Woke up at 1:45, bolt upright, thinking I'd forgotten to set the alarm for 2:30am. Oh, yeah, it was set, no worries, but then checked my messages and saw one from Chris asking "assume you're all right?". Uh sure, why wouldn't I be. Oh, another routine angry-young-men-hates-something killing spree , this time of the mowing-down-pedestrians variety. I am fine.
Our flight to Bastia, in (on?) Corsica, is at 6:10am on a Sunday. That is awkward--there isn't a good way to get to Gatwick a few hours before as the trains aren't running that late--so we order up an UberX which swings by at 3:15am for the hour drive. It's already getting light out on the eastern horizon at that time--London's really for north--and there's no traffic at all on the A2 to M25 to the M23.
Gatwick's another story, that EasyJet terminal is stuffed with vacationers leaving, getting confused by the bag self-drop, and the distinction between "domestic" and "non-domestic" security queues. The screening is. held in a vast open area under glaringly cold fluorescent tubes with multiple customer agents wrangling passengers here and there into pens, when I'm at the head of the line I'm told to go to spot 7, where I stand still in front of a bin that's been presented to my spot for disgorging my dubious personal items, then again line up for my body scan. There's an evil, mechanical vibe about the place, like we're just turkey meat heading for the processing plant. Gatwick North Terminal screening gets my vote for the most oppressive and inhuman security screening I've ever been through.
Inside, we milled about in a large open corral surrounded by brand names, feh, does anyone want to buy fashion at 5am on a Sunday morning from a stuffy airport lounge? Uh no. I went upstairs to Pret to buy a sandwich, and as I approached the till I took two steps to my left to get a fizzy water, pausing a second to scoop up a banana--and then the British wanker behind me said "sorry, lost your place in the queue mate, get to the rear" and he was serious. I tried a new technique on him, not engaging him directly but ignoring him... so I turned to the dopey blonde twentysomething woman on his elbow (with rhinestone flipflops and a retro Pat Benatar like crop shirt over a flouncy skirt that both too short and had too much fabric) and said "it's a wonderfully fine day outside, you going somewhere exciting for your holidays?". She took a couple of goldfish gulps for oxygen and said "Spaaaaain". Wanker was befuddled as he looked at her then me; I stepped up to the till and checked out. hah, take that for bullying me.
Flight was uneventful. Saw snow on the high peaks of Corsica on the way in; they were north facing slopes though, and patchy, not really indicative of trail conditions. Bags took a little longer, took an expensive taxi to the Cassanova train station, waiting half an hour, then get on a tiny two car train for the 2 1/2 hour trip along the northern coast to Calvi. That's ridiculous amount of time--it's 88km by road from Cassanova to Calvi, and the train just puttered along, contouring up. and down the slopes, gently, past countryside that looked vaguely Californian, but with more random trees scattered about, and goats.
Hitting the sea, it got very windy, and past Ile Rousse the tracks were laid next to the water, with sunbathers in the little 5 meters of sand next to the sea, and windsurfers offshore. We got to Calvi a bit after 1, had some decent lunch, stopped at a Spar for food (open on Sunday afternoon, woo!) and then took another expensive taxi the 15km or so to Calenaza, the start of the GR20 (expensive in this case meant 45 euro, sigh).
Checked into the Bel Horizon Hotel, a clean two star place with a bidet in the room next to the bed (wtf?) and a shower stall in the corner (really?), were woken from our siestas at 4:45pm by the church bells clanging about something more joyous than our good rest, had some beers, and watched street dogs. We closed out the evening with pizza at the Gr20 restaurant that was quite tasty.
Now it's 9:30, and that damn church bell just clanged again. Really? Give it a rest. I'm trying to.