GR20 2019

View from the airport in Calvi. Tomorrow I’ll be getting up close and personal with these mountains.

I’m back where it all started. Five years ago, a young and naïve Kees was about to get his arse kicked by one of Europe’s most infamous trails: the GR20. Untrained and underprepared I nearly called it quits after just two days. I kept going, however, and the rest is history.

Today it’s a different story. My backpack only weighs about half of what it used to and I’m actually fit-ish.

Why am I back? The answer is simple: the GR20 is stunningly beautiful and differs greatly from the Alps or the Pyrenees. It’s a trail worth hiking and I’m curious how the experience will differ from last time around.

Today is a waiting day. I started out waiting at Schiphol, then Lyon and now I wait at the airfield of Calvi, a historic town on the coast of Corsica. Later today I’ll be joined by Luuk, a childhood friend who left the country and now lives in a place where snowstorms in May are thought of as ‘typical’. I’m curious how he’s going to fare in the oppressive heat of the mediterranean.

Some short info on the GR20 then. It is not, as the name suggests a kind of kitchen appliance or a laundry machine. GR20 stands for long walk number 20. The trail runs along the very rugged spine of the Corsican island and is some 160-180 kilometers long. It is infamous for its hard terrain, often pushing hikers (especially unexperienced ones) to their limits.

Along the way there are some very basic huts with adjacent campgrounds. Or rather, patch of rock that is nowhere near big enough to accommodate all of the hikers. Sharing cold showers and French toilets is going to be fun, fun, fun!

Right now I’m bored, wishing I was already out there. Tomorrow I’ll be wishing I had stayed in the airconditioned airport. Curious how life is.

I’ll try and write some blog posts (with better photo’s, I promise) every few days but reception is notoriously bad in the Corsican mountains. Anyhow, looking forward to hit the GR20 once more. Cheers!

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