In September 2021, I thru-hiked the GR20 in Corsica. This is a section-by-section account of my experiences. You can read part 1 here. Section 6: Castel de Vergio to Manganu refuge “SHIT!” I scream. “WE NEED TO MOVE! QUICK!!!” We all leap up, half-terrified, half-excited, as a helicopter hovers just metres above our heads, about … Continue reading The time of my life on the GR20: part 2
I’m sitting in my friend Corentin’s kitchen, flicking through my guide to Birds of Britain and Europe.
“Puffins! I want to see puffins!” I say. Continue reading “Birdwatching in Breizh”
La Rochelle! The city that I have always wanted to visit since my school French class, when every character in the text book either lived in La Rochelle, worked in La Rochelle, or went on holiday in La Rochelle. A bright blue kingfisher darts through the park and the streets are calm and quiet. We … Continue reading On the road with Nicol and Albin
Chris and I are on the road in France. We visit Françoise and Denis in Ardèche, and Françoise and I reminisce about when we were lost in the mountains in Georgia, surrounded by fog and bears…
We are on our way to our friend Paul’s. It’s just a 27km walk on the GR44D hiking route over the Cévennes mountains. Easy! So we happily (and stupidly) start the long hike at 1pm with only four hours of daylight left. This hike has striking similarities to the last time I walked, and got lost, in France: like before, I have a map that Françoise and Denis have printed out for me off the internet. And like before, we are armed with chocolate supplies, a compass, an inability to speak French, and far too much optimism.
I have left the Rainbow Gathering in Spain and I am in Barcelona, listening to Turkish music with my friend, Julien. I turn to him and say, “I miss Turkey. Let’s hitchhike to Turkey together!” A few days later, a spontaneous Julien has packed a (heavy) rucksack and said goodbye to his life in Toulouse.
We hitch through the French Alps and spend the night in a disused military base in Briançon.
I hitch the channel once again with Peter, my regular lorry-driving saint. I am migrating south for the winter and am feeling more excited than usual: I am not doing my usual route through what my friend Arjun describes as the Ordnung countries, where everything and everyone has to fit into boxes within society (Germany, Austria, Denmark…)
I meet my friend, Conor, in France. He is on week-one of an overland adventure to Japan. Together we travel to beautiful Ardeche and visit Françoise, my travel-buddy in Turkey last year.
I have been travelling with my friend Naomi for a week or two, from Belgium, through Luxembourg and into France. We continue our adventure down to the south of France. The generosity of the French surprises me, and it’s the only country I have hitchhiked where most of my lifts have been from women. We sleep in many places: a couple invite us into their holiday home at the Cote d’Azur, another woman feeds us in her mountain home….we sleep on the rocks of the coast, and on balconies of summer homes that are not yet being used. We carry on travelling through hideous Nice and the even more hideous Monte Carlo.
We arrive at night in the shady Italian town of Viarregio. A group of lads are sitting outside a bar, listening to dodgy r’n’b on their mobiles. They invite us to drink with them. Naomi jumps at the chance, sits amongst them and exclaims, “this is just what I needed!” whilst I sit down moodily and think, “this is the last thing I needed”. Continue reading “Travelling solo, sleeping rough, and trouble with the police in Italy”