Thursday, July 13, 2017

Corsica: Île de Beauté

Yesterday was one of the most beautiful days of cycling I have ever experienced. Corsica truly lives up to its nickname, l'Île de Beauté, or island of beauty. 

We started out our day in the capital of Ajaccio, then were shuttled to a mountain pass north of the busy city. There, we got on our bikes and immediately started down a beautiful descent. Then it was along the coast for a while with stunning views of bays, coves and open sea before starting our biggest climb of the day.

The view from the pass where we mounted our bikes and started our descent

Clowning around with one of the guides

Lunch was in the quaint village of Piana, then immediately afterward came the highlight of the day: the ride through the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Calanques de Piana. It is impossible to capture the true wondrous beauty of this place with an iPhone while on a bike, but these few photographs of stunning rock formations, sea and sky will have to suffice.

Once through the Calanques, it was time to start our descent into Porto, our destination for the day. Bob and I didn't stop in town, however. We did one last climb up a gorge before descending to our hotel. Totals for the day: 50 miles, 5000'.

View of Porto while on our descent

View - literally - from my hotel room balcony

Yesterday evening, we had Aperol spritzes overlooking the sea, then had dinner, sharing a bottle of rose to celebrate the news I received on Wednesday that I had passed the test for the second part of the 16-week course I had taken last fall and this summer in order to become an Italian Wine Scholar. It was a lovely evening to end a beautiful day.

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