Saturday, 23 October 2010

Day 8 - Bergeries de l'Onda to Vizzavona

We decided to do the high route again for this next day, except this one was definitely not the easy option. The previous day we had met Greg for the first time and he passed us during the scrambling on the way up.
It was another very windy day and picking our way along the poorly marked trail that followed the ridge to Monte d'Oru was quite difficult, the terrain included a lot of loose slate with a very steep slope below us and I scared myself a couple of times thinking about what might happen if one of us slipped. Consequently when we got to the point where you were meant to drop your packs for the final 20m ascent to the top I refused to go. I knew it was no harder than anything else we'd done, but the blustery conditions had knocked my confidence. My mother later told me that a woman had been blown over on this ridge just a couple of weeks previously and had needed rescuing by helicopter.

The descent was also quite unpleasant; a very steep gully filled with loose rocks which must be particularly treacherous in the summer when it has more than two people going down it but that's where the yellow paint marks went, so we followed. About 2 hours after leaving the top, we caught sight of Vizzavona, the first civilisation we'd seen since Calenzana. It still seemed miles away and unfortunately it was.

Vizzavona doesn't have a refuge, instead the station restaurant has a camping ground in the woods, offers hot showers (for which you pay extra, but it's worth it) and runs an epicerie. The guy who ran it (whom I shall call the station master - he might as well have been as the actual station workers were on strike the whole time we were there) was very nice to us, probably because we spent so much at his still-mountain-priced epicerie. In return he gave us the fruit and a second hand lighter for free, which was incredibly useful as our supposed `storm matches' had not lived up to their promise. We had dinner in the traditional Corsican restaurant which was good value. Their creme brulee was amazing, so I tried to ask the waiter what it had in it. He just kept repeating `creme bru-lee' slowly over and over until eventually he realised what I was asking and pointed to the shot of myrtle liqueur we'd just been given by the station master. I thought better of trying to tell him that `creme bru-lee' was actually an English invention, also known as `Trinity Burnt Cream', if you shop in Waitrose!

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