The end of my big Bikepacking Europe Tour through 44 countries is now 8 months ago. 8 months that were filled with numerous small and medium-sized adventures, most of them more or less right on my doorstep. For me, it feels like I have moved on in life on many levels and taken a big step forward during this time. And in particular I have the feeling that I was able to slowly process a large part of the impressions of the Bikepacking Europe Tour. And so I was more than ready to throw myself into the unknown once again for a few days, to set off on a gravel bike, discover new places, experience adventures, meet people, sleep outside and simply have a good time.
So on the Thursday before Easter, I set off for Italy, Corsica, Sardinia and then wanted to return via the south of France just under two weeks later. There's not really too much to say at this point, it just felt right. And somehow many feelings, emotions and memories from last year came back.
The set-up was similar, after all it doesn't make much difference in terms of equipment whether you are on the road for 12 days or seven months. The luggage included a sleeping bag, a mat (no tent), mountain boots, micro crampons, ice axe and otherwise simply as much as necessary and as little as possible.
The first few days turned out to be a bit rough. On the first night I was woken up by the police somewhere on a lonely pass high above Genoa, on the second day it rained as badly as it had for a long time, and on the second night I spent the night completely soaked under a motorway bridge and was attacked by a fox. Still, there were some wonderful places and moments, Genoa, Portofino, Pisa, Florence and especially the sunset high above Cinqe Terre under pouring rain was absolutely special.
In Livorno, we took the ferry to Bastia in Corsica. And from then on it got really good. The following pictures were all taken within the first 24 hours on this incredibly diverse island. I think that speaks for itself... :)
As always, I didn't just want to cycle, but also to explore part of Corsica on foot. To stay true to my style, the highest mountain was the obvious choice. I started early in the morning in a valley where I was told that it was 200% impossible to reach Monte Cinto (2706m.a.s.l.) from there, especially not in one day. Well, 17 hours, 41km and 3200m of altitude difference later I was back. The landscape along the GR20 trail was gorgeous, but the conditions at the higher altitudes were rather complicated. Shortly before the summit, I turned around twice because it was just too tricky for me with my equipment. Steep snow walls, frozen as hard as a rock. Finally - and at this point I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't have the courage to simply abort - I found a route that allowed me to reach the summit. All in all, a dream day, at times relatively far outside my comfort zone, but one that I won't forget anytime sonn...
At this time of year, there is hardly anything going on in Corsica, especially on the west coast. Lonely roads, high cliffs, fantastic beaches, reasonably good weather, sea, mountains, simply a dream. I drove along the entire west coast to Bonifacio in the very south of the island. However, due to a storm and a lot of wind, there were no ferries to Sardinia at exactly the wrong time. Since I was running out of time anyway, I had to spontaneously change my plans. So I drove along the rather boring east coast back north and took the ferry to Nice in Bastia. Theoretically, I would have had another day and a half from there to get back to the ETH in time. In the end, however, I took a little more time to explore the beautiful Côte d'Azur. I returned to Italy via Monaco and finally returned to Switzerland via Genoa and Milan.
I was on the road for 12 days, covered a little more than 2000km and 17'000 metres of altitude, spent every single night outside and unfortunately didn't shower once... :) The purpose of this short trip was not to set any new records, seek extremes or produce incredible content. At this point, I also questioned quite strongly whether it made sense to reel off my European trip at such a fast pace. In the end, it's hard to say whether it was "right" or "wrong", but it's clear that I made many mistakes, without which I would never be anywhere near where I am now. On various levels. And I think that is the most important thing in life: That you realise that you are responsible for achieving your own dreams and goals, and especially that it is worth doing things that you are not sure will turn out well. Just try it out, leave your comfort zone and realise that it's absolutely okay to make mistakes. This Italy-Corsica-Southern France round was a trip for me to enjoy, all to myself. Spending a few days outside again, exploring new places, making mistakes and learning from them and just having a good time. And it was fantastic! :)
Adventurer and athlete, soon bikepacking through europe, climbing the highest mountain and visiting the most beautiful cities in every of the 47 countries!