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Report 2028: Two Travellers on Corsica

By Doug Phillips from Canada, Spring 2012

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Page 11 of 14: Les Calanche de Piana, Porto, Ota - Thursday October 11

photo by Doug Phillips


Shortly before 10am, we drove into Cargese, turned left on the D81 and retraced our route to Piana from a few days ago. However, we continued beyond Piana and soon came upon the impressive rock formations known as the Calanches. There are several hiking paths in the area which provide the best views, but we limited ourselves to several stops along the road, along with most other people we met.

We also encountered several tour buses going each way along the narrow road. It was a bit of a mystery until we came upon Porto, a resort village at the bottom of steep mountain slopes a few miles from the Calanches. The village is divided into two parts - the beach and the marina, connected by an avenue dominated by small hotels and other commercial enterprises catering to the tourist trade. Attractive from a distance, Porto has the least appeal of any place we visited on Corsica.

A few kilometers east and inland is the village of Ota, surrounded by impressive rock formations. The road to Ota was typically narrow and there was a light rain, but the main driving hazard was a flock of about 200 goats trotting briskly along the road. It was pretty quiet in Ota, but we managed to find a café open for business. We shared a small interior dining area with about a dozen local men, engaged in lively conversations. Most of the guys seemed to have an opinion about any topic and they were not reticent about sharing.

Back to the apartment late in the afternoon, we start packing and planning our last evening meal. We were leaving the next day.

The video below shows part of Les Calanche de Piana. The slow-moving vehicle that appears near the end completed a Capetown-to-Paris rally in 2000, apparently sponsored by Peugot. There is a website featuring this vehicle. The female passenger is filming the drive through Les Calanches, likely as part of a promotion for a driving tour of Corsica. The figure on the roof is a Michelin man.

Next: Corte

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