Wednesday, September 04, 2002

A thousand petals to you!

Dear Ones - Greetings from Corsica! It has been a while since I last wrote. I have been backpacking in the Corsean mountains for the last 5 days. I stayed 3 days in Calvi where I arrived, enjoying the beach, then I decided to do the south part of what is called here the GR 20-Grand Randonnee Vingt which is a well known trekking route through the mountains. So, I took the train to Vizzavona, in the middle of the island after buying another guide. My plan was to go from there to Conca in the South near Porto Vecchio where I am right now, an estimated 6 days journey on foot. Porto Vecchio is a very nice place by the way. Corsica has the most wonderful mountains and beaches. I had a really good challenging time in the mountains, but had to cut my 6 days trekking down to 5 days because my knees were getting over worked. I was really scared at times, carrying a 15 kilos (about 30 pounds?) backpack throght rocks 2,000 meters high (6,000 feet?) with mountains all around, down and up and down to no end... I cried when I got through 2 hours of this, walking on uneven rocks, from 2,120 meters down to 1,500 meters, sometimes having to grab the rocks with my hands and strain my legs to find the next rock where my foot would rest, really scared. If it was not for my friend Werner, a 70 year old german man, with 40 years experience in the corsean mountains and more than 60 years in the alpes, I really don't know what would have happened! He stayed with me the whole time and was like a guardian angel, making tea for me at the refuges, offering his hand everytime he thought I would not make a step. He also had everything in his backpack, from dried soup, to sports knee gel, a little emergency tent - and his backpack was only 13.5 kilos. I felt safe with him and learned a lot about alpinism. All I've had previous to this was less than 2 days in the Californian mountains, when I had problems with my knees in the first day. They say ignorance is bliss and I was truly blissful when I decided to embark on this journey all by myself. It was an incredible experience, drinking clouds, feeling its humidity, with the sun peaking in and out offering its warmth, and the quietness, the greatness of the space between mountain and sky, the wind, the colors of the mountains, the forests we went through, the croweded refuges at the end of the day, one great family of wanderers from all over Europe, especially french, german, dutch and belgiums in this order. I saw no americans and you know, you americans out there are missing out. Brazilians too. There are so many incredible people in this world, it humbles me. I've met so many incredible souls. I would not make it through this trip if it was not for the kindness of others. Almost always when I am felling a little sad, a little uncertain, even a refuge guardian could sense it and be extra nice just to perk me up. It is all unspoken but I know, I can see it on their eyes. I don't know where it is coming from, but I have been having incredible luck. I have never felt this interdependeness of humans so close. We affect each other so easily--one smile may be everything one may need at times to change a whole state of mind and being. The enornous corsean meals, a soup, an entree, cheese, dessert - not different from the french, except for the quantity and quality, more like basque -peasant type food, usually with the great local meat - the animals here are truly happy, I saw them in the eye. They walk around the mountains free, drinking of the same clouds I did and eating fresh perfumed grass (which I didn't). The cooks here in the island always accommodated me in my vegetarian diet, although I am sure many thought it was bizarre I would forgo that great barbecued pork or viandre (beef)and pay the same price for the meal-Corsica has the best charcuterie in the world! If I lived here I would have to eventually eat meat, I know it. I would do rituals for the animals and look them in the eye and thank them first. Anyway guys, I can't stop talking about the corsean mountains because I just came back to civilization today and I alreay miss them. We walked from Usciouli refuge where my knees were so sore I couldn't do another 10 hours to the next refuge, so we decided to walk to the next town, Cozzano, a 4 hours walk for us. Werner always there, doing whatever I needed, finding out whatever information I requested, waiting for me, always smiling with happy eyes, how can I thank him enough? That was yesterday and today we took a bus first thing in the morning to Porto Vecchio. Tomorrow morning I say good bye to Werner. We will go our own way. Me to Bonifacio and then to Sardinia Island for a few days. Werner will go to Corte in the middle of the island, near Vizzavona where we met and will do some more wondering on his own before taking a plane from Calvi to Dusseldorf. I am not sure when I can write to you again, because after Sardinia I will go to Nice just to rearrange my backpack and depart again to Spain to do the walk to Santiago de Compostela. I am glad I've got some exercise now, lost a few of the 10 pounds I've gained eating all these cheese, bread, pastries and drinking all this wine, almost impossible not to in these parts. Corsica has really good and cheap wine too and it is the best thing in the mountains after a long walk after a cold shower in a chilly night in the refuge. So, I wanted to leave you an address you can write to if you want. That is the address of my good friend Cristina Barroso whom I know for more than 20 years: Richard Wagner Str 89 70184 Stutgard Germany The telephone number for emergency is: 011-49-711-860-2726. That is her number in Germany. I want to be really quiet while doing my walk in Spain but I will always keep in touch with Cristina in case there is an emergency or important message. Cristina speaks english, portuguese, german and italian fluently, so I think that should cover for all of you out there. I am sending you all a thousand kisses from the islands (Corsiga and Sardinia). Thanks to all of you who are sending news and sweet messages every now and then. I feel your company when I come to an internet site and I get your message. If I don't answer to you right away, I will later and I am always thinking of you wheater you write or not. A lotus to you all! Much love, Marisa

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