Bailing on the GR20 – Vizzavona to Porto, Corsica, France

June 15, 2014

Didn’t sleep well fretting about the weather for the continuation north. With the windows open I laid awake listening to the rain dripping from the trees, greatly disappointed that we would have to risk the weather or cut our trip short.

At first light a low fog blanketed the region. The weather forecast was still predicting days of both morning and evening thunderstorms. Seemed highly foolish to continue north under such conditions. The trail is difficult enough in dry weather and too slippery and dangerous when wet, not to mention the risk of lightning strikes on mountain tops.

We decided on a new plan. We would rearrange our itinerary and head to the coastal towns of Porto and Calvi. This is what we had planned to do after we finished the GR20. We would then restart the GR20 in a couple of days after the risk of severe storms had passed. The car and hotel reservations were easily changed and we took the 10:05AM train out of Vizzavona to Calvi – a three and half hour journey requiring a transfer in Ponte Leccia.

Vizzavona - Hotel Monte d'Oro

At 9AM the wisdom of our decision was confirmed when the sky opened up in one of the heaviest down pours I’ve ever seen. Lightning and thunder in the distance and hail accumulating on the hotel’s terrace. The heavy rain continued as we loaded our gear into the free shuttle that would take us to the train station. The fog on the van’s front windshield was so thick I don’t know how the driver could see where he was going.

Train to Calvi

The train, 19€/person, to Calvi was about 15 minutes late but otherwise it was an easy journey albeit slow through the mountains now blanketed in low clouds. Despite the turbulent weather there were still frequent glimpses of these rugged gems.

Drive to Porto

Once in Calvi we took a taxi to the airport to pick up the rental car we had reserved earlier that morning and drove about an hour and half down the coast to Porto. It’s a windy scenic drive even with low clouds hanging on the mountain tops and obscuring the sea views. As we neared our hotel, located at the entrance of Porto, the dark menacing clouds began to descend and 15 minutes later the second thunderstorm of the day hit with more heavy rain and hail. This time the lightening and thunder were straight overhead.

Porto - Bella Vista Hotel

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