the grudgingly-French island off the coast of Italy. We're
catching the off-season rates, late November and early December 2007.
may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
nicely settled in at the Hôtel du Nord in Corte
(ancient capital of kings, or at least of mid-18th century presidents), and now
we've motored up the wee little tiny road into the Vallée of Restonica
for a hike, and this is the place near the Pont de Frasseta beyond which camper-vans
are not permitted.
at the trailhead, the Bergerie de Grotelle (1370m), 25 November 2007. We're bound,
in fact, for the Lac de Melo up behind that rocky headwall on the far left. Some
of us, however, have only brought our "hiking sandals", so we'll have
to drive back down to Corte and fetch our proper boots for this snowy walk.
now we're back, with our boots on, and we're pacing in a leisurely manner up to
the Lac de Melo behind that headwall in the distance.
the truth to be known, we're following Hike 31 "Lac de Melo and Lac de Capitello"
in Noel Rochford's Landscapes of Corsica: a countryside guide (4th ed.,
Sunflower Books, 2005), but even at this point (having forgotten our boots in
the first instance, encountering more snow strewn about the path than we'd planned
for, and having got out of bed long after the cock had crowed in any case), we've
got doubts about completing the entire route.
we're in good spirits anyway.
old stone hut, with a prominent marking to remind the inhabitants where their
door can be found.
path bifurcates here, left and right, and Kristin is determined to take the path
with the "metal ladders" (Rochford, p. 115) to the right.
"metal ladders" yet, but more snow in the gulleys.
treacherous little gulley with old snow that disguises the vasty gaps between
all about for the "metal ladders"
metal ladders, in fact
to the Lac de Melo
and the path to Melo (or, in Corsican, 'Lagu di Melu')
de Melo (or Melu), 25 November 2007
a fine Corsican picnic lunch in prospect
salami. Corsican bread. This must be Heaven.
Corsican "brocciu", the famous ewe's milk cheese, the national favorite.
way upward to the Lac de Capitello, at 3 p.m. after a nice lunch. Sometimes we
just have to rein in our dreams and settle for half a hike. So we're starting
back down now -- for dinner.
cold old Lagu di Melu (or Melo)
cold old Lac de Melo (or Melu)
preparing to leap back down into the Vallée of Restonica as shadows gather
better part of valor
for me! Kir for the apéritif!"
hurried dash back down the Restonica valley, with dinner on our minds. Which,
however, in Corte, at the restaurant "Pascale Paoli" in the main square
of the upper village, was not just bad, but appalling. Pascale Paoli himself (1725-1807),
president of Corsica during its extremely short-lived independence, would have
balked at fried gristle with a local football game blaring out on the television.
and our pleasant green Renault Kangoo, nearing happy hour in the Valley of Restonica.