Monday, September 17, 2012

Porto and Calvi - Part Two

Continuing from my last post, we left Porto yesterday (Monday) morning and cycled north along the coast to Calvi.  Most of the ride consisted of riding along roads that hugged the sides of hills that surrounded inlets.  The weather continued to be lovely - sunny and pleasantly cool.

Genoese tower in Porto

The cycling wasn't particularly difficult yesterday in that there were no steep or extended climbs.  The elevation changes were not substantial (comparatively speaking) and were gradual.

As Mark and I rode, we again marveled at the variety of landscape in what has been understandably nicknamed the "Isle of Beauty."  We had not expected the lush forests of the south and central part of the island.  Each day brings changes, more and different kinds of beauty.

Looking back on Galeria, where we ate lunch yesterday
As I understand it, one of the three stages of next year's Tour de France will pass along the route that we rode yesterday, although the last bit, from Galeria to Calvi, will require a massive repaving project.  That section of road was the worst we have ridden since coming to Europe and was literally bone-rattling.  The following picture shows one of the better sections of road.

A few miles before Calvi, the pavement finally improved, which is where Mark took this picture of me.

It was yesterday - as is apparent from the above photo - that we truly saw the "blue water" of the Mediterranean.  As we looked down from the heights, we could see the rocks plunging into the water and their extensions under the surface of the water.  In other words, the water was remarkably clear.

Today, we will head off across the top of Corsica to Saint Florent.  The landscape turned drier once we left Galeria yesterday, and we expect this same landscape today.  In fact, we will be cycling this afternoon through the desert of Agriates before reaching the seaside resort of St Florent, where we will spend three nights.  It will be nice to be able to be in the same place for more than one night prior to heading south through the mountainous interior to the southwestern corner of the island.

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