GR20 – Day 6 – Bergeries d’E Campanelle to Vizzavona to Corta
Camping on a comfortable grassy meadow and in a neighborhood of a softly bubbling stream was a very peaceful experience. It also meant that we had to deal with condensation in the morning. The fly of our tent was soaked through, and even the inner part of our tent collected moisture, enough moisture for our sleeping bags and down jackets to feel dump. The condensation was a pain to deal with but otherwise, it did not bother me much. After today’s walk, we would have completed the first part of our trek and we decided to take a rest day in a mountain town Corte which can be reached by a 45-minute train ride from Vizzavona, village the trail would lead us to. We would have plenty of time to dry all our gear before hitting the trail again.
After a quick breakfast of bread and sausage, the most convenient staples you can buy at the refuges, and also the cheapest option – for as little as €8.00 you can get enough food to last you for breakfast and lunch, we made our climb out of Campanelle through a thick shaded forest, and like always on a path dotted with rocks.
The morning climb let us to Bocca Palmentu from where we had the most beautiful view of the mountains we scaled yesterday. Afterwards we dropped back into trees.
Our walk today was mostly downhill. It was not the easiest downhill, as I said there were numerous rocks, and other obstacles – creeks to cross, fallen trees, and the grade itself was on a steeper side in places and we had to place our steps on the slippery mix of dirt and gravel carefully. But overall it was a walk that left plenty of energy once it was finished.
The timing was on our side. We walked to the train station In Vizzavona at 11:45 a.m., after about five hours of walking, and the next train to Corte was scheduled for 12:15 p.m. At first the lady at the ticket booth told us the next train runs at 4:35 p.m. but after checking the schedule posted on the wall, we asked about the earlier train that was listed and she apologized profusely for her mistake and issued us tickets for the earlier train.
The train ride was one of the most picturesque I have ever been on, and being European I have taken quite a few train rides in my life. The mountain range we saw from our window was magnificent, strong rock faces of pure granite with dramatic cliff faces and steep drop offs. The mountains, at least from a distance, seemed impenetrable. It was the mountains we would soon face.
Corte, with its distinct Citadel perched on a tall cliff overlooking the town, is a perfect destination for a trekker to make a stop. The town is not overly large, and can be seen by foot but it’s not claustrophobically small and offers enough places to see and eat at to keep one busy for a day, with either the busy tourist district or more peaceful side streets. Food is relatively inexpensive here, pizza, which seems to be the popular choice here, costs €8.00 – €14.00 depending on the toppings and can easily feed two travelers. Restaurants are plenty and food choices vary if you are not a fan of pizza.
Today we settled in a hotel, dealt with our wet gear, and ventured to town for dinner. Tomorrow as proper tourists we will explore the sights.
Train ride from Vizzavona to Corte was €4.50 one way.
There are many hotels in town. Hotel HR and Hotel De La Paix were the cheapest options we found. We opted for hotel HR which had slightly better reviews. Hind sight 20/20 we should have tried De La Paix as there was a construction at HR and it was rather noisy during daytime, which might be a problem if you want to take a siesta or just chill, and also the interior itself had little insulation, every time somebody above us flushed a toilet, or took a bath, it sounded like an earthquake was coming, and of course the thin walls let conversations leak through quite easily as well. Hotel De La Paix, as we found later is located in much nicer neighborhood, further from train station but closer to town and the exterior also looks nicer; however we did not see what the rooms are like. On the other hand, hotel HR offers self laundry for €5.00, and after a week on a trail washed clothes are heaven. They also have an outdoor swimming pool at HR.
Camping is available if you are on a tighter budget. We saw two camps located near the river. Looked quite nice, tall trees for shade, and enough sunshine by the water if you wish to jump in.
There is a large supermarket just minutes walk from Corte’s train station where you can very easily resupply on just any food or snack and toiletries you desire.
Sport stores (these are in the heart of the town approximately 15 – 20 minutes walk) carry stove fuel with screw on the top, same style as US fuel canisters. We saw small and large canisters, did not see any medium sized ones. Some smaller grocery stores carry gas canisters as well.