Calanques de piana

In the realm of tafonni

"... Every curve we make transforms the surrounding landscape into something totally new ..."

After a few days around Ajaciohometown of Napoleon Bonaparte, we decided to go further north. At Corsica there are no highways and believe that just driving a car is already a real adventure and excitement! There are kilometers and kilometers of national roads with curves and more curves, on an island that is almost all of it a mountain!

There is no escape from these exciting roads, not even in much of the coast, as the mountain extends to the sea in almost the entire island! Each turn we make transforms the surrounding landscape into something totally new and we are constantly presented with scenarios that make us want to stop the car almost every hundred meters. And that is why driving here can be so dangerous. For the fantastic recipe for winding roads and drivers completely distracted by the landscape. The true Corsicans, experienced in the field and known for their somewhat effusive temperament, furiously skirt the tourists' slow cars. And how we understand them!

From the Gulf of Liscia we always follow along the coast, peeking on one side the mountain and on the other the sea. From time to time there are some half moon shaped beaches, with small coastal towns, strangely quiet for such a time of year. Shortly after, the road took us a little further inland and it was at that moment that we started to see the mountains that belong to the same rock formation of the Creeks! We should be coming soon!

It is no accident that Calanques de piana they are considered world heritage by UNESCO since 1983, and despite having come across some pictures on the internet, I was never close to imagining such beauty and grandeur. It is a geological formation of plutonic rock where mountains and pinnacles of orange rock echo between valleys and forests that extend to the horizon! A rock garden that ends gloriously in the sea!

Shortly after crossing the village of Piana begins the winding road that crosses the Creeks! And thankfully I was not driving because it would be very difficult to take my eyes off everything that was appearing around us! Stopping was also impossible there, so I couldn't contain myself every time we made a turn! “Wowwww! So beautiful! Look look love ”- it was practically just what came out of my mouth as I peeked out the window. And very slowly, there we were zigzagging through the mountains of stone that continued to impress and inspire us.

"... A rock garden that ends gloriously in the sea ..."

"... Yes, tafoni, our favorite type of rock formation! ..."

We parked the car ahead so that we could finally contemplate that spectacular place! After the typical snack of these trips (bread with tuna and accompaniments), we walked a little by the side of the road.

Now, it was possible to see in detail the rock castles sprinkled with tafoni! Yes, tafoni, our favorite type of rock formation! I'll explain… tafoni it is a round cavity in the rock, with concave and smooth walls, created by the continuous action of water and wind over thousands of years. It can present the most varied sizes and shapes, going from small holes where only one hand fits to huge cavities the size of houses or even buildings.

We had already seen tafoni in northern Sardinia, but it is here in Corsica that he becomes so vulgar. In addition to the beauty it gives to the rocks and the mountains themselves, which are no longer a bit monotonous and homogeneous and become so fun and curious, for us climbers, this formation was a fantastic novelty to challenge and entertain us!

Os Creeks they integrate several walking routes, but are carried away by the taste of the adventure of those who don't like to plan every step they take, we follow a trail that seemed to call us, enticing us with its subtle beauty!

We climbed out into the valley, surrounded on both sides by mountains of granite with a palette of colors between pink and red, passing through different and multiple shades of orange! An endless show of colors!

The scorching summer sun was more tolerable thanks to the pines that huddled along the trail, making the path as pleasant as it was beautiful. And how I love every step! The feeling of stepping on the ground again and again… every bit of earth, every pile of pebbles, every tree root, every fallen trunk… The simplicity of walking and being able to play with every rock step and every curve of the trail! I remembered how fantastic it would be to run around there! Having this place very close to home so I can connect to it over and over again.

"... The simplicity of walking and being able to play with every rock step and every curve of the trail! ..."

"... it was difficult to take your eyes off the cliffs and stop admiring the delicate balance of trees and shrubs carefully hanging from their fragilities ..."

Outside the tree line, as high as some rocky peaks, the view of the Mediterranean became more and more clear and magnificent with each step taken! The verdant valley where we had climbed ended only at the sea, which shone so brightly to attract our attention! And yet, it was difficult to take your eyes off the cliffs and stop admiring the delicate balance of trees and shrubs carefully hanging from their weaknesses!

In the distance we could see the elegant silhouette of the nature reserve of Shingle, where giant cliffs plunge into the sea. And right down there, the little zigzag road, with cars so tiny, reminded us of the true scale of that place!

Already on the plateau we started to see some granite outcrops and we, deserts to lay hands on them, run excited about the idea of ​​climbing them!

A little while later I was climbing a rock here and there, and Jorge was climbing along a crack in another rock! Climber who is a climber would never pass that place without daring small and safe climbs. I was so fascinated by the way the rock was sculpted ... with its smooth contours and so elegant cutouts!

