Spring is in the air
I've been riding in Corsica over the past week. As you might expect it's very quiet, what you might not expect are the warm temperatures. There is a wide temperature variation depending whether or not you're by the coast or up in the hills but typically a February day near the coast has a range of 3-13˚c. It was 16˚c yesterday afternoon and warmer earlier in the week - more like what you'd expect in April. The snow line is high and spring does appear to have arrived early with splendid displays of mimosas, fruit blossoms and camellias. Will it last? Last year I got caught out in a snowstorm in late May up in Haute Asco however with plenty of coastal riding Corsica always has a warm weather alternative.
opposite sides of a ravine that leads down to the harbour. It's not remarkable that there are two churches, what is remarkable is that one, the Church of Assumption is Catholic and the other, St Spyridon is Greek Orthodox.
How did Corsica acquire a Greek Orthodox church named after the patron saint of potters?
In 1676 some 730 Greeks from the Mani peninsula in the Peloponnese arrived in the area after fleeing the Ottomon Turks at home and the imposition of new taxes. At this time the Genoese controlled Corsica and welcomed the Greeks as part of their colonisation plans. They were not made nearly as welcome by the Corsicans and this led to them spending nearly 45 years in Ajaccio. The French followed the Genoese in Corsica and post the Treaty of Versaille Cargèse was established in 1784 by what was left of the Greek immigrant population. Life for the Greeks remained unsettled but they hung on in there and it was not until 1976 that the last native Greek speaker died.
The catholic church dates from 1828 and the Greek from 1852. Both are still very much in use today as there remain some 200 families following the Greek way of life they inherited from their ancestors.
He deserves a medal !
A short while ago I received the note below from Jakub Kalus who late last summer undertook the Randonnée des Cols Corses. Here is Jakub's tale...
Based on some recommendations for cycling in Corsica and thanks to the information about the Randonnée des Cols Corses I found on your website I decided to complete the Randonnée last September, 2013.
Unfortunately my attempt to contact the authorities of Cyclos Randonneurs Thononais failed so I went to Corsica without the possibility of getting the ‘Randonnée medal’. I don't know if they still work. Nevertheless, I followed the Randonnée map and it took me total of 19 days and a distance of 1,697 km starting and finishing in Ajaccio plus a 1 day of hike up to Mt Cinto, Corsica’s highest mountain at 2,706m.
Some facts from my trip:
The pictures show my bicycle in front of the highest Col, Vergio at 1,497m and me at the summit of Mt Cinto.
Norway, Jan 2014
© M.Lund 2013-23