DAY 5 – Riding to Corte through the Gravona Valley.
Today would start the second half of my trip. I would leave the coast behind in favour of the mountains in the center. Giorgio was adamantly against entering the capital city of Corsica, Ajaccio. He said it would be cholk full of tourists and because the architecture is fairly recent, there’s really nothing too interesting to see. I took his word for it and we managed to circumvent Ajaccio completely and headed towards the town of Bastelicaccia instead. It was somewhere in between Cauro and Bastelica where we saw our first bull on the road. We were told to expect livestock roaming freely around these parts.
From there it was on to Cauro and Bastelica before reaching Tavera, where we would descend into the Gravona Valley via the Col de Scallela (1193m).
The video below shows the descent from Col de Scalella. In it you’ll hear my rear brake squealing going into corners. You can’t tell from the video but the decline is pretty steep. When you’re not negotiating tight corners you have to keep an eye out for billy goats crossing in front of you.
Then came the pigs. A whole bunch of them. We came across some 15 pigs just hanging out in the shade along the road. They seemed to not mind the passing motorists at all. These are all wild pigs too, although much too small to be hunted.
We did make one stop for an excursion that day at Voile de la Mariée. Apparently there was a secret waterfall hidden deep within the woods. That meant more trekking, always in our motorcycle gear.
The sign said only 10 minutes so we figured what the hell. About five minutes into the climb we completely regretted it. We caught up to an older Spanish couple who kept asking everyone who was passing them on their way back, “Val la peine?”, or “is it worth it?” That made us laugh. Until we got to the actual waterfall, which was less a waterfall and more like a geriatric’s urine stream.
It had been a long and hot ride – even in the mountains – as the roads were demanding. The hike to see the secret waterfall was unmerited and left us more tired. Then one of those amazing road trip things happened. We rode into this little town, Bocognano, starving. Giorgio spotted this boulangerie serving sandwiches from a truck. It was parked next to an old fountain, in front of a small square. It looked like one of those places where you get incredible food for cheap. It was. The menu was only sandwiches – more like subs by North American standards. I ordered the “Americano”; steak, onions, tomatoes, mayo, and fries. It sounds like artery homicide but it just went down so easily. I think putting the fries inside the bun is what qualifies this sandwich as an “Americano.” How ironic.
Further along in the Gravona Valley we stopped at yet another lookout point near the town of Vivario.
From there it wasn’t long before we arrived to Corte, a few minutes before a violent thunderstorm broke out overhead. We checked into the first hotel we found just avoiding the oncoming storm. Moments later, we were finally joined by La Claudia, and her beastly 2011, Triumph Speed Triple. Fortunately, the storm had passed by dinner as we ventured out on foot into the historical center of Corte.
We would have a proper bed to sleep in that night and a good rest, which was needed before more riding and trekking the next day.