

We are going the last two weeks of August, and leaving about a month later. Alternatively we could leave around the 25th Sept and go into Oct. I have read all the comments, and it seems that August is going to be very busy, yet October is going to be unmanned at most refuges.

Either way, we are very excited. I've been reading about this hike for years, and finally am taking it on.

Kari

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Kari



Gaffr

Posted: Sat, Feb 7, 2015, 7:32

Hello,
I haven't been to Canaglia but I was aware of it being a few kls. East of Bergeries de Tolla on the lower level route between Petra Piana and l'Onda which we followed during our first visit. During the visit from the South I found the higher level route 'par les cretes' was a grand day out on the higher ground....on a good day not to be missed!
I suppose that if there are problems, fitness or weather maybe, going down to Canaglia would be within a short distance from one of the small stations for access to Vizzavona?
Zicavo was within a few kls. of Cozzano which was an overnight stop for us during a walk through the MM Centre. We descended from the Bocca Laparo on the GR20 to reach Cozzano.
Quenza was a lunchstop for us during the walk along the MM Sud....a pleasant quiet village on our way down to the ancient neolithique site at Cucuruzzu.
As I maybe indicated prior descending from from the GR20 to reach the villages does mean losing height which has to be regained to continue on the route. I would also say that most of the trail stages along are interesting but in different ways and several stages have variants which, if followed, will keep the flow of the route going? Maybe also more effort and time required to reach the villages?
I have been to the island in September but only until the middle of the month when the refuges were all in business. I think that you may just get through your visit, with refuges still staffed, which would take you into the middle of October. If you Search around the forum you will find accounts of folks managing to make their way during October?

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Gaffr



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Mon, Feb 9, 2015, 8:59

Gaffr

I seems that Corte was the birthplace of his brother, Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte. I misread the plaque on the house and assumed it was THE Napolean Bonaparte!

Kari

August isn't always busy. If you go outside the main French holiday exodus, which I think is the first two weeks in August, you could be OK. It will be a lot busier than October but shouldn't be impossible especially as you're taking a tent. Both my trips to the GR20 have been the last week of August & first week of September. We didn't have any problems.

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Alan



Gaffr

Posted: Mon, Feb 9, 2015, 18:42

Hello TT,
Yes these Bonaparte's seem to pop up all over the island. We came across the ruined chalet of Prince Pierre Bonaparte quite close to the camping at Bonifatu when making our way up to the Bocca di Bonassa on the Mare e Monti.
A bit like the Rob Roys and the wee bonny prince in Scottish Highlands...who left their mark in many places :-)

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Gaffr