Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Walking in Corsica – Chemin de Croix (Olmeto)

I am always on the lookout for new walking trails around the area, so after quizzing one of my friends over lunch, we headed up to Olmeto to search out the Chemin de Croix.

I was completely unprepared for walking (as usual) and didn’t even have my own car with me which is normally home to various walking boots and trousers etc., but as the walk starts from the church in the village, I was lulled into a false sense of security and set off happily in my flipflips and skirt.

It was fascinating to wander through the narrow streets and have a good nosy at the ancient stone houses all huddles together and covered in brightly coloured flowers. Before long, the path narrows to a track and starts to head down across the wooded hillside.

The walk is dotted with crosses marking the route and explanations. Close to each marker can generally be found an ancient stone also bearing the mark of a cross. This indicates that a child was buried here to be kept close to God. The pathways were also covered with olive nets, but the fruits aren’t quite ripe enough yet.

For the most part, the path is easy (if you’ve not got flipflops on!) and it’s only the last section that really makes you feel like your heart is about to burst out of your chest. It’s well worth the effort though, as the path opens out to the Chapel St. Esprit

This tiny little chapel is quite a distance from the village – 45/60 minutes each way depending on your fitness – and dates back to the 1100’s. Each year at Pentecost, there is a procession from the village to the chapel, and after mass, the congregation gather behind the church for an open air picnic with a free buffet and musicians.

The church is also home to a ‘Mystère’. If you stand at the alter (which is basically just a table) and look through the tiny window opposite, most people see the face of Jesus in the enormous rocks opposite, sitting high above the village.

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