A short break in Ajaccio out of season

Corsica Adventure’s first guide, Mark Smith, hopped on and off flights from Peru, making his way gradually closer to me in Corsica. I was due to pick him up in 24 hours at Ajaccio airport and was looking forward to spending time with  him.

Mark first came to the island some twenty years ago in order to lead our treks for a summer season.  Now, over two decades later, he was heading back for a  holiday, a  short break, which is easy to do with the new Air Corsica flights from the uk.

Who you choose to walk with in life is important!  I knew that Mark would be easy company and that we would laugh a lot.  My aim for the next few days was, to do a mix of outdoor stuff, get as much winter sunshine as possible but also not to drive for more than 20 minutes at a time.  Ajaccio, during the last week of September, is ideal for this.

Laced up and ready to go with some snazzy light weight walking shoes,  we headed up to the  nearby village of Appietto for  a new loop walk.   Visually we could have been in Plas-y-Brenin!  It was a total white out, the sea mist was thick and swirling.  However, there was a warm  breeze and a sumptuous fragrance of myrtle, eucalyptus, curry and thyme.

We made our way to a remarkable sheer granite rock buttress called ‘Le Gozzi.’ Before reaching the summit, I suggested retracing our steps back to the car but saw a fleeting glance of amusement dart  across Mark’s face.  ‘It’s just up there, it will be worth it’ he said, pointing upwards.

It was worth it!  The summit is called ‘Punta Pastinaca’,  situated at an altitude of   814m.  We reached it after about ten minutes climb.  On most days, it is possible to see in the distance, the granite backbone of Corsica’s highest peaks, the Paglia Orba, Capu Tafunatu and the Monte Cinto.

We passed remnants of old walls and shelters before picking up an easy ridge that led back to the original trail.  Mark let out a cry:  I thought he had slipped but it was just a reaction to the glorious view that spread out before our eyes. The sea mist was gone, we stopped dead in our tracks to take it all in.  

It is easy in Ajaccio to couple up great summit walks with a picnic lunch on the beach and an afternoon swim.  To play with the contrasting facets of the island out of season is a real pleasure. We finished up with a swim in the sea at the nearby stretch of sand enjoying the Mediterranean winter warmth. 

Discover short break.

Written by Frédéric Cesari

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