Wednesday, April 29, 2015
We wanted to do a bigger hike this week. Eric voted on Girolata, a picturesque hamlet accessible only by foot or by boat. I didn’t realize it would be so ambitious: the hike, commonly called the chemin du facteur, is 14 kilometers total. None of it is flat.
We arrived at the starting point at 11 am. We started at the Col de la Croix, on the crest of a mountain. It's hard to miss, since there's a parking lot that even in late April was filling up with cars. It was 3 km downhill to the first little beach, the plage de Tuara. The kids were in high spirits. Ivy walked a bit but rode in the Ergo most of the time.
We stopped near a stream and footbridge for lunch. My hiking sandals started to come apart, and I seriously considered turning back because I didn’t know if they would hold up for 11 more kms. But I really wanted to do the whole hike. So on we went!
After Tuara beach, the path splits: one side goes up and over the back of the mountain, while the other follows the coastline along the cliffs. We chose the mountain path for the approach to Girolata.
Seeing the village for the first time at the crest of the mountain was stunning. It has maybe a few dozen buildings at most, a protected bay, and a hill with a fortified tower. The colors were also striking: red rock, vivid green fields and grass around the village (one of the few flat spots on this side of the island!), and blue water.
We were hoping to wade or swim at the beach in Girolata, but it was very windy and the water had lots of debris. We ate a snack next to a gîte d’étape that had a very crunchy vibe. Also saw lots of unleashed dogs wandering around. They looked well taken care of, so they probably belonged to people in the village. The kids also tried to pet a village cat, but it kept evading them
Playing foosball after we bought some band-aids for Zari's feet (her hiking sandals were starting to rub)
We took the cliffside path on the way back to the first beach. It was scary for the kids in a few places, as we had to scramble up and down rocks and sometimes there were very sharp drop-offs.
Last views of Girolata bay
The kids said they were cold. I think it was an excuse to play in Eric's jacket.
We stopped for a while at the first beach. I nursed Ivy and let her snooze for a while. Dio and Zari chased waves while Inga played in the sand and rocks.
From this beach back to our car was uphill all the way. The kids were amazing, with very few complaints and unflagging energy. We had lots of stops to see lizards, though.
The hike to Girolata and back took us 6 hours (3 ½ - 4 according to the guidebooks). Zari was very impressed with how far and how long we walked: 14 kilometers, 550 meters total vertical climb and descent. I was impressed too!