The shapes, all of them fantastic, seemed even designed by the gods themselves! A hole somewhere to stick your head, a passage to crawl and explore nooks, a vault to make at home or a thin sliver to make a bench or even a bed… it gave everything and everyone… with imagination we saw everything and everything was good for just another monkey! O tafoni it reminded us of an eggshell, thin but resistant, broken here and there to marvel at its contours.

I think we were able to stay there all day playing, and one of the dozens of granite outcrops around us was enough to entertain us all day. We looked like two kids and that's how we wanted to be. Happy and free! Free to do whatever we wanted. Without reservations and judgments…. Free to appreciate the simplicity that nature has to offer us.

"Happy and free ... Free to appreciate the simplicity that nature has to offer us."

"Now, just a whisper of the past, curious tourists from all over the world pass by him ..."

How time flew! It flies whenever we genuinely live!

We followed a path that went down through another valley and that brought us back to the Calanques, where we continued on the admirable mule trail, used by the ancient Corsicans as the only means of communication between the village of Piana and Ota, is located to the north and slightly further inland.

Despite the incredibly rugged terrain, the ancient Corsicans managed to make a remarkable path, stacking stones of different sizes, like a puzzle, making it straight enough to allow small wagons to pass. Now, just a whisper of the past, curious tourists from all over the world pass through it.

We can always imagine what the hustle and bustle would be like ... and what is certain is that the landscape has not changed, and I swear this is something fantastic! The path merges incredibly into the landscape, so well camouflaged ... remembering the ideal that is when our buildings meet the natural environment that surrounds them.

As we walked this path we found a small plateau full of mariolas and while I let myself be entertained by the landscape, Jorge delicately balanced pebble after pebble, until he had the famous tower called mariola.

The rock started to change color! It was getting late… and so the big granite walls took on a fire tone, characteristic of this place. The angle of the sun, now lower, allowed a play of shadows on the granite needles, and the mist, which gradually fade the mountains to the horizon, gave the Calanques a mystical touch. An absolute silence !!! There was no one else there and if it weren't for a car or another to pass down the road down there, we could almost imagine ourselves back in the days of yore.

The two of us, like so many others, were identifying figures and animals in the rock formations that appeared as we walked. An authentic stone garden, where only the graceful trees remain, which seen from afar, reminded us of small bonsai trees.

We continued hand in hand on the way out and after a steep descent to the zigzags we returned to the famous tar road. With the sun getting lower and lower on the horizon, we could almost see the tones of the rock changing over the minutes! Increasingly intense and orange, the walls almost seemed to scream! It was simply stunning and so magical!

Would we still be in time to reach the Chateau fort, known as the perfect place to contemplate the famous sunset in the Creeks? I didn't know, but from what I read in the guide, it was well worth trying a race against time! The trail starts at the curve where we left the car, right next to the Tete du Chien, a rock in the shape of a dog's head! This is truly a place to let your imagination fly! The route is 3,5 km long and if we wanted to see the sunset, we really had to give it to the slipper. However, we were not the “crazy lovers”And we were no longer used to these adventures, we left there with enthusiasm and a strong pace.

The winding trail gradually descends through lush vegetation, where we are constantly surprised by the fantastic rock formations that appear as we gain ground. Were it not for the tight weather, we would admire each delicate rock sculpture and discuss which object or animal it reminded us of. But, driven by the fleeting sun, we ran after time, amused by the landscape and the terrain, hopping on the rocks until we quickly reached our destination.

"This is really a place to let your imagination run wild ..."

"... sitting on the hot rock, we were embraced in silence, watching the sun slowly dip into the waters of the Mediterranean."

Just in time !!! It was already in the final countdown for the sunset and we, we smiled at each other, flushed with effort, proud and excited to have succeeded.

The rocky promontory is really the perfect balcony to enjoy the Gulf of Porto! When I finally settled my heart and calmed my breath, I let myself be carried away by the tranquility of that place. A place that mesmerizes us with such beauty and that envelops us in a realm of fantasy.

A mixture of blue and soft tones of everything that is already in the shade with orange and warm tones of everything that is still touched by the last rays of the sun… a play of shadows that plays with the shapes of the landscape… and the faded silhouette from the mountains of Shingle, which attract the curiosity of those who are still far away. A real sight for the eyes!

Behind us, the impressive calanques remain, and in front of you there is the serene Mediterranean sea, in a deep blue that extends to the pink horizon. Next to us, the granite pinnacle that gives this place its name, Chateau fort, reminds us of a castle, and right behind it, we can see the small village of Piana, involved in the beautiful mountains.

The sky before becoming dark blue offers us a show of pink and purple tones. And we, sitting on the hot rock, embraced each other in silence, watching the sun slowly dip into the Mediterranean waters.

Le coucher du soleil

Château Fort, Calanques de Piana

also in corsica


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