From Bastia we took a trip inland on the train to Vizzavona. On the weekend there are only a couple of trains per day in each direction and the train has only two carriages. The train soon began to twist, turn and climb up through green mountains, clattering and swaying as it went. As we approached Corte, the largest inland town, we could see the highest peak of Monte Cinto at 2700m. The line continued to climb beyond Corte and after two and a half hours reached the small village of Vizzavona, the highest point of the railway. We got off here and walked for an hour or so through lovely beech and laricio (Corsican) pine forest to the Cascade des Anglais. Here the river tumbles over a series of small waterfalls and pools. The place is named for the Victorians who apparently liked to come here during the era of the grand tour. We enjoyed a lazy picnic and sat in the river, which was wonderfully refreshing and not as cold as we thought. Then we walked on up to the Col de Vizzavona where we stayed the night in the small Hotel Monte d’Oro, which can’t have changed much since the Victorians were here (just like Bramble Hill in the New Forest!). The menu here was rather expensive so we ate at a walkers’ refuge just down the road – a set meal with everyone sitting down together at a long table. Vizzavona is one of the stops on the famous GR20 hiking route, which extends almost the entire length of the island and is a real test of stamina.
The following day we climbed up above Vizzavona along the GR20 to around 1500m where we had a good view of Monte d’Oro, the island’s fifth highest peak. Then we caught the afternoon train back to Bastia, where the heat and humidity really hit us. It has been around 30 degrees every day while we’ve been in Corsica, unusually hot for June. And humid too. It was a nice break in the mountains where it was even a little chilly in the evening at 20 degrees!