I lose my appetite, which is not good anyway, when I walk the mountains. It’s especially apparent in heat and been a particular struggle in the Pyrenees. I could barely eat two or three day old baguettes. Five minutes chewing each small piece meant I was wasting time I couldn’t afford to waste. It was arduous walking which meant I had to stop. If I combined the two I was breathing hard through my nose which I couldn’t sustain. I found a solution. Drink water at the same time, make bread, Quorn and cheese into mush. Easy to swallow, but tasteless and unpleasant, so my appetite decreased again.

This is where I had lunch in Corsica. I rarely enjoy my walking food but on this occasion did so. Decent bread, a tomato, mushroom pate squeezed from a tube, an apple, cake from the refuge meal the night before. I had a paper bag of food which attracted the attention of a lizard. I had to scare it away. I’m otherwise fond of them. They scamper under rocks as you walk but if you sit they approach you, two or three feet away, sunbathing and warming themselves companionably. They’re like dry land newts. They’re usually camouflage pattern green but I also saw one which was orange.

An hour later the day deteriorated. Thick cloud descended and sunshine became gloom. The path was rocky and spiteful, the views uniform grey. I had to scramble, traverse across scree, climb up a large rock by hauling a knee up and onto it. I saw the French Foreign Legion for the first time. They train in Corsica with a full kit of semi automatic weapon, large rucksack, boots, webbing. Most of them rested their hands on the weapon, slung across the chest; some of them rested fingers near the trigger. I met a British army doctor a few days later who said their guns weren’t loaded. I took a few photographs, wondering if they might object, thinking simultaneously they wouldn’t point a gun at me so I should probably relax.

 

Corsica GR20: Bocca Piccaia Lunch

Thursday September 17, 2